Israeli police block extremist Jewish MP from entering Temple Mount
Israeli Police officers blocked Likud parliament member Yehiel Hazan from going up to the Temple Mount, the third holiest Islamic site, on Thursday morning.
The Waqf (Muslim religious trust), called on all Palestinians and Muslims in Israel to protect the Mount from attempts of Jewish extremists to force their way into the compound. 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.
A visit to the Temple Mount Thursday is highly symbolic as this is Tisha B'Av - the day when Jews traditionally mark the "destruction", according to them, of both the "First and Second Temples."
Later in the day, 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.
More than a thousand police have been called in from around Israel to be on alert in and around Jerusalem to protect Jewish worshippers.
As Israeli police forces gathered around the extremist MP Hazan to keep him from going up to the Mount, he repeated his claim that no police officer has reviewed the situation with him or expressly asked him not to go up.
Hazan told police that if they cared about democracy, they would explain their reasons.
Police at first refused to give details, however then took him away from the mob of supporters, protesters and journalists to explain the security considerations involved.
Meanwhile, another MP, also from the Likud party, Inbal Gavrieli said Thursday that she would not visit the Temple Mount that day, despite her declaration a day earlier that "I will go up to the Temple Mount, period."
Gavrieli said Thursday she was persuaded by top security officials who gave her "specific information" Wednesday night indicating that an attempt to go up to the
Temple Mount could create serious disturbances.
According to a source cited by the Jerusalem Post, "The police made it very clear to Gavrielli that they are presently working on a system whereby Jews can visit the Temple Mount in a safe manner and hope to have this system implemented in the immediate future."
"If it's a matter of going up to the Temple Mount at the expense of human life just so I can say I kept my word, then I can live with that," Gavrieli told Israel Radio on Thursday.
She added, "This constitutes no, but no, concession in principle over the right to go up to the Temple Mount."
"Just as I walk freely throughout Israel, I will go up to the Temple Mount," Hazan said.
On Wednesday, Hazan and Gavrieli expressed strong determination to break through police lines to go to the Temple Mount on Thursday, despite warnings that a visit to the site could lead to severe rioting and bloodshed. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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