Jewish Radicals Lay Down Symbolic
Cornerstone For 'Third Temple'

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel's supreme court ruled Wednesday that a small band of right-wing Jewish radicals could plant a symbolic first stone for raising Judaism's "third temple in Jerusalem's Old City, but not on Al Haram Al Sharif Mosque compound," public radio said.
The court granted the permission to the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement, a group which aims to erect a new house of worship on Al Haram Al Sharif, which Israelis consider to be the biblical site of the second Jewish temple, which was demolished by the Romans in 70 AD.

"It is a historic decision, of the highest importance. But unfortunately, in not permitting us to enter the Temple Mount, the authorities prolong the tragedy of the Jewish people," said Gershom Salomon, the group's leader.

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 Al Aqsa Mosque compound for fear of sparking clashes, the radio said.

The late September visit to the site by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, while he was still an opposition leader, triggered clashes between Israeli occupation forces and Palestinian worshippers, starting the now 10-month 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 wants to make it the capital of a future state.

The ceremony on Sunday 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.

"Through the eternal Third Temple, God will dwell in the midst of all the nations and in the hearts of all men," the group says on its Internet website.


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