Feb 27, 2007 9:19 pm


On 9 February, Palestinians, as had appeared likely in preceding days, rioted in Jerusalem on the contrived pretext that Israeli excavations near the Temple Mount were somehow threatening the Al-Aqsa Mosque that sits atop of it. In point of fact, the excavations, a necessary task to determine that antiquities are not damaged preparatory to any new construction being undertaken (in this case, a new ramp to replace an existing, unsafe, one), are occurring at a distance of 70 metres from the Mount and 100 metres' distance from Al-Aqsa.

Despite these facts being widely publicized since the initial violence, Muslim spokesmen continue to falsify the facts and to cite the excavations as due cause for violence. David Gelernter reproduces the following statements:

Raed Salah, leader off the Islamic Movement in Israel:"the danger in Jerusalem has increased. It is high time for the intifada of the Islamic people."

Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas prime minister of the Palestinian Authority: [the project constitutes]" continued Israeli aggression on Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem."

Mohamed el-Katatny, an Egyptian legislator, announced in parliament,"That cursed Israel is trying to destroy Al-Aqsa mosque. . . . Nothing will work with Israel except for a nuclear bomb that wipes it out of existence."

To these can be added Abu Obeida, spokesman of Hamas' armed force, Izzeddin Al-Qassam Brigades, who stated on 21 February that Hamas is considering launching rocket assaults on Israel."We'll begin retaliation at the appropriate time, it is unrealistic to talk about a ceasefire while the excavations near Al-Aqsa mosque are ongoing."

Also, a joint statement on 24 February of Mahmoud Abbas' Al Aqsa Brigades, the main military wing of Fatah, and the Al Quds Brigades, part of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, claimed that their mortar attacks on Israel from Gaza came in"in retaliation for the Israeli aggression against Al Aqsa mosque," a claim echoed by the Abu Ar Rish Brigades ("retaliation for the Israeli aggression against the mosque of Al Aqsa and the Israeli plans in the holy city"). On 26 February, the Al Aqsa Brigades again cited the excavations in explaining their latest rocket attacks on the Israeli border town of Sderot.

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