Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Offensive footbridge

This is how "America's Best Political Newsletter" describes the current fuss in Jerusalem.

While the attention of the concerned Palestinian public was riveted there, Olmert struck in Jerusalem.

As pretext served the "Mugrabi Gate," an entrance to the Haram-al-Sharif ("the Noble Sanctuary"), the wide plaza where the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock are located. Since this gate is higher than the Western Wall area below it, one can approach it only over a rising bridge or ramp.

The old bridge collapsed some time ago and was replaced with a temporary structure. Now the "Israel Antiquities Authority" is destroying the temporary bridge and putting in its place - so it says - a permanent one. But the work looks much more extensive.

As could have been expected, riots broke out at once.
According to this writer, Uri Avnery, this is all the Israelis' fault. Note the steps he takes above.
You can get from the Western Wall Plaza to the Mugrabi Gate only via a footbridge.
The old one collapsed.
They put up a temporary structure.
They are putting up a permanent footbridge.
Riots break out. As could have been expected.

Sorry, I forgot the real reason: "the work looks much more extensive". Is this a repeat of the rent-a-mob-to-switch-on-the-outrage tactics of the Danish cartoons affair? It certainly looks that way. The footbridge is outside the Temple Mount platform and can present no threat at all to its structure, let alone that of the mosque, which is several hundred yards away. But for some, it is a case of the "Israeli destruction of Islamic holy sites in occupied Jerusalem".

Could there be another reason? There is, as is obligatory in any new building in Jerusalem, an archeological dig to extract or protect whatever might be buried there. Could that be causing this further 'offence' to the most offended people in the world? It is one of the many fantasies of the Palestinians that there was never a Second Temple, nor even a first. According to Yasser Arafat, Solomon's temple "was not in Palestine". The Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh `Ikrima Sabri, told Die Welt in 2001

There is not [even] the smallest indication of the existence of a Jewish Temple on this place in the past. In the whole city, there is not even a single stone indicating Jewish history...There is not a single stone in the Wailing-Wall relating to Jewish History. The Jews cannot legitimately claim this wall, neither religiously nor historically.
How knows what Israeli archeologists might dig up that might taint the image of this Muslim city? Here is an AP photo of the offensive structure.

Temple Mount from the south-west
And one from Google on which I have outlined the area of construction.

Temple Mount from Google Earth
Of related interest, therefore, is this professor's claim that he can identify the location of the Second Temple.

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