Thursday, July 23, 2009

Determination is a Leadership Character

PM delays discussion on Temple Mount project

...Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently postponed a decisive discussion aimed at setting a date for beginning the construction of the new Mugrabi Gate on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Ynet has sources have expressed their fear that making such a decision on the eve of the Ramadan fast would set Jerusalem on fire and spark another international row, in addition to the dispute over the construction of a hotel in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

..."The goal of the discussion in this forum was to renovate the bridge over the dike which collapsed, without hurting the public feelings involved – and nothing more. The decision on when to start building the new bridge is in the hands of the Jerusalem Municipality by law. This date has yet to be set, as it is a long and open procedure in any case," the official explained.

The current sensitive situation began on February 14, 2004, when the dike under the old wooden bridge collapsed, and fears were raised that entering the Temple Mount would be dangerous. Experts, including then-Jerusalem City Engineer Uri Shitrit, ruled against climbing the dike for safety reasons.

According to the engineer of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the winter rains have worsened the dike's condition, and it now endangers the temporary wooden bridge and the worshippers praying at the women's gallery in the Western Wall.

Following rescue excavations which enraged Muslims, who launched a violent protest and led to the arrival of a Turkish delegation of monitors, a decision was made to build a permanent bridge which would be coordinated with all parties involved in the matter – Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and the Waqf.

...A preliminary discussion was held several days ago by professional elements, including representatives of the Prime Minister's Office, the attorney general, the Shin Bet, the Mossad, the Public Security Ministry and the police, the Jerusalem Municipality and the National Security Council...on Wednesday, several hours before the discussion, Netanyahu decided to postpone it. His motives for doing so included the Muslim world's object to the new bridge project, due to fears that it would allow the entry of Israeli fighting forces and damage their holy site.

...According to estimates, the prime minister will convene a meeting following the Ramadan month and after the current dispute with the United States over the construction in east Jerusalem fades away.

Another dispute between the Muslim world and Israel is over the Jewish state's plan to expand the Western Wall plaza, taking advantage of the space created under the bridge, after a plan to use this area in order to expand the women's gallery was rejected.

The Muslims, who base their claims on disputed archaeological findings, say that the al-Buraq Mosque is located under this area. From this place, according to Muslim tradition, Prophet Muhammad's horse ascended to heaven.

...The opening of the tunnel on September 1996, which he referred to as "the rock of our existence", led to violent clashes between the Palestinian police and Israel Defense Forces soldiers in the West Bank and Gaza. Fifteen Israelis and dozens of Palestinians were killed in these events.

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