Jordan warns of "dangerous escalation" over Jewish temple cornerstone

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Saturday, July 28 9:04 PM SGT

Jordan warns of "dangerous escalation" over Jewish temple cornerstone AMMAN, July 28 (AFP) - Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdel Ilah Khatib on Saturday warned of a "dangerous escalation" if Jewish radicals went ahead with plans to lay a symbolic cornerstone for Judaism's third temple in Jerusalem.

"This is considered an unjustified provocation for the Muslim nation and a violation of the sacred character of Al-Haram Al-Sharif," home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third most revered spot in Islam, Khatib said.

Israel's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a group of right-wing Jewish radicals could lay a symbolic first stone for raising Judaism's third temple in Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday.

But the court said they could not place it on Temple Mount, a holy place disputed by Muslims and Jews, which is home to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the biblical site of the second Jewish temple demolished by the Romans in 70 AD.

Any attempt to lay a cornerstone inside the mosque's compound "will lead to a dangerous escalation and Israel must bear responsibility for it," Khatib said in a statement carried by the official Jordanian news agency Petra.

He said this would also violate the status of the Islamic holy places as well as international law.

Khatib appealed to the UN Security Council to block plans by the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement to erect a new house of worship.

Petra said Jordan will contact the countries with permanent membership in the Security Council -- China, Britain, France, Russia and the United States -- to explain the consequences of such a move.

The court granted the fundamentalist Jewish group the right to lay the symbolic cornerstone at the Dung Gate, the southern entrance to the Jewish quarter of the walled Old City.

But it forbade such a ceremony within the Al-Aqsa mosque compound for fear of sparking clashes.

A visit to the site by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in late September, while he was still an opposition leader, triggered fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinians, starting the 10-month-old Palestinian uprising or intifada.

East Jerusalem, including the Old City, was occupied by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and subsequently annexed by the Jewish state. The Palestinians want to make it the capital of a future state.

Sunday's ceremony will mark Tiss Be Av, when Jews commemorate the destruction of the first and second Jewish temples.

The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement believes that erecting a third temple will usher in a new era, in which the Jewish people live in harmony with God.

The Palestinians have condemned the Israeli Supreme Court decision, and the 13 Palestinian groups which "lead" the intifada have called for a mass rally on Sunday to defend the mosque compound.

The Arab League's new spokeswoman, Hanan Ashrawi, also warned Saturday that Israel may be unable to control the subsequent explosion of rage caused by the laying of the cornerstone.

"Israel has not learned from its own dangerous mistakes," she said, recalling the Sharon visit which sparked the intifada.

http://english.hk.dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/world/afp/article.html?s=hke/headlines/010728/world/afp/Jordan_warns_of__dangerous_escalation__over_Jewish_temple_cornerstone.html

-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), July 28, 2001

Answers

The fact that it is Jordan that is protesting so voiciferously adds to the explosive potential, with 'Ground Zero' now just hours away. As a result, Jordan might withdraw its cooperation with Israel in defending against Iraq's intrusion of Jordanian territory, to pass through it to join the Palestinians in its conflict with Israel. Jordan might now "switch sides" and support the Iraqi-Syrian-Iranian move to war against Isreael. The wait to find out won't be very long. Deja Vu December 30, 1999!

-- Robert Riggs (rxr.999@worldnet.att.net), July 28, 2001.

Last update - 23:21 28/07/2001 Tensions run high over Temple Mount around Tisha B'Av fast By Moshe Reinfeld, Ha'aretz Correspondent and Itim News Service The row over the Temple Mount Faithful's demand to lay a cornerstone on the top of the Temple Mount on Sunday continued Saturday, with Communications Minister and acting Public Security Minister Reuven Rivlin saying that the group would not be allowed access to the Mount to lay the marble stone.

Jerusalem Police on Saturday accused the Islamic movement of provocation and of attempting to inflame the issue of the Temple Mount Faithful's demand to lay a cornerstone on the Temple Mount in Jerualem. The police said that the Islamic movement's claim that the group was going to lay the cornerstone on the Mount was inaccurate and that the group had been authorized to go as far as the Givati parking lot, a few hundred meters from the Mount.

The Temple Mount Faithful - a Jewish messianic movement committed to the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple - wants to place a symbolic "cornerstone" for the rebuilding of the Temple near the entrance to the Mount on the Ninth of Av, a day of mourning to commemorate the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 AD, which falls on Sunday.

The police added that they were considering taking action against the Islamic movement after it called on all Muslims to go to the Al Aqsa Mosque (called al-Haram al-Sharif by Muslims) on the Mount to protest against the laying of the cornerstone. The Mufti of Jerusalem called on all Palestinians to visit the Temple Mount on Saturday and Sunday to protest against the stone laying and to protect the holy places of Islam.

The Palestinian Authority issued a warning to Israel earlier Saturday against allowing the Temple Mount Faithful to lay the stone. The warning said that the government of Israel would be responsible for the dangerous consequences of an action of this kind.

Palestinian Minister Nabil Sha'ath said that if "the cornerstone of the imaginary Temple Mount of the Jews" was laid, it would cause a Palestinian reaction. "This is very, very serious. It's pouring fuel on the fire," said senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, adding that the PA had requested that the U.S. and Europe intercede to prevent the ceremony.

Erekat's warnings were echoed in Egypt, where Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said he had summoned Cairo-based ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council for talks.

Maher told reporters the planned move was one of many Israeli "provocations" which he said contravened international legitimacy. He said provocations on such a sensitive issue could lead to an explosive situation.

Palestinian Authority Chiarman Yasser Arafatís Fatah Party urged Palestinians to rally after midday prayers on Sunday and declared it a "day of rage...to protect the holy city and the holy sites and al- Haram al-Sharif from desecration."

The militant Palestinian group Hamas called on people to gather at Al Aqsa Mosque on Sunday morning to defend it "with soul and blood."

"Let Sharon, the Zionist court and all Zionist terrorists know... that our steadfast people can foil their belligerent plans and defend Jerusalem and al-Aqsa," it said in a statement faxed to Reuters in Beirut.

Jordanian sources also warned of the danger of escalation if the stone laying took place.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court, citing the sensitive security situation, sided with police officials and rejected an appeal by the Temple Mount Faithful to be allowed to visit the Temple Mount.

Supreme Court President Aharon Barak and Justices Tova Strasberg- Cohen and Daliya Dorner accepted the police position that the sensitive security situation did not allow for such a visit to the site.

The Temple Mount Faithful movement also asked the court to order Superintendent Levy to allow them to transport a large block of stone to the Mugrabi Gate to use as the symbolic "cornerstone" for the rebuilding of the Temple and to allow the use of a megaphone during the ceremony.

On this particular matter, the police said they would allow the movement to march with the "cornerstone," but along a different route than the one the group had originally wanted to use.

In their appeal, the movement claimed that over the last 30 years it has annually hosted events and ceremonies on the Ninth of Av to mark the destruction of the Temple, and that the climax of the events involves going up to the Temple Mount in groups. These processions and ceremonies have been coordinated with police, as per instructions from the High Court.

Two weeks ago, the movement asked Superintendent Levy to allow it to hold the ceremonies, but he would only allow a limited gathering and prayer session next to Mugrabi Gate, with no-one being allowed to visit the Temple Mount

http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml? itemNo=57491&contrassID=1&subContrassID=1&sbSubContrassID=0

-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), July 28, 2001.


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