Thursday, October 14, 2004
With only hours to spare, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, following consultations with police chief Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi, decided Thursday not to limit the number of Muslim worshippers scheduled to pray at the Temple Mount during the holy month of Ramadan, set to kick off on Friday.
Accepting Karadi's recommendation, Sharon backed down from threats voiced by officials over the past few days, according to which Israel would limit the number of worshippers from 250,000 to 60,000 unless the Wakf agreed to ban worshippers from the southeastern corner of the Mount over the area known as Solomon's Stables, said to be in danger of collapsing.
Apparently the decision was based on 11th hour reinforcements to the structure and an agreement to close part of the site.
Following a tour of the mount with Jerusalem police chief Cmdr. Ilan Franco, Karadi said that in the past 48 hours work was done in Solomon's Stables in order to reinforce the unstable ceiling and that the area on top of the mount was in the process of being sealed off. He added that Jordanian engineer experts were also on the Mount and were participating in the construction work.
"Over the past few weeks several operations have been initiated in order to allow for an unrestricted prayer service," Karadi said. "We received an engineer opinion that part of the mount is not safe and there is a danger that the ceiling over Solomon's Stables will cave in. The Wakf has also reached the decision that work needs to be done in the compound in order to prevent people from praying in that area."
Officials said that Sharon arrived at his decision after the Wakf accepted Israel's demands to close off the part of the mount over Solomon's Stables.
Hopefully reason has won out over shame/honor posturing and this will be an end to the matter.
papijoe 12:35 PM|