Israel begins renovation near holy site

February 7th, 2007  

Topic: Israel begins renovation near holy site

Muslims are angry at Israel's plan to build a new walkway up to the compound where Islamic tradition says the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven and which Jews revere as the site of their two ancient temples.
Israel says the project is needed to replace a centuries-old earthen ramp that partially collapsed in a snowstorm three years ago. But its assurances that the work would cause no harm to Islam's holy sites did little to soothe tensions.
February 7th, 2007  
It would be really something if for once horse sense and human decency prevailed against the passions of religion in this region.
February 7th, 2007  

An Israeli ministerial committee has decided to withdraw its approval for a new mosque in a sensitive site alongside Nazareth's Basilica of the Annunciation, reversing the stance of two previous governments. A Vatican representative in Israel lauded the decision as "bold and wise," while Israeli Arab Muslim leaders denounced the decision.
Israeli security sources said they feared violent clashes could erupt at some point because of the government action. The Basilica of the Annunciation, where Christian tradition holds that the Angel Gabriel announced the impending birth of Jesus to Mary, is widely regarded as the third most important Christian site in the Holy Land. Also, the basilica is of world renown since key archaeological remains from the first-century village of Nazareth lie exposed and preserved underneath the modern church structure.
Prior to the millennial year, the disputed plot of about one-half acre, which stands between the church and Nazareth's main thoroughfare, had been slated to become a public plaza aimed at facilitating tourist access to the main church entrance, which stands off the street along a narrow alley.

But when city authorities knocked down an old school that had been on the half-acre site, the land was suddenly seized by a local Islamic organization, known as the Islamic Movement, which claimed the parcel as a Muslim trust. For two years, the Muslim organization held prayers and rallies at the site under a tent mosque before finally obtaining permission from the government of then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to develop a permanent 750-square-meter stone mosque.
Nazareth's Muslim leaders said the mosque would coexist peaceably alongside the church. But Christian representatives, led by the Vatican, voiced mounting opposition to the mosque plan, saying it would create a "choke point" impeding pilgrims' access to the basilica. In addition, many Christians, both locally and abroad, characterized the mosque initiative as part of a prolonged bid by Nazareth's Muslim community to gain political hegemony in the city where Jesus grew up. A former Christian stronghold, Nazareth now has a population that is less than half Christian.
Several months ago, in response to increasing international pressure, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appointed a new committee to reconsider the previous decision. The committee, led by former Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky, who is now Israel's housing and construction minister, heard from various Christian representatives and visited the site only to find that the Islamic organization had already begun foundation work without obtaining the final building permits.
In late February, Sharon approved the committee's final set of recommendations, which say the Muslim group should be offered a choice of seven alternative sites for the mosque project farther away from the basilica. The empty plot of land alongside the basilica will be developed as planned as a public plaza. And the small shrine that stands on the disputed plot will be renovated at government expense.
However, it remains to be seen if the government's latest decision can be implemented peacefully at a time when Israel's Arab citizens feel increasingly alienated from the Jewish state. "We hope that everyone abides by this decision peacefully," said one church representative who asked not to be named. "But there are some unpredictable elements."

So the Palestinian Muslims are upset at the Israeli's over something they themselves have done / like to do to Arab Christians.

Well, nothing new or astonishing in that.

Verdict: This is a non-event, back to your homes everybody, nothing to see here. Thank you.
February 7th, 2007  

Topic: It was nothing new

Originally Posted by bulldogg
It would be really something if for once horse sense and human decency prevailed against the passions of religion in this region.
lololol your right i did not think of that

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