- 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
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