Tisha B'av News
July 29, 2001

Live Web Camera Coverage of the Western Wall


Fast of Tisha B'Av/Commentary: WE REMEMBER AND WE LOOK FORWARD

copyright (c), 2001, by Aryeh Gallin

YERUSHALIYIM, D.C. (David's Capital), Yom Rishon (Day One -- "Sunday"), 9 Av, 5761 (Gregorian Date: July 29, 2001) (Hijri Date: 8 Jumad Awal, 1422), Root & Branch: Today is the Fast of the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av.


Today, on the ninth of Av, we REMEMBER the destruction of the First and Second Temples of Jerusalem, the Assyrian, Babylonian and Roman exiles, European Catholic Crusades, Spanish and Portuguese Catholic Inquisitions, Ukrainian Chmelnitzki massacres, Nazi German Genocide ("Holocaust"), the current Rosh HaShanah War/Philistine Chaos ["Palestine Authority"] Pogrom, and other tragedies that befell and are befalling the Jewish People. We chant the words of the Book of Eicha (Lamentations), which begin: "How does the city [Jerusalem] sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow! She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!" [Eicha/Lamentations 1:1]


Today, on the ninth of Av, we also LOOK FORWARD to the fulfillment of the words of the Prophet Zechariah:

"And the word of the Lord of Hosts came to me, saying: 'Thus says the Lord of Hosts: The fast of the FOURTH month, and the fast of the FIFTH, and the fast of the SEVENTH, and the fast of the TENTH, shall be to the House of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful seasons; therefore love you truth and peace'". [Zechariah 8:19]

Our sages explain that "the fast of the fifth" month "is the Ninth of Av, when the Temple was burnt". [Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Rosh HaShanah 18b]

"Metzudath David explains that this prophesy [from Zechariah] is for the future, when the above fast days observed by the House of Judah will be joyous occasions for Judah. The House of Israel [Lost Ten Tribes], however, will have its own festivals commemorating the days Israel fasted and mourned". ["The Book of the Twelve Prophets", Judaica Press, page 357]


We look forward to the building of the Third and Final Bet HaMikdash (Temple) of Yerushaliyim and the reestablishment of a Torah-based government with its three branches: the Sanhedrin (Judicial Branch), Priesthood (Legislative Branch) and Davidic Monarchy (Executive Branch), all of which will have their offices on the Har HaBayit (Temple Mount) at the Bet HaMikdash (Temple) of Yerushaliyim.


The Founding Fathers of the United States built the American Biblical Commonwealth on the model of the Ancient Israelite Commonwealth.

For America's Founding Fathers, the Constitution was their Written Torah, Capitol Hill was their Har HaBayit (Temple Mount), the Capitol Building was their Bet HaMikdash (Temple), the Supreme Court (Judicial Branch) was their Sanhedrin, the Congress (Legislative Branch) was their Priesthood, and the Presidency (Executive Branch) was their equivalent of the Davidic Monarchy (George Washington wisely declined the offer to make him first King of the new United States).

The UNPRECEDENTED economic, political, and military power with which the United States has been blessed, rests SOLELY on the basis of that SPIRITUAL POWER with which America's Founding Fathers infused the new nation, and which has been the heritage of millions of Bible-believing Americans for almost four hundred years, since the Puritan Pilgrim Fathers first set foot in the new land.


America must NEVER substitute for faith in the G-d of Israel, that faith which has sustained this great Bible-based nation for almost four hundred years, a faith in the false, pagan gods of economic, political and military power -- THE gods of OIL -- as it has been counseled to do, for over fifty years since the establishment of the State of Israel, by America's false prophets, modern day equivalents of the false prophets of the Egyptian Pharoah and those of the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar.

America is sustained ENTIRELY by its spiritual oil wells which are found in the G-d of Israel, Who has brought the Children of Israel back to the Land of Israel. Those spiritual oil wells will ONLY be found in the Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount of Yerushaliyim itself, NOT in the deserts of Arabia or the Persian Gulf.


America MUST move from the "even-handed" approach that has characterized its foreign policy towards Israel for over 50 years to a policy of UNCONDITIONAL, ABSOLUTE, NO-ANDS-IFS-OR-BUTS SUPPORT for the Children of Israel in ALL of the Land of Israel.

This new foreign policy, an "American Foreign Policy for America", as one commentator calls it, must be based on American recognition of the Covenants: G-d's Noahide Covenant and Laws for all humanity and G-d's Three Covenants with Israel:

The PEOPLE Covenant (G-d chose the Children of Israel to be His People)

The TORAH Covenant (G-d gave His Torah to the Children of Israel)

The LAND Covenant (G-d gave the Land of Israel to the Children of Israel)

America's Founding Fathers believed in G-d. They feared G-d and respected His Covenants. Tragically, far too many of the Founding Fathers' descendents, who may be found among today's ruling American "elites", have forgotten them.


United States President Bush is at this moment being advised by his own father, and his father's "friends", to forget the G-d of Their Fathers, who was the G-d of the Founding Fathers of America. That is the G-d of Israel.

If this process of forgetting happens, if America's false prophets will now convince the American President of today to be like the Egyptian Pharoah of old -- "Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph" [Shemot/Exodus 1:8] -- this will not only bring more suffering to the Children of Israel in the Land of Israel. It will bring suffering to Americans, in America, as well.


We, the Children of Israel, have suffered enough during the First Seven Year Shmittah Cycle of the Oslo Death Process (1993-2000). We are now suffering even more as we proceed into the Second Seven Year Shmittah Cycle of the Oslo Death Process (2000-2007).

If the above mentioned process of forgetting the G-d of Israel in America happens (much of the rest of the world has long ago forgotten, assuming they ever remembered Him in the first place), NO NATION that oppresses Israel, or stands by while others oppress Israel, may consider itself safe from the scourges of biological, chemical and nuclear warfare; global warming, unprecedented plagues, famines, droughts, earthquakes, floods; city-killer size asteroids, meteorites and comets; social and political upheavals.

Not even America.

The nations of this world can have all the G-8 meetings they want at any local Seven Eleven, and U.N. meetings, such as the upcoming one to consider whether or not "Zionism is racism", while marching to Pretoria. It makes no difference whether these meetings will be held in a South African shantytown, "Third World" slum, or "First World" metropolis.

These nations would be well advised to heed the words of the Prophet Jeremiah, who proclaimed:

"Israel is the Lord's hallowed portion, his first-fruits of the increase; all that devour him shall be held guilty, EVIL shall come on them, says the Lord". [Yirmiyahu/Jeremiah 2:3]


The last flood was by water. The next flood may be by (nuclear) fire. Israel is Noah's Ark in the coming flood. That is: the G-d of Israel spiritually, and the Land of Israel physically.

Every Jewish community outside of the Land of Israel is a Dunkirk waiting to be evacuated.

Those who are wise among the Children of Israel will pack their bags and come home NOW.

Those who are wise among the Gentiles will come quickly over to the winning side, which is the side of the G-d of Israel and His People, the Children of Israel.

"And the idols shall utterly pass away.
And men shall go into the caves of the rocks,
And into the holes of the earth,
From before the terror of the Lord,
And from the glory of His majesty.
When He arises to shake mightily the earth.
In that day a man shall cast away
His idols of silver, and his idols of gold,
Which they made for themselves to worship,
To the moles and to the bats;
To go into the clefts of the rocks,
And into the crevices of the crags,
From before the terror of the Lord,
And from the glory of His majesty.
When He arises to shake mightily the earth.
Cease you from man, in whose nostrils in a breath;
For how little is he to be accounted!"
[Yeshiyahu/Isaiah 2:18-22]

Shavua Tov (Good Week) from Yerushaliyim,

Aryeh Gallin
President, Root & Branch Association, Ltd.
Member, Foreign Press Association in Israel
Member, New York City Chapter, U.S. Society of Professional Journalists


Please visit the Root & Branch website at http://www.rb.org.il, now in the TOP 16th (16.42) percentile (number 224,365) out of OVER ONE MILLION, THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY THOUSAND (1,366,869) websites worldwide ranked by WebsMostLinked.com as of July 12, 2001.

Hundreds of the Israeli occupation forces stormed Al-Haram al-Sharif - (Jewish temple was "imaginary")

[IMRA: Israeli police acted after Palestinians, apparently encouraged by Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi, threw rocks down at Jews praying at the Western Wall. The so-called "laying" of a foundation stone by a group of Jews was a repeat of a ceremony held several times in the past in which a stone that the group says it hopes will ultimately be the foundation stone of a future temple was shown to the public in a parking lot (NOT on the Temple Mount). It is notable that in Tisha B'Av, the day that commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temple that the official Palestinian News Agency termed the Temple "the imaginary temple".]

Hundreds of the Israeli occupation forces stormed Al-Haram al-Sharif

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM - JULY 29 - WAFA(Official Palestine News Agency) - Hundreds of the Israeli occupation forces stormed Sunday, Al-Haram al-Sharif (Al Aqssa mosque) compound and fired live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets and stun grenades at Muslims who gathered at the Mosque courtyards.

At least 20 Palestinians were injured, according to eyewitnesses.

Tension in the occupied holy city has increased substantially following a decision by the Israel's "suprime court" to allow a group of Jewish fanatics to lay the foundation-stone for the imaginary Jewish temple on land belonging to Muslims near the Haram al Sharif, the Noble sanctuary.

The Jewish fanatics group which called "Temple Mount Faithful" was allowed by the occupation troops this morning to bring for more than 30 minutes a large cornerstone meant to symbolize the reconstruction of the imaginary temple.

The Palestinian National Authority spokesman, held the government of Ariel Sharon responsible for this dangerous escalation against the Palestinian holy places, and warned this government that, going ahead with that step, will lead to a comprehensive explosion in the area.

''This is very, very serious, Its pouring fuel on the fire," Palestinian local government Minster Dr. Saeb Erekat told reporters

"It's ironic the same prime minister who went in September to al-Haram al-Sharif is now just adding another provocative step," Erekat said.

The Arab countries condemned this Israeli aggression.

''This is a new provocation added to the many Israeli provocations," Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher told reporters in Cairo.

His Jordanian counterpart, Abdul-Illah Khatib, issued a statement to reporters in Amman describing what took place today, as an "unjustified provocation of the feelings of the Muslim nation," and would "lead to a dangerous escalation."

Maher and Khatib both urged the permanent members of the Security Council to intervene to stop the Israeli aggression.

Christian leaders, too, condemned plans by the extremist Jewish group, to lay the corner stone for the imaginary Jewish temple on land owned by Muslims.

"We are united with our Muslim brothers in condemning these evil designs which show that the Israeli governments don't respect the holy places of other religions," said Dr. Attallah Hanna, spokesman for the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem and the whole of Palestine.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Website: www.imra.org.il


This day of Tisha B'Av has seen tens of thousands of Jews of all stripes visit the Western Wall and other Old City sites. As many of them were reciting Tisha B'Av prayers and the traditional Kinot (lamentations) at the Wall, Arabs up above on the Temple Mount - Judaism's holiest site - began hurling large rocks at the Jewish worshippers below. The Jews were evacuated, some of them against their will, from the Western Wall plaza, while police blew open the nearest gate to the Mount, stormed in, and arrested some of the Arab attackers. Additional stoning attacks continued, prompting the police to forcefully enter the Mount in response; several policemen and Arabs have been hurt. Police officials said that Arab MKs present on the scene incited the mobs to use violence against the Israelis.

Islamic and PLO groups began inciting Palestinians as early as Friday to "physically protect" the Temple Mount from Jews planning to conduct a symbolic cornerstone laying ceremony for the Third Temple this morning. Despite Israeli assurances that the ceremony would not be held near the Mount, but rather at the parking lot outside the Old City's Dung Gate, the calls of incitement - what Prime Ministers Sharon's spokesman Raanan Gissin termed "Palestinian vilification and lies" - continued up through today. Jerusalem Police Chief Mickey Levy had earlier informed Islamic Waqf officials that no Arab disturbances would be tolerated. The cornerstone ceremony was in fact held without incident this morning, two hours earlier than scheduled, but amidst charges by organizers that the police had "rushed it up" and not kept to the previously agreed-upon terms.

2. ARAB TERRORISTS THREATEN ISRAEL'S CHIEF RABBIS The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has published a hit-list of 32 rabbis and Yesha leaders whom it threatens to assassinate. Heading the list are former Chief Rabbi and current Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef and Chief Rabbi of Israel Yisrael Meir Lau. Rabbi Lau recently came out in support of the IDF's preemptive strikes against Arab terrorists preparing attacks against Israel, while Rabbi Yosef has made some statements against Arabs in the past. In Lebanon, Sheikh Afif Al Nabulsi is offering one million dollars "to the one who will punish rabbis Yisrael Meir Lau and Ovadiah Yosef... These two rabbis are two snakes. Muslims in general, and Palestinians in particular, are called upon to exterminate these microbes which tarnish the surface of the earth," said Sheikh Nabulsi.

3. P.A. ATTACKS DRAW ISRAELI RETALIATION Over the weekend, Arabs fired three mortar rockets at the Jewish community of Gadid, in Gush Katif, Gaza. In retaliation, Israel Air Force helicopters destroyed a weapons factory in PLO-controlled Gaza. Late Friday afternoon, an alert Jerusalem bus driver found a bomb hidden inside a watermelon during a routine, post-ride check. Police neutralized the bomb without incident. Last night, another terrorist-placed bomb exploded in southern Tel Aviv, detonated by a cellular phone. No one was hurt. Heavy police forces continue to be deployed in the city, in light of intelligence warnings of planned terrorism.

Arab violence continued last night and today, including the wounding of two Israeli soldiers north of Ramallah; the IDF briefly entered PA-controlled territory in response... A bus on the Mount of Olives was firebombed; no one was hurt... Gunfire against Border Police south of Shechem... Rocks against police near Arab village of Tukwa, in Judea... Two homes in the Shomron city of Ariel were damaged by terrorist gunfire; IDF forces fired tank shells in response... Arabs shot at Psagot today... and more...

Following several rounds of gunfire at Hevron's Jewish community over the weekend, an Israeli army officer was wounded this afternoon when Palestinians began another heavy shooting onslaught there. In response, the IDF penetrated about 100 meters deep into Abu Sneineh - fully PA-controlled hills from where the Arabs often fire onto the Jewish homes down below. Ten-month-old Shalhevet Pass was murdered by precisely this type of sniper fire four months ago. Much of the Israeli public has long called for the army to reconquer these hills and remove the Hevron residents from danger. Thousands of Jews are visiting the Machpelah Cave, which is open exclusively to Jews today in honor of Tisha B'Av.

Arutz Sheva News Service

Sunday, July 29, 2001 / Tisha B'Av, 5761

From: imra@netvision.net.il
To: imra@imra.org.il
Subject: Excerpts: IMRA comment and 3 items on `Cornerstone' ceremony 29 July 2001
Sender: owner-imra@imra.org.il

Excerpts: IMRA comment and 3 items on `Cornerstone' ceremony 29 July 2001

+++ IMRA: The three items which follow concern an effort of the Temple Mount Faithful to have a ceremony for the laying of a temporary, symbolic `cornerstone' for the `Third Temple'. These stories appeared in the Friday-Saturday and Sunday editions of the Jordan Times even though the Israeli court's decision that the ceremony could take place only well away from the Temple Mount was announced on Wednesday. As in the past, it was known that the symbolic stone would be removed.

The Jordan Times stories (appearing well after the Court's decision was made known) reveal significant Arab spokespersons made statements infering or asserting that this ceremony was to be the start of a third temple on the Temple Mount. Without exception,. these spokespersons were inciting violence.

On Sunday morning the Israeli police did not permit the stone to be brought into the Old City. Nevertheless, later Jews praying at the Western Wall were pelted by stones thrown from "Islam's third most sacred area"

+++JORDAN TIMES 29 July '01: "Warning issued"

QUOTE FROM TEXT: "Israel's high court upheld a decision on Wednesday to ban ... the Temple Mount Faithful, from laying the cornerstone at the site, but said they could display the marble stone near the compound." EXCERPTS: Palestinians urged Israel on Saturday to stop right-wing Jews from placing a new cornerstone at Jerusalem's Temple Mount, warning it would outrage Muslims and could escalate the uprising.

Arafat's Fateh faction called for a "day of rage" and urged Palestinians to mass on Sunday at Al Haram Al Sharif to thwart any attempt to carry the 4.5-tonne stone into the compound.

"This is very, very serious. It's pouring fuel on the fire," senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said.

Israel's high court upheld a decision on Wednesday to ban ... the Temple Mount Faithful, from laying the cornerstone at the site, but said they could display the marble stone near the compound.

{IMRA: After which it would be carted away.}

Israel and the Palestinians were bracing for a potentially bloody showdown on Sunday over one of the world's holiest sites, where a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon set off the Palestinian uprising 10 months ago. . . . The United Arab Emirates called on the Al Quds Committee and the Organisation of the Islamic conference to act quickly and effectively to block "the Zionist project to Judaise the Aqsa Mosque" ... .

The appeal was made by the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Sheikh Hamdan Ben Zayed Al Nahayan, during telephone conversations with the foreign minister of Morocco, which heads the Al Quds Committee, and the foreign minister of Qatar, which holds the current presidency of the OIC.

Sheikh Hamdan stressed "the need for fast and effective action to counter the Israeli-Zionist project aimed at Judaising Al Quds (Jerusalem) by the laying of the so-called first stone of the temple."

An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman cautioned that "Jerusalem and its holy places are the centre of the solidarity of the Arab people and states."

He condemned "this (Israeli) plot" and warned "against the destruction of holy Islamic sites in the Holy City."

The Islamic Hamas movement called on Palestinians to mobilise on Sunday and be ready to die to stop the laying of the symbolic stone.

"We call on the Palestinian people and their political groupings to gather very early tomorrow (Sunday) at Al Aqsa Mosque compound to stop the laying of the first stone of the said temple," Hamas said in a statement sent to AFP in Beirut.

Marwan Barghouti, head of Arafat's Fateh movement in the West Bank, told AFP: "It's a declaration of war ... this will lead to a reaction not only in the region but around the world." . . . Israel said on Saturday it would prevent the right-wing Jewish group from inflaming Muslim sensitivities by ensuring it did not place the cornerstone on the sensitive Arab East Jerusalem holy site.

"We have no intention of letting anyone go up the hill or hurting Muslim people. There will be no ceremony there. They are using this to create incitement against Israel," Acting Public Security Minister Ruby Rivlin told Reuters.

+++JORDAN TIMES 29 July '01: " Jordan warns of 'dangerous escalation' over temple cornerstone Laying temple cornerstone in occupied Jerusalem could mean war - Ashrawi"

QUOTES FROM TEXT: "`This is considered an unjustified provocation for the Muslim nation and a violation of the sacred character of Al Haram Al Sharif," [IMRA: Temple Mount] home to the Aqsa Mosque compound"

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

"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 Old City.

But it forbade such a ceremony within the Aqsa Mosque compound for fear of sparking clashes." =

AMMAN (AFP) - Foreign Minister Abdul 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 Aqsa Mosque compound, the third most revered spot in Islam, Khatib said.

Israel's supreme court ruled on 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. . . . 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 Jordan News Agency, Petra.

He said this would also violate the status of the Islamic holy places as well as international law. [IMRA: What 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 [news agency] 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 Aqsa Mosque compound for fear of sparking clashes.

+++JORDAN TIMES 29 July '01: "Egypt warns Israel on blocking path to peace"

QUOTES FROM TEXT: "Maher described on Saturday the plan to build a new Jewish temple on the mosque compound in Jerusalem as a new provocation, and called on the Israeli government to take steps to prevent it."

" `This criminal Jewish action against one of the most sacred sites of the Muslims comes amid appeals for help from Muslims in Jerusalem ... who have not managed to mobilise Arab and Islamic governments to save Al Aqsa{Mosque' ..."

"The Egyptian foreign minister also said he will talk late Saturday with the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council ... to discuss measures to end the `provocation.' "


EXCERPTS: CAIRO (AFP) - Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher warned that Israeli policies could cause the Middle East conflict to deteriorate even further, in a national television interview broadcast on Saturday.

"The situation in the Middle East will get worse if Israel insists on pursuing its policies," Maher said, placing the blame for the deterioration in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip on the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. . . . Maher described on Saturday the plan to build a new Jewish temple on the mosque compound in Jerusalem as a new provocation, and called on the Israeli government to take steps to prevent it.

The announcement by a group of Israeli rabbis to lay the first stone for the temple is "a provocation which adds to numerous earlier Israeli provocations contrary to international legality," Maher said in comments to the press. . . . Also in Cairo, the banned Muslim Brotherhood on Saturday condemned the silence of Arab and Islamic governments in the face of the planned Jewish action.

"This criminal Jewish action against one of the most sacred sites of Muslims comes amid appeals for help from Muslims in Jerusalem ... who have not managed to mobilise Arab and Islamic governments to save Al Aqsa (Mosque)," the group said in a statement to AFP.

The Egyptian movement quoted a verse from the Koran, calling for war with the enemy.

The Egyptian foreign minister also said he will talk late Saturday with the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council ... to discuss measures to end the "provocation."

Dr. Joseph Lerner, Co-Director IMRA

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Website: www.imra.org.il

Israeli Police Storm Jerusalem Mosque

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Hundreds of Israeli police on Sunday stormed the mosque compound that is Jerusalem's most contested religious site and tossed stun grenades at Muslims who were throwing stones at Jews worshipping at the nearby Western Wall.

At least 15 policemen and 10 Palestinians were injured inside the hilltop compound, the site where the current round of Israeli-Palestinian violence erupted 10 months ago during a similar confrontation.

The compound contains two mosques and is the third holiest site in Islam, known as the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims. The compound is built atop the ruins of the two biblical Jewish temples, the holiest site in Judaism, known as the Temple Mount to Jews.

The day's first confrontation took place when the large police contingent blocked about 30 members of an ultranationalist Jewish group from marching on the mosque compound.

Shortly afterward, Muslims inside the compound began throwing stones, bricks and bottles at hundreds of Jews praying down below at the Western Wall, which forms one exterior wall of the compound.

Many of the Jews, both men and women, fled the barrage, with some holding plastic chairs or prayer shawls over their heads for protection. The stone- throwing prompted police to rush inside.

``We're here to prevent the throwing of stones on Jewish worshippers,'' Jerusalem police chief Mickey Levy, who joined the operation, told Army radio. He said about 400 policemen took part, tossing stun grenades at the Muslims, driving most of them back inside the mosques.

``The Palestinians were just looking for an excuse for a party,'' Levy said. ``I really hope the Palestinians will not try to ignite things again.''

The operation took less than two minutes, he added. However, a tense standoff ensued, and the police remained inside the compound, though they did not enter either of the two mosques.

Because the compound is so sensitive, any incidents at the site can spark a much larger conflagration between Israelis and Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the mosque area last Sept. 28 -- he was the main opposition leader at the time -- and provoked outrage among Muslims. Violence broke out the next day when police clashed with Muslims inside the compound.

Tensions were running high Sunday, the Jewish holy day of Tisha B'Av, when observant Jews mark the destruction of Jewish temples at the site in the years 586 B.C. and 70 A.D.

Police were deployed by the hundreds to block the ultranationalist Jews, the Temple Mount Faithful, from reaching the compound and planting a cornerstone for a future Jewish temple.

In a compromise, police permitted the group to hold a short ceremony in a nearby parking lot outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.

After the ceremony, the cornerstone was taken from the area in a bid to ease tensions. The Temple Mount Faithful demonstrated near a gate leading to the mosques, but the much larger police force easily turned them back.

Muslim groups had called for worshippers to come to the mosques in large numbers, and several thousand turned out to prevent any attempt by Jews to enter the compound.

Ibrahim Sarsour, an Arab Israeli and leader of the Islamic Movement, warned that any radical Jews forcing their way onto the mosque compound would provoke a confrontation.

``If, God forbid, these people will break through the police blockades, we will defend the mosques with our bodies,'' Sarsour told Israel radio.

Israel claims sovereignty over the site, though the Waqf, an Islamic trust, has day-to-day control of the compound. Since the violence broke out, only Muslims have been allowed inside the compound.

The compound was one of the most contentious issues in the Israeli- Palestinian peace negotiations that collapsed amid the current fighting.

Meanwhile, two Israeli soldiers and two Palestinians were injured Sunday in an exchange of fire in the village of Surda near the West Bank city of Ramallah, according to Israel's military. The army said Palestinian gunmen opened fire, and the troops shot back.

Palestinian security instructed civilians in the area to evacuate the streets for fear of an escalation.

Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press

What's happening on the Temple Mount

By Nadav Shragai Ha'aretz 29 July 2001

Members of the Committee to Prevent Archaeological Destruction on the Temple Mount include A. B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz, and S. Yizhar, former justices Meir Shamgar and Miriam Ben-Porat, as well as many archaeologists. The committee constantly passes on reports about a continuing destruction of antiquities on the mount. Some of the reports have been confirmed, police have denied others, and some that police denied in the past have been proved true subsequently.

The politicians - neither in the days of the Barak administration nor in the current one, have taken no steps to halt waqf construction activity. Most of this is done without permission and all of it without archaeological supervision.

Antiquities Authority archaeologists were first kept away from the Temple Mount in September 1996 after the opening of the northern entrance to the Hasmonean Tunnel by the Netanyahu government. For a few months in 1999, the Barak government managed to get some supervision by the Antiquities Authority back onto the mount, but that was halted in October 2000 when the Intifada broke out.

Since last Rosh Hashana, the Temple Mount has been closed to both Antiquities Authority people and indeed to anyone who is not Muslim, except for the Israeli police, which continue to patrol the area at various levels of intensity. It is not clear if the police are conducting ongoing systematic surveillance of the underground construction work by the waqf and the Israeli Islamic Movement. The only significant difference that came following the election of the Sharon government is that the decision to prevent Muslims from bringing additional construction material onto the mount is generally being enforced.

The opposition to Israel's policy of ignoring what is happening on the mount with regard to the destruction of antiquities comes from both within the establishment and from outside it. Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein, who in the past called the activity on the mount "a kick at the history of the Jewish people," sent some vociferous letters to former prime minister Ehud Barak and has made his views known to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

The Antiquities Authority occasionally protests about the construction work. The former director general of the authority, Amir Drori, called the work in the Solomon's Stables area "an archaeological crime." But the positions taken by both Rubinstein and Drori have been rejected time and again.

The main worry at the political level is of a confrontation between the security forces and thousands of Muslims, which would spread to far beyond the Temple Mount - to Jerusalem, the territories and possibly to other Arab states. But there are those in both the police and Shin Bet who are skeptical of those concerns.

Various petitions to the High Court, both by the public committee and the various veteran Temple Mount organizations, have been rejected. The court has made clear that the issue is the responsibility of the politicians and it has no intention of intervening. The court usually refrains from getting into the details of the controversy between the police and the Temple Mount organizations.

For the past two years no journalists have been allowed on the mount except for those whom the waqf approves as sympathetic to the waqf's cause. Visits to the mount are nearly impossible and photography is strictly forbidden.

The photographs published here were taken over the past year in secret by various private individuals and were given to the Committee to Prevent Archaeological Destruction on the Temple Mount.


IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Website: www.imra.org.il

A cause for lament - situation on Temple Mount

By Nadav Shragai Ha'aretz 29 July 2001

The end of this summer will mark one year since the gates of the Temple Mount were closed to Jewish visitors. In retrospect, the visit of then-opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the site at the end of last September, on the eve of Rosh Hashana, now looks like a cynical and disdainful utilization of the Temple Mount and its symbols, and the emotions it evokes.

Every passing month sees the erasure and loss of additional sections and layers of ground from which it would have been possible to extract a great deal of knowledge about the history of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. The chain saw continues to slice up ancient stones and turn them into tiles. Tractors drive about the Mount, which is unparalleled in its importance, as though it were a construction site, and ancient objects that were found there have begun to crop up on the black market. Gradually, despite the denials, the data supplied by the Committee to Prevent the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount are turning out to be accurate.

In the past, the Waqf Muslim religious trust prevented excavations in the Temple Mount compound, citing mainly religious reasons, while Israel prohibited prayer - as distinguished from visits - by Jews there, for fear of stirring up interfaith clashes. That state of affairs was known as the "status quo."

The underlying assumption of both prohibitions was that their enforcement did not constitute a final decision as to the future of the site, but that in the meantime no one would plunder and destroy the remnants of the temple, while the religious rights of the Jews at the site would be realized, in full or in part, upon the advent of peace or the messiah.

However, that assumption is no longer valid. The fact that the Temple Mount is now closed to Jews is a return to past periods, when the Muslims imposed a religious ban on the entry of non-Muslims to the site and even cut off the heads of Jews and Christians who were caught after sneaking in to the compound. The starting point of the discussions with the Islamic faith concerning the Jewish rights on the Temple Mount has changed, and it is no longer possible to assume that no one will touch the treasures of the Jewish people that lie in the earth there.

Consequently, Israeli policy with regard to the Temple Mount must be subjected to reassessment, and in particular the attitude of the police, which has a considerable influence on the decisions made by the political level. Anyone who reads the affidavits submitted in the past to the High Court of Justice by the former public security minister Avigdor Kahalani, by the former adviser on counter-terrorism, Major General (Res.) Meir Dagan and by Yaakov Yaniv, a former section head in the Shin Bet security service, will hardly be impressed by the position presented to the political level by the police.

Kahalani, Dagan and Yaniv cite a series of actions that were taken on the Temple Mount in recent years, some of them on sensitive dates, without any fuss being made over the matter, let alone bloodshed or even an iota of the apocalyptic scenarios that the professional level of the police described to the political level and to the High Court of Justice. Even Aryeh Amit, a former chief of the Jerusalem District police, believes that the Temple Mount could and should have been opened to Jewish visitors long ago.

The fact that the current minister of public security, Uzi Landau, who is responsible for the police, and Education Minister Limor Livnat, who is in charge of the Antiquities Authority, accept the present policy, is no less than astonishing. As members of the opposition they both signed the petition of the Committee to Prevent the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount. They could have done a lot more to put a stop to the anarchic situation on the Temple Mount and to get it reopened to all visitors.

It's true that Prime Minister Sharon in practice stripped them of responsibility for the subject, but that is at best only an excuse for doing nothing - but not for hiding the facts. Livnat could still make public the reports compiled by the Antiquities Authority. Simple knowledge of the truth is valuable in itself. But she and Sharon are not doing even the minimum required - to meet with the members of the committee, as Landau did, and view the hundreds of photographs that were taken secretly on the Temple Mount, and then to cross-match these data with the professional personnel who are accountable to them.

The political level has to take into account, as part of its overall considerations, the fact that the professional level of the police is an interested party on the Temple Mount, and that it's possible that that interest is influencing its evaluations of the situation. The interest the police have on the Temple Mount is that quiet reign there and that no friction be caused, this at almost any price - but the price of that quiet is totally unacceptable: the ongoing destruction of the remnants of the Jewish past (and remnants from other periods as well) at a site that is the most important in the fabric of life of the Jewish people. This, combined with a situation that is straight out of the theater of the absurd, namely the prohibition on Jews to visit the site, which no one imagined could come to pass at the Temple Mount, of all places, and acceptance of which is like a sword plunged into the heart of many Jews.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Website: www.imra.org.il

11:08 Jul-29-01, 9 Av 5761

Security Remains Heavy at Western Wall (IsraelNationalNews.com) Security remains extremely heavy in and around the Western Wall Plaza as Jews observe Tisha B,Av, commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples.

The plaza has been full since last night, with many persons opting to place a sleeping bags down and spend the night at the holy site, reciting lamentations and special prayers associated with the day.

Police and elite units are out in force. Jerusalem police commander Mickey Levy has sent a clear message to the PA and Wakf Islamic Authority officials, that no disturbances whatsoever would be tolerated today.

In a sad statement, the senior police commander added, "On Tisha B,Av we will not "tolerate, stone-throwing from the Mount [by Arabs] onto Jewish worshipers below."

Unfortunately, the rule has now become that the attacks are tolerated on other days of the year rather than risk inflaming the Islamic terrorists by ordering Israeli forces onto the Temple Mount to restore order. When attacks begin, police are ordered to remove Jewish worshipers from the Western Wall instead of confronting the stone-throwers on the Mount.

Levy stated that if stone-throwing attacks begin on Sunday, police would immediately be ordered onto the Temple Mount to restore order.

Police report they will remain out in force throughout the day in the wake of threats from the Wakf, Fatah and the Israel Islamic Association.



11:19 Jul-29-01, 9 Av 5761

"The Temple Mount is Not in Our Hands" (IsraelNationalNews.com) Retired police commander Aryeh Amit told Israel Radio on Sunday morning that "The Temple Mount is Not in Our Hands."

The former commander of the Jerusalem district of the Israel Police (1994-1996) stated that any attempts to declare that Israel controls the Temple Mount are far from the present reality. Amit, who admittedly is aligned with the Israeli left-wing, stated that he thinks the decision by Moshe Dayan in August 1967 following the liberation of Jerusalem, to give control over the Temple Mount to the Wakf Islamic Authority, was correct.

That said, Amit added what he does not agree with is the reality that Jews, non- Jewish Israelis and tourists and not been able to visit the Temple Mount since the start of the Oslo War in the beginning of October 2000. The former commander explained that most persons are under the false impression that the Mount was and remains closed by Israel Police and/or the government or other official authority. He stated with certainty that this is not the case.

Amit explained that the Mount has been and remains closed by Yasser Arafat and the PA; once again showing it is flexing its muscles in the eastern capital, especially in the ongoing battle for control over holy sites in Jerusalem.

Amit stated that it is most ironic that a government perceived as right-wing has done nothing except talk regarding true efforts to regain a modicum of control over the Mount, adding the government would be wise to cease its statements until it is ready to do something about the situation.

He added that he was personally not willing to accept the current situation, explaining that there was no reason he or others wishing to visit the Mount may not do so, adding he was not speaking about praying, just visiting. The former senior police official stated there was no question that Yasser Arafat was taking the fight over eastern Jerusalem and its holy sites a great deal more serious than Israel, adding that the PA continues to make good on its statements while Israel continues to speak but falls short when it comes to implementation.

When asked about the current political situation with the PA, Amit responded that it is fairly clear to all that a war or some type of military conflict with the PA was inevitable. He explained that the government would not be able to continue with it policy of restraint if there is another one or two major attacks such as the Dolphinarium that claimed 21 lives.



12:32 Jul-29-01, 9 Av 5761

Worshipers Attacked at Western Wall by Stone-Throwers (IsraelNationalNews.com) Police at this time are making their way into the Temple Mount complex following a stone-throwing attack aimed at Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall below.

Police Commander Mickey Levy called upon Wakf officials and the PA to refrain from any provocations and attacks today, Tisha B,Av, adding nothing would be tolerated.

As promised by Jerusalem police commander Mickey Levy, police were ordered to force their way onto the Mount at the first sign of stone-throwing and are in the process at this time.

There were no immediate reports of injuries from the stone-throwing attacks. Police are clearing worshipers from the Western Wall while a tactical force is working its way towards the attackers on the Mount.

Additional confirmed details will be published as they become available.



13:11 Jul-29-01, 9 Av 5761

Worshipers Permitted to Return to Western Wall (IsraelNationalNews.com) After about 40 minutes, police have permitted Jewish worshipers to return to the Western Wall and continue with the day,s prayer services.

Police cleared the worshipers away after Arabs began throwing rocks at them below. The attackers were standing on the Temple Mount above.

Six policepersons were injured as they made their way onto the Mount via the so- called Mugrabi Gate to stop the attacks. The conditions of the wounded police personnel are unknown at this time.



13:05 Jul-29-01, 9 Av 5761

Shechem Closed by IDF to Prevent Attacks (IsraelNationalNews.com) Acting on intelligence community warnings, the IDF has positioned tanks and military forces at the entrances to the city of Shechem to prevent PA residents from leaving.

Military officials report they have information pointing to planned suicide and other attacks by persons from the Shechem area on the fast day of Tisha B,Av, today. The decision was made to close Shechem and selected area roads to Arab motorists in the hope of thwarting another attack inside Green Line Israel.



14:08 Jul-29-01, 9 Av 5761

Unrest Continues on Temple Mount (IsraelNationalNews.com) Jerusalem police are still involved in efforts to restore total calm on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem,s Old City. Arabs continue sporadic stone-throwing attacks against police forces. At least 15 policepersons have been injured by rocks.

Commander Mickey Levy, who commands the Jerusalem district, denied Arab reports that police are using rubber bullets and teargas. Arabs are reporting at least 20 attackers have been injured.


July 29, 2001

Back to Recent News