February 11, 2007
CMEP Rewards Palestinian Violence
The Churches for Middle East Peace, a so-called "peace-making" group has issued a letter to the U.S. Department of State, asking officials to call on Israel to halt the excavation at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. By failing to call on the Palestinians to halt their acts of violence, the CMEP offers a propaganda victory to the PA's Muslim Waqf, which has caused hysteria in the Middle East by falsely asserting that the construction threatens the structural integriy of Al-Aksa Mosque.
The letter issued on February 9, 2007 reads in part: "Unless Israel quickly stops the excavation work, and the planned construction, we fear that violent protests will break out in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and far beyond."
The excavation, conducted in preparation for construction of a permanent walkway that will allow access to the Temple Mount to non-Muslim visitors, does not threaten in any way the structural integrity of the Al-Aksa Mosque as Palestinian leaders have asserted. The work is taking place approximately 180 feet from the Temple Mount.
The excavation is taking place between the Dung Gate into the Old City and the Mugrabi Gate that leads to the Temple Mount itself. Even YNET's Yehuda Litani, who has called for the excavation and the construction to stop, reports the work is "apparently justified" because the "embankment leading to the Mugrabi Gate above the Western Wall's square had been badly damaged in recent years and required thorough renovation work." Currently, access to the Temple Mount is achieved with a temporary wooden walkway that Israeli officials plan to replace with a more permanent structure -- hence the construction. (Non-Muslim tourists are an important source of revenue to tour guides and vendors on the Temple Mount.)
In response to the excavation (necessary to construct support pilings for the walkway), Palestinians rioted, throwing rocks at a Canadian tour bus and at Israeli soldiers on Friday, Feb. 9, 2007.
What the CMEP's letter underscores is a problem on the part of much of Christian "witness" about the Arab-Israeli conflict -- a persistent tendency to regard Palestinian misbehavior as unremarkable. In its letter to the U.S. Department of State, Israeli excavation is criticized, but Palestinian stone-throwing is condoned by silence.
The CMEP's predictable refusal to condemn Palestinian acts of violence and its failure to call upon Palestinian leaders to promote calm and raise their concerns through diplomatic channels -- and not through stone-throwing protesters -- only encourages further acts of violence and intimidation on the part of Palestinians.
Posted by CameraBlog at February 11, 2007 09:51 PM
Let's see if I understand this: Israel is rebuilding the ramp for non-Muslim tourists ("an important source of revenue") to visit the mosque? Meaning, that if the ramp is not rebuilt, Muslim tour guides and vendors will not be able to earn a living? And this is being paid for by Israel?
Sounds like a real no-brainer to me: don't build the ramp and let the tour guides and vendors find another way to make a living once the tours stop coming.
In fact, for the safety of all, the current damaged ramp should be completely dismantled.
Of course, you won't have to wait too long for this issue to come up before the UN security council to condemn Israel for further economically crippling the Palestinians, ad nauseum.
Posted by: ben nathan at February 12, 2007 09:54 AM
I do not live in Israel, though I did in 1999. I have followed Israel news for the last 7 years and for the last 5 of them, (if I remember correctly) there have been reports of Muslims construction under the Mosque destroying Jewish artifacts and trying to erase all proof that there even WAS a Jewish Temple (a popular theme in radical Islam). Only once the Israeli's start doing something under the Mosque does the media take note and now it's everywhere. I would say this is indicative of a double standard but it really seems like a single standard: the tearing down of the Jewish State.
Posted by: Brian at February 12, 2007 12:59 PM
actually, there is a wooden walkway currently providing access to the mount now from an area near the Dung Gate.
Posted by: anon at February 12, 2007 08:23 PM
re: wooden walkway at Dung Gate -- I repeat, for the sake of the safety of the tourists, remove that walkway as well. After all, given the increased traffic, it might collapse, too. ;))
Posted by: ben nathan at February 13, 2007 07:55 AM
Israeli needs the support of the Christian world, if only to keep us safe from from the radical Islam
Posted by: C.R.Blair at February 26, 2007 12:58 PM
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