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Trouble in the Old City

March 15, 2010

Today, the Israelis re-opened and rededicated the Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish quarter of the Old City, Jerusalem amid high tensions. The West Bank closure by the Israeli military has been extended until at least tomorrow (Tues) because they are trying to keep Palestinians out of the Old City and out of Al Aqsa Mosque while these Jewish ceremonies are going on.

Yesterday, after night prayers, Muslims were expelled from Al Aqsa and their ID cards confiscated. They are supposed to go to the Al Qashla investigation center and the Russian compound center to get them back.

Now, Palestinian men under 50 are not allowed into Al Aqsa, and the IDF has set up checkpoints all over the Old City and at the gates denying entry to most Palestinian men under 50. Fateh has called for as many Muslims as possible to go to the mosque to protect it, as there are rumors that the Israelis will try to lay the cornerstone for the New Temple on the Al Aqsa compound.

Many Palestinians are also worried that the consistent tunneling by Israeli “archaelogists” under the mosque may eventually cause it to collapse–both the construction of the New Temple and the collapse of the Al Aqsa mosque would be important signs to people of the Abrahamic faiths about the end of times. So this is causing a lot of controversy and tension.

Thousands of Jewish worshippers were planning to march around the old temple (where Al Aqsa mosque is now…) to celebrate the opening of the Hurva Synagogue but the Israeli police have cancelled it amid fears of riots by the Palestinians.

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