As we were asleep as usual, and busy making our valentine’s day plans and preparing to attend our weekend parties, Israeli police stormed Islam’s third holiest shrine, Al Aqsa mosque, Today morning, Friday the 9th of Feb. after hundreds of angry Islamic worshippers threw stones and bottles in an eruption of outrage over contentious Israeli excavation works at a disputed Old City holy site.
While the world is oblivious or turning a blind eye as usual, Israel is trying to bring the Aqsa mosque down and have been trying for the past 10 years, by excavating underneath the holy site, but this week Israeli gov. decided to speed things up by starting another excavation & construction works at Mugrabi Gate leading to Temple Mount.
To understand the plan at work here it’s enough to mention that the Arutz Shiva (an Israeli news network) Reported in October 2006:
Synagogue Planned For Temple Mount ,
20:30 Oct 10, ’06 / 18 Tishrei 5767
MK Uri Ariel (National Union) is drawing up plans to construct a synagogue on the Temple Mount , Judaism’s holiest site.
Now what is the Aqsa??? What is it to you?
Al-Aqsa Mosque (The Farthest Mosque) (المسجد الاقصى, Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa ), is part of the complex of religious buildings in Jerusalem known as either Al-Haram al-Qudsi al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), the whole area of the Noble Sanctuary is considered Al-Aqsa Mosque according to Islamic law. It is known as Har ha-Bayit (the Temple Mount) to Jews and some Christians. It is located in East Jerusalem, a disputed territory governed by Israel since its annexation in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinian Authority as part of a future State of Palestine. The third holiest Islamic site of worship, its congregation building can accommodate about 5,000 people worshipping inside it, while the whole Al-Aqsa Mosque compound area may accommodates hundreds of thousands and houses two major Muslim religious shrines, the Dome of the Rock (c. 690) and Al-Aqsa Mosque (c. 710).
To understand the full impostance of it it’s enough to mention the hadith sharif narrated by the Prophet’s companion Anas ibn Malik in which Prophet PBOH said: ”I came to the Buraq, I rode it until we arrived at Bayt al-Maqdis. I tied it to where the Prophets tie, then I entered the masjid I prayed two Rakaah, and then ascended to the heavens.” That’s of course during the holy trip of isra’a and me’rag.
I said: Messenger of Allah, which mosque was set up first on the earth? He said: Al-Masjid al-Haram (the sacred). I (again) said: Then which next? He said: It was the Masjid Aqsa. I (again) said: How long the space of time (between their setting up)? He (the Holy Prophet) said: It was forty years. And whenever the time comes for prayer, pray there, for that is a mosque; and in the hadith transmitted by Abu Kamil (the words are):” Whenever time comes for prayer, pray, for that is a mosque (for you)Sahih Muslim 4:1056
On The other hand the site is also holy to both Jews and Christians and known as:
The Temple Mount (הַר הַבַּיִת Har haBáyit), was the site of the first Jewish temple (c. 957 BC, destroyed c. 587 BC) and second (c. 515 BC, destroyed in 70 AD) and according to Judaism is to be the site of the third and final Temple to be rebuilt with the coming of the Messiah; and as such it is the holiest site for Jews.
The first Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century BC. It was the center of ancient Judaism and has remained a focal point for Jewish services over the millennia. The Temple replaced the Tabernacle of Moses and the Tabernacles at Shiloh, Nov, and Givon as the central focus of Jewish faith. This First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC, and was rebuilt seventy years later, c. 515 BC. Centuries later, it was renovated by Herod in about 20 BCE, and this Second Temple was subsequently destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. All of the outer walls still stand, although the Temple itself has long since been destroyed, and for many years it was believed that the western wall of the complex was the only wall standing. Ever since the Second Temple ‘s destruction, a prayer for the construction of a new Third Temple has been a formal part of the thrice daily Jewish prayer services.
In November 1999, a buried Crusader-era door was within the Solomon’s Stables area, opening an excavation claimed by Israel to be 18,000 square feet (1,700 m²) in size and up to 36 feet (11 m) deep. In early 2001, Israeli police said they observed bulldozers destroying an ancient arched structure located adjacent to the eastern wall of the Temple Mount in the course of construction during which 6,000 square meters of the Temple Mount were dug up by tractors, paved, and declared to be open air mosques, which is assumed to have intermixed the underlying strata. Some of the earth and rubble removed was dumped in the El-Azaria and in the Kidron Valleys , and some of it (as of September 2004) remained in mounds on the site.
While there is no dispute about the fact that this holy area once house the Solomon’s temple in islamic traditions:
“The Farthest Mosque refers to the site of the Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem on the hill of Moriah, at or near which stands the Dome of the Rock… it was a sacred place to both Jews and Christians… The chief dates in connection with the Temple in Jerusalem are: It was finished by Solomon about 1004 BCE; destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar about 586 BCE; rebuilt under Ezra and Nehemiah about 515 BCE; turned into a heathen idol temple by one of Alexander the Great‘s successors, Antiochus Epiphanes, 167 BCE; restored by Herod, 17 BCE to 29; and completely razed to the ground by the Emperor Titus in 70. These ups and downs are among the greater signs in religious history.”
There is little evidence or next to nothing that the israeli excavation will infact uncover anything, in fact Israel have tried to fake evidence of it’s findings to legalize it’s excavation there:
2004 artifact controversy
On December 27, 2004, the Toronto-based The Globe and Mail that the Israel Museum in Jerusalem concluded that the ivory pomegranate that everyone believed had once adorned a scepter used by the high priest in Solomon’s Temple was a fake. This artifact was the most important item of biblical antiquities in its collection. It had been part of a traveling exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in 2003. Experts fear that this discovery is part of an international fraud in antiquities.
Which proves that the only reason for these excavations is to shake the foundations of the holy Islamic shrines on top of the mount, eventually bringing it down.
Now back to the present, today Yahoo reports:
Violence erupts at Jerusalem holy site
JERUSALEM – Israeli police stormed Islam’s third holiest shrine and fired stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian worshippers in clashes at the end of Friday prayers, after hundreds of angry Islamic worshippers threw stones and bottles in an eruption of outrage over contentious Israeli excavation work at a disputed Old City holy site.
About 200 police streamed on to the hilltop compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. Witnesses said police hurled stun grenades. Police said several protesters and several officers were injured in the faceoff, but gave no further details.
As many as 300 protesters barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa mosque at the compound. Police were stationed near the mosque, but did not enter it.
The protesters are angry about Israeli repair work on an earthen ramp leading to the hilltop compound, which they fear will damage the mosque.
The clashes erupted at the end of Friday prayers at the site. Police had braced for possible riots during the prayers, which often have been a flashpoint for clashes.
Israeli security forces tripled their usual numbers around the Old City Friday morning, expecting confrontations. Jerusalem police chief Ilan Franco told
Israel Radio that around 3,000 security officers were posted around the city because of “intelligence indications” that disturbances could erupt.
Friday prayers at the site and is attended by thousands of Muslims every week. The compound sits just above the Western Wall, a remnant of the second Jewish temple.
Israeli authorities promised that the plan to replace a centuries-old ramp damaged in a 2004 snowstorm would not damage the compound, about 60 yards way. But when work began earlier this week, it drew fierce protests in the Arab world, where many leaders accused Israel of plotting to harm Muslim holy sites.
“This is an aggression against the mosque,” Mohammed Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem , said by telephone from inside the walled compound. “I don’t know what impact this aggression will have on the Palestinian territories, but past experience has shown that every time there were clashes at the mosque, it engulfed the other parts of the West Bank and Gaza .”
On Thursday, a fiery Islamic leader appealed to fellow Israeli Arabs and Muslims around the world to rise up against the Israeli renovations.
“The aggression happening now is a tragedy, a crime,” Raed Salah, a leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel . He accused Israel of declaring “a regional, religious war.”
In the alleys of the Old City , Palestinians pelted police with rocks, bottles and garbage. In the West Bank, youths hurled stones at Israeli security forces at a major checkpoint leading into Jerusalem . Scheduled protest marches went ahead peacefully elsewhere in the West Bank .
Israeli officials have said Muslim extremists are using the renovation work as a pretext to stoke anger against Israel . Speaking during a visit to Spain Thursday, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni accused “political extremists” of trying to “exploit this situation.”
On Friday, though, a prominent Israeli archeologist weighed in against the project.
Meir Ben-Dov, who has led excavations near the Temple Mount, said the existing ramp should be renovated rather than replaced. The government, he added, lacked the proper construction permits.
“There is no reason to take any action there,” Ben-Dov told Israel Radio.
An Israeli government official said “all legal issues are being addressed.” The new ramp was needed because the old one is unsafe, the official said.
The compound, home to the golden-capped Dome of the Rock shrine and Al Aqsa mosque, is the third-holiest site for Muslims, who believe that it is where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. For Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, it is also a focal point of national pride.
The compound is sacred to Jews as the site of their biblical temples.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said entrance to the Friday prayers would be restricted. West Bank Palestinians would be barred, as would Israeli Arab and east Jerusalem men under 45, he said.
On Thursday, U.N. ambassadors from the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference called on the U.N. Security Council “to take immediate and urgent action in order to bring an end to Israeli intransigence and violations against the blessed Al Aqsa mosque.”
UNESCO issued a statement calling on Israel “to suspend any action that could endanger the spirit of mutual respect until such time as the will to dialogue prevails once again.”
Israeli police confront worshipers at Al-Aqsa
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli police forces entered the area around Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and fired stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian worshippers in clashes at the end of Friday prayers.
Muslim leaders had called for protests over excavations near Islam’s third holiest shrine. Arab states had asked
Israel to halt the work, charging it could undermine the foundations of Al-Aqsa. Israel says the work will do no damage.
A police spokesman at the scene said 15 policemen and nine protesters had been lightly injured in the clashes. Seventeen people were arrested, some of them in the streets outside Jerusalem ‘s Old City walls.
Police estimated that 9,000 worshippers prayed at the site on Friday. Dozens were stuck inside the mosque as stone-throwers clashed with police outside on the compound known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif.
“Police have used stun grenades and are in full control of the Temple Mount . They are working cautiously in order to disperse the rioters,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Only women and men aged over 45 had been allowed to participate in prayers because of fears of riots.
The ZAKA emergency service reported stone-throwing incidents had taken place at other points around Jerusalem . There were no reports of casualties in those incidents.
ZAKA added that police were being diverted to the north of the country to prepare for possible unrest at a major protest in expected later on Friday in the city of Nazareth .
In Hebron in the occupied
West Bank, local witnesses said the Israeli army closed the center of the city after youths threw stones and burned tires. Three people were treated at a local hospital for tear gas inhalation.
Rosenfeld said police were working with Israeli Arab lawmakers and clerics to disperse worshipers who were enclosed inside the mosque after police closed the doors on them.
Jerusalem Arabs Riot, Kassams Fired, After Old City Excavations
Four Kassam rockets were fired into Israel and Arabs rioted in Jerusalem – in protest of Antiquities Authority works at the Western Wall Plaza entrance to the Temple Mount .
Restrictions were placed on Moslem worshipers allowed to the Temple Mount , and the police were out in force Tuesday morning at the excavation works site, in anticipation of a fierce Arab reaction to the work. Though less violent than expected, rock-throwers rioted in eastern and northern Jerusalem ; 11 Arabs were arrested.
In addition, terrorist groups fired four Kassam rockets, in two waves, claiming to retaliate for the excavation work. In the first Kassam wave, around 1 PM, one rocket landed on the fence of a sensitive infrastructures installations outside Ashkelon, and one crashed into the western Negev . Three hours later, two more rockets smashed down near Sderot, including one that landed in a nearby community. No one was hurt.
The Antiquities Authority is carrying out a “salvage excavation,” a preparatory operation before the construction of a new pedestrian pathway to the Temple Mount . The existing one, leading to the Mughrabim Gate, was rebuilt over the past two years after earthquake and weather damage, and cuts off much of the women’s prayer area at the Western Wall.
Jerusalem arachaeologist Yuval Baruch said that the excavations are not at all near the Temple Mount , and that the Arabs have no reason to protest. Jerusalem District Police Chief Ilan Franko agreed, adding that the works were coordinated in advance with the Moslem Waqf that oversees the Temple Mount .
Arab leaders were unfazed, however, and continued to stoke the fires of conflict. Hamas Authority leader Ismail Haniyeh called on Moslems all over Israel , including in the PA-controlled areas, to “prevent” the continuation of the works, and Fatah figures made similar calls. Arab MKs Tzartzour and Zechalke showed up in the Old City and demanded to see the excavation plans, while MK Taleb A-Sana warned of the outbreak of “a third intifada.” Other Arab leaders warned Israel of the dangers of “playing with fire.”
Left-wing Knesset Members were quick to condemn the Israeli initiative. Colette Avital (Labor) said the work is unnecessary, and Meretz Party chairman Yossi Beilin said the project could cause a disaster.
Some feel that the Arab rage was actually caused by other archaeological finds in the area, which disprove the Arab theory developed over the past ten years claiming that Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were never historically Jewish.
Doron Spielman, Director of Development for the City of David foundation, says that anti-Zionists and Arabs truly have something to complain about. Speaking today on IsraelNationalRadio about a recent “phenomenal” discovery that left show hosts Yishai and Malkah Fleisher “speechless,” Spielman informed listeners of the find of a 150-foot-wide staircase and an accompanying roadway leading directly up to the Temple from the Siloam Pool. He explained that the many thousands of Jews who arrived in Jerusalem three times a year would have used that stairway on their way from ritually immersing in the Pool to reach the Temple . See related Arutz-7 article, soon to follow.
Muslim Riot on Temple Mount
Arabs rioted Friday on and around the Temple Mount, wounding police officers and causing the evacuation of the Western Wall prayer plaza.
Stones were thrown at worshipers and police Friday, despite the decision to limit entry to the Temple Mount to Muslims over the age of 45. Three police officers were wounded by rioters.
Young rioters pelted police with stones and then took cover inside the Al-Aksa Mosque. Security sources said the youths had probably holed up inside the mosque earlier this week, and waited for Friday to begin rioting. Police refrained from entering the mosque due to concerns that it would serve Muslim propoganda efforts and claims that Israel is seeking to destroy it.
3,000 members of the security forces were standing by in expectation of Arab violence as a result of calls for an Israeli-Arab Intifada by Muslim leaders. The calls come in response to the repair and replacement of the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate walkway, which was in danger of collapse.
Police entered the Mount, Judaism’s holiest site and fired stun grenades at the rioters in response to the violence.
Israeli-Arab Islamic Chief Calls For Local Uprising
14:45 Feb 08, ’07 / 20 Shevat 5767
by Ezra HaLevi
Islamic leaders in Israel and abroad continue to incite violence in response to Israel ’s repair of the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate leading from the Western Wall Plaza to the Temple Mount .
The Israeli-Arab Islamic Movement is claiming that Israel is trying to destroy the two mosques that lie atop the site of the destroyed Jewish Temples. Sheikh Raad Salah, who heads the movement, called for an “Intifada” of Israel ’s Arabs. Salah and six others tried to force their way past police at the Dung Gate leading to the Western Wall Plaza Wednesday morning.
The men were arrested and charged with attacking police officers. They were served with restraining orders making it illegal for them to approach the excavation site.
Israeli-Arab MK Taleb El-Sana (Ra’am-Ta’al) slammed the arrest and said Israel should instead order a halt to the excavations, “which pose a threat to the peace and stability in the area.”
Jerusalem Grand Mufti Ikrima Sabri issued a call for all Muslims in Israel to flock to the Temple Mount to defend it. Israel ‘s police prevented Arabs under 45 years old and all non-Muslims from entering the Temple Mount Tuesday and Wednesday.
The leaders of Jordan , Syria and Iran , as well as Islamic chiefs in Egypt , have all condemned the work. “The world of Islam should show a serious reaction to the Zionist regime’s insult to Al-Aksa Mosque,” Iranian Islamic ruler Ayatollah Ali Khameini said on Wednesday. Khameini called on Muslim nations to attack Israel in response during a meeting with Islamic Jihad chief Ramadan Abdullah Shallah.
Egypt summons Israeli ambassador to protest dig
Egyptian Foreign Ministry tells envoy Shalom Cohen excavations near Temple Mount could hurt efforts to revive peace process with Palestinians
Egypt summoned the Israeli envoy in Cairo to the Foreign Ministry on Thursday to protest against excavations by the Jewish state near Jerusalem ‘s most sacred Muslim shrine.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement it told the Israeli ambassador, Shalom Cohen, that the excavations could hurt efforts to revive the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
“The Foreign Ministry also stressed that the sacredness of the site makes any movement inside or around it a very sensitive issue for Arab and Muslim peoples, in a way that could cause the situation to explode,” the statement said.
Egypt’s top Muslim cleric, Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi, on Wednesday called the Israeli excavations a “sinful aggression” and appealed for global action to protect the shrine, Islam’s third holiest site.
Tantawi is the Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar mosque, one of the oldest and most prominent seats of Muslim religious thinking.
The Islamic leaders of Azhar Said on Friday prayers:
”The time of protests have ended… now is the time of action”