TODAY’S BLOG: 11 am Israel time, Friday, September 5 2014:
Today, your humble servant is following up on an update in yesterday’s blog concerning PM Netanyahu’s dictatorial decree that he, and only he, can determine changes to “the status quo” on the Temple Mount.
The Prime Minister’s office made that announcement two days ago while ordering that “a new temporary” footbridge that was being built up to the Mughrabi Gate be destroyed.
Allow me to set the context of this incredible decision:
1. From 1948 until 1967, the Jordanian government backed by the Islamic Wakf ethnically cleansed the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem of every Jew, blowing up or defiling every Jewish place of worship in the Jewish Quarter along the way.* No Jews could go to the Temple Mount to worship at Judaism’s holiest place because the Jordanian government and Islamic Wakf allowed no Jews in the Old City.
The Jordan-based Jerusalem Islamic Wakf, by the way, is an Islamic trust dating back to the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem in 1187 CE., and is composed of its director, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and an Islamic Council–some of the most virulently anti-Jewish and anti-Israel people on the planet.
2. In 1967, after Israeli troops heroically captured the Old City of Jerusalem with its Jewish Quarter and Temple Mount–the holiest place in Judaism–Moshe Dayan inexplicably decided to allow management of the Temple Mount to remain in the hands of the Islamic Wakf.
3. Since 1967, the Jordanian-based Islamic Wakf has strictly limited the hours that non-Muslims, especially Jews can “visit” the Mount. More than this, the Wakf–in conjunction with the Israeli police–has strictly prohibited any Jewish prayer on the Mount, and any Israeli paraphernalia such as Israeli flags.
Even more than this, the Wakf has long ruled that the only Gate through which non-Muslims can enter the Temple Mount is the Mughrabi Gate.
4. In 1994, Jordan and Israel signed a “Treaty of Peace Between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan”. Article 9 of that agreement recognized the “special role” of Jordan in the administration of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem and further committed Israel to giving Jordan “high priority to the Jordanian historic role” in any future negotiations on the permanent status of these Muslim holy sites.
5. Until 2004, an earthen ramp led from the Temple Mount Plaza in the Jewish Quarter below the Temple Mount to the Mughrabi Gate (see pictures). However, in that year, a part of a wall holding up that ramp partially collapsed and that collapse continued as a result of heavy snowfall that year.
6. As a result, in 2007, Israeli authorities built a temporary wooden bridge to replace the collapsed earthen ramp. To build it, the earth underneath had to be removed in order to support the scaffolding. The Islamic Wakf immediately claimed that Israel was “attacking the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. There were violent Muslim riots around the world.
Aside from being an ugly eyesore, the temporary wooden bridge and its supports greatly reduced the size of the Women’s Prayer Area.
7. In 2013, the city engineer of Jerusalem issued a ruling that the temporary wooden bridge was no longer safe (it was swaying in the wind). He ordered a new bridge be built–but in the meantime that the wooden support scaffolding be replaced with a large beam metal structure. Again, the Islamic Wakf incited Muslims around the world to come to the defense of the Al-Aksa Mosque and Dome of the Rock.
8. In the last few months, the Israel Antiquities Commission decided to build another ramp to the Mughrabi Gate below the existing one, but at a different angle so as return the women’s prayer area to its original size. That ramp was already half finished when suddenly the Islamic Wakf and Jordanian Government went crazy again two weeks ago–claiming that Israel was disturbing “the status quo”.
And that brings us to Benjamin Netanyahu’s incredible decision yesterday to destroy the new ramp completely (which is being done this morning). According to officials in the Prime Minister’s Office, the Jordanian government actually claimed that the construction of the new ramp “could lead to the destabilization of the Jordanian government.”
Yes, you read that right.
A new ramp, built in the Jewish Quarter in the Plaza in front of the Kotel, must be destroyed because the Jordanian government could collapse.
Can you believe this?
Apparently Benjamin Netanyahu did.
*Note: Only in the last few years have some of those synagogues been completely restored–and with each restoration the Jordanian government and the Islamic Wakf have cried about Israel disturbing “the status quo.”