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Israeli PM orders removal of Temple Mount bridge amid pressure

English.news.cn   2014-09-04 01:51:07

JERUSALEM, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister ordered authorities to dismantle a temporary wooden bridge leading to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, amid pressure from Jordan, the Ha'aretz daily reported Wednesday.

The temporary pedestrian bridge connecting the Western Wall compound and Temple Mount was built without proper authorization, an Israeli official told the daily.

Jordan and other Muslim countries and groups said Israel was breaking the status quo with the construction of the bridge and Jordan even threatened to respond with diplomatic measures, conveying the message to Israeli officials through several channels of communication.

As a result of the pressure, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed to tear down the footbridge on Wednesday, two weeks after its construction began. It is the second bridge built in the site, ten years after another one. According to the official, it was an initiative carried out by local municipality officials who did not notify Israel's top echelon despite the sensitivity of the matter.

In 2004, after an access ramp in Temple Mount collapsed due to bad weather and a minor earthquake, Israel started building a temporary access ramp leading to the mosques through the Mugrabi Gate, the only gate through which non-Muslims can enter the site.

Israeli officials shelved a plan to replace the temporary wooden bridge with a permanent one. Two weeks ago, however, the Israeli Antiquities Authority started building a second wooden bridge underneath the existing one, as an archeological excavation is taking place at the site.

Local municipality officials did not inform the government over the move, which attracted criticism from Muslim and Arab leaders and countries, accusing Israel of disturbing the sensitive status quo in the place. The Prime Minister then summoned the local officials for clarifications, according to the daily.

Temple Mount is sacred to both Jews and Muslims, and run by the Muslim trust, the Waqf. The Western Wall, believed by Jewish worshippers to be part of the ancient temple, is located at the foot of the western side of Temple Mount. They believe other parts of the old temple are located within Temple Mount.

Editor: yan
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