February 13, 2007

MK Eldad on Temple Mount controversy

From IsraelNationalNews.com, no link.

MK Eldad: The Mughrabi Gate struggle is not over a bridge, but over the principle of Jewish presence.

Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad (National Union) says that if the State of Israel is not able to carry out safety maintenance work at the Western Wall plaza, "it means that we are on a dangerous path towards disappearing from the political map of the Middle East."

Speaking with Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine, Eldad said, "The struggle is over the preservation of the only Temple Mount gate left out of Wakf [Muslim Authority] hands and in Jewish hands."

"The Arabs actually want the Mughrabi Gate passway to collapse," Eldad said, "so that they will be able to close the only gate that is under Jewish control. That will end the era of Jewish visitation rights to the Temple Mount. They have been waiting for this for a long time, and that's why they
don't want us to refurbish it."

The bridge in question leads from the plaza leading to the Western Wall up to the Temple Mount, and is considered a safety hazard in its current condition. Israel's Antiquities Authority is carrying out archaeological works there in anticipation of its refurbishing. Arabs around the country have taken advantage of the situation to accuse of Israel of trying to destroy the Temple Mount complex, and have called for a response sharper than the previous intifadas.

"It's true," Eldad said, "that the original sin was when the Jewish People, immediately after the Six Day War in 1967, ceded its hold on the Temple Mount in an unholy alliance between the Chief Rabbinate and Moshe Dayan - each side for its own reasons - but now the danger is that the Arab sovereignty on the Temple Mount will spill over to the Western Wall plaza, and from there to other places."

Then-Defense Minister Dayan, just days after Israel's liberation of the Old City, informed the Muslims running the Temple Mount that they could continue to run the mosques there - and later went further by preventing Jewish prayer all over the Mount.

"It was evident that if we did not prevent Jews from praying in what was now a mosque compound," Dayan later wrote, "matters would get out of hand and lead to a religious clash... As an added precaution, I told the chief of staff to order the chief army chaplain to remove the branch office he had established in the building which adjoins the mosque compound."

Eldad said that the Arabs' objective is to acquire a "veto right" over what the State of Israel can do on its property, wherever the Arabs feel the area is a "sensitive and explosive holy Moslem site." He noted that the Arabs openly demand the rights of a national minority in a joint state. "Israel cannot allow itself to live under threats and blackmail every time it wants to do something necessary or in keeping with our national and historic rights."