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Israel bans protest against destruction of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem

Israel blocks Jerusalem protest

A press event planned by Christian and Muslim leaders in Jerusalem criticising excavations near a the main holy sites has been stopped by Israeli police.

The police said one of the news conference sponsors was linked to the ruling Palestinian party Hamas, which Israel considers a terrorist group.

Israel recently announced halting the work beside the Temple Mount or Haram al-Sharif in East Jerusalem.

The digging angered Muslims who allege it could undermine ancient foundations.

Israel has launched a public consultation into the work. Preliminary excavations by Israeli archaeologists.

The Israeli authorities say the dig is meant to salvage archaeological remains ahead of the construction of a new pedestrian walkway to the hilltop compound.

A centuries-old walkway on the same site collapse during a snowstorm in 2004.

'Childish' behaviour

Israeli police went to the Commodore Hotel in East Jerusalem in the morning and delivered an order cancelling the event sponsored by the Al-Aqsa Foundation.

Organisers tried to move the event to a nearby hotel, but police quickly moved in and broke it up.

"We strongly condemn this childish behaviour," said organiser Sheikh Raed Salah, a leader of the Israeli Islamic Movement.

"This behaviour does not protect security. It actually makes the security situation explosive."

The press conference was also attended by a representative of the Greek Orthodox Church and the Muslim mufti of Jerusalem.

The Haram al-Sharif, the name given to the Temple Mount by Muslims, is home to the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock - Islam's third-holiest shrine.

Jews believe the Temple Mount is where Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God. It is also the site to the First and Second Temples. The Western Wall of the compound is the holiest site in Judaism.

The holy places are in East Jerusalem, territory occupied by Israel in the 1967 war.


BBC News, "Israel blocks Jerusalem protest", 28 February 2007.


Jerusalem Post, "'Israel's actions akin to Taliban's'", 22 February 2007.
    "When the Buddhist statues were being demolished in Bamiyan, the whole world rose up against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan," Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu told the Saudi daily Arab News. "But not a word is being said against what Israel is doing to the Aksa Mosque. Nobody utters a word against the Israeli aggression. Nobody is really taking any action. There is silence all over," he said.

The Guardian, "Occupied Gaza like apartheid South Africa, says UN report", 23 February 2007.
    A UN human rights investigator has likened Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories to apartheid South Africa and says there should be "serious consideration" over bringing the occupation to the international court of justice.
    After describing the situation for Palestinians in the West Bank, with closed zones, demolitions and preference given to settlers on roads, with building rights and by the army, he said: "Can it seriously be denied that the purpose of such action is to establish and maintain domination by one racial group (Jews) over another racial group (Palestinians) and systematically oppressing them? Israel denies that this is its intention or purpose. But such an intention or purpose may be inferred from the actions described in this report."

"The Insider" mailing list article, 01 March 2007.

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Tags: Israel, excavations, Jerusalem, holy, protest, blocked, stopped, demonstration, police, , conspiracy theories.

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