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Waqf Warns Attempt To Force Way into Al Aqsa

Waqf Warns against Jewish Attempt to Force Way into Al Aqsa

The Palestinian Waqf, or Muslim religious trust, called Thursday on all Palestinians and Muslims in Israel to protect the Al Aqsa Mosque “from attempts of Jewish extremists to force their way into the compound."

The Waqf's announcement, published in Palestinian media on Thursday, comes on the heels of a decision by the Israeli Likud MP Yehiel Hazan to visit the third holiest Islamic site on Thursday, which is “Tisha B'Av,” the traditional Jewish day of mourning for the destruction of the first and second Jewish temples.

Israeli Tourism Minister Benny Elon, a member of the far-right National Union party, was due to lead a march from west Jerusalem to the Western Wall inside the occupied east Jerusalem's Old City.

Jews throughout the world are due to commemorate the festival of Tisha B'Av Thursday, which recalls the destruction of the Temple of Solomon (the first temple) and the Temple of Herod (the second temple), destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC and by the Romans in 70 AD respectively.

Israel’s Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a petition, which is submitted every year by the extremist “Temple Mount Faithful” group, demanding permission to symbolically place a foundation stone for a new temple.

Supreme Court judges backed Israeli police arguments that the visit could lead to violence.

The “Temple Mount Faithful” has been seeking for the past 20 years to build a third temple on the site of the Haram al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, the third holiest shrine in Islam after Mecca and Medina.

Director General of the Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem Adnan Al Husseini held the Israeli government responsible for any consequences that might arise from irresponsible acts by extremist Jewish groups, the Palestinian official news agency WAFA reported.

Waqf has taken all the necessary precautionary measures, Al Husseini said.

Three right-wing Israeli MPs demanded entrance to the Haram al-Sharif, one of Islam's holiest sites, in defiance of a police ban, Israeli media reports said Wednesday.

Yehiel Hazan, Yuli Edelstein and Inbal Gavrieli, all members of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud party, tried to invoke parliamentary privilege to secure access to the Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem shrine, the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot reported Wednesday.

The Knesset's (Israeli parliament) legal adviser said she supports the plans of several right-wing Knesset members to visit the “Temple Mount” Thursday.

According to Israeli law, Knesset members are allowed to travel to all areas of the country except where these visits would endanger national security.

Israel’s High Court of Justice on Tuesday ordered the state to provide reasons within 24 hours for a police decision to deny the request of the Jewish “Faithful” to hold “a symbolic cornerstone-laying ceremony for the rebuilding of the Temple” on Al Aqsa Compound, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) radio said.

The Court’s Justice Dalia Dorner instructed Public Security Minister Tzachi HaNegbi to submit, by Wednesday, an affidavit explaining the closure of the “Temple Mount.” HaNegbi must explain why he bans entry to the Mount now, after several weeks of allowing Jews to enter.

The State filed a secret memorandum explaining the security reasons behind the closure. Justice Dorner, however, was not satisfied with the police report, and instructed HaNegbi to explain his decision himself.

Atty. Naftali Wurtzberger expressed surprised satisfaction at today's decision. "The Court made it clear," he said, "that it will not suffice with general declarations, but will insist on seeing specific explanations, and will balance them with the basic civil rights that are being harmed. This is a welcome change of approach by the Court."

Israeli police late July suspended visits to the site by non-Muslims, which had resumed several weeks earlier for the first time since the beginning of the Palestinian Intifada in September 2000.

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar was quoted by Israel Radio as saying that MKs should not go to the “Temple Mount” for religious reasons. Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz also said that Halacha (Jewish law) forbid visits to the “Temple Mount.”

"If the Knesset members want to strengthen our control of this site, they should call on all of the People of Israel to visit the Western Wall," he said.

Shinui MK Reshef Chayne said on Wednesday that the plans of several "irresponsible" Knesset members to visit the Haram Al Sharif on Thursday will lead to unnecessary bloodshed and is only being done to give them headlines.

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