Militants target 33 Iraeli rabbis, others : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Militants target 33 Iraeli rabbis, others

Saturday, 28 July 2001 16:41 (ET)

Militants target 33 Iraeli rabbis, others By SAUD ABU RAMADAN

GAZA, July 28 (UPI) -- Palestinian officials warned Israel on Saturday that placing a cornerstone at a Jewish temple near the entrance of a Muslim mosque could have dangerous consequences.

Meanwhile, a militant Palestinian movement called the "Popular Army Front, Brigades of Return" said Saturday in a leaflet that the group is targeting 33 Israeli rabbis, Jewish settler leaders and others for death, Palestinian sources said.

The sources said the leaflet was published in the West Bank and called for the killing of 33 Israeli rabbis and Jewish settler leaders, including the spiritual leader of the religious Shas movement, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

The leaflet blamed them for "inciting" the Israeli army and Jewish settlers to carry out attacks against Palestinians.

As for the disputed religious site, Palestinians call it "Al Haram el Sharif" or "the most sacred shrine" while the Jews call it the "Temple Mount."

The Palestinian Authority's planning minister, Nabil Shaath, told Palestinian Radio that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government would be responsible for the consequences if laying of the cornerstone were carried out.

"If the cornerstone of the imaginary Temple Mount of the Jews was laid, it would cause a strong Palestinian reaction," Shaath said.

Israel's Supreme Court has allowed the Temple Mount Faithful movement to place a symbolic cornerstone on Sunday for rebuilding the temple near the entrance to the Muslim shrine.

The movement is observing Sunday as a day of mourning to commemorate the destruction of the Jewish temple almost 2,000 years ago.

The mufti or Muslim priest of Jerusalem, Ekrema Sabri, urged the Palestinians on Friday to gather at the site during the weekend "to protect the holy place and protest the laying of the cornerstone."

Israel's Ha'artez daily newspaper has reported that Supreme Court and Justice Department officials have accepted police arguments that the current sensitive situation did not allow the reconstruction of the temple.

The movement then asked the court to order Jerusalem's police commander to let them carry a large stone to the western gate of the temple as a symbolic cornerstone for rebuilding the temple.

The police have agreed to allow the movement to carry the cornerstone to the temple through a safe route.

Jerusalem's police commander has also allowed a limited gathering of Jews at the western gate to pray but they cannot visit the Temple Mount.

Meanwhile, Shaath also opposed a move to bring U.S. observers to the disputed territories to observe a U.S.-negotiated cease-fire between the Palestinians and the Israelis. He said the Palestinians preferred a group of international observers that should include representatives from both the United States and the European Union, Israel Radio reported.

Israel opposes sending international observers to the region.

The United States is expected next week to present Israel and the Palestinians with a plan for sending observers from the State Department and CIA to monitor peace.

Diplomatic sources said the team would include 10 officials from the U.S. State Department and one CIA expert. A former U.S. diplomat, Richard Erdman, is expected to head the team.

-- Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

-- Martin Thompson (, July 28, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ