DE RUEHJM #1306 2111414
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301414Z JUL 09
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5587
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC PRIORITY C O N F I D E N T I A L JERUSALEM 001306
NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE AND IPA. NSC FOR SHAPIRO/KUMAR
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/22/2024
SUBJECT: ALL QUIET AT THE HARAM AL-SHARIF/TEMPLE MOUNT,
DESPITE JEWISH WORSHIP AND MUSLIM CALLS TO ACTION
REF: JERUSALEM 1220
Classified By: Consul General Jake Walles, per reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. (C) Summary. There were no violent confrontations on the
Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount July 30, in spite of attempts by
religious Jews to worship at the site and Palestinian
activists' efforts to prevent them. Hundreds of Jews visited
the compound under police protection July 29 and 30, during
the Jewish holiday of Tisha b'Av. Waqf officials warned that
the increase of Jewish worshippers to the site would lead to
conflict in the future if the GoI does not respect Muslim
administration of the compound. End Summary.
HUNDREDS OF JEWS WORSHIP AT
THE HARAM AL-SHARIF/TEMPLE MOUNT
2. (SBU) Press and local contacts reported that more than
200 Jewish worshippers entered the Haram al-Sharif/Temple
Mount compound with police protection the evening of July 29
and performed Jewish rituals as part of the Tisha b'Av
holiday commemorating the destruction of the first and second
Jewish temples. (Note: This visit occurred outside normal
visiting hours. The compound is usually opened to non-Muslim
for two hours in the morning and one hour in the early
afternoon, to avoid visits to the site during Muslim prayers.
End note.) At least 91 Jewish worshippers entered the
compound during visiting hours the morning of July 30, but
non-Muslim visiting hours in the afternoon were canceled.
PolOffs observed that Israeli police, who are regularly
stationed at the entrances to the compound, were enforcing
non-Muslim visiting rules on July 30, and additional police
were stationed around the Old City.
PALESTINIAN AND MUSLIM OFFICIALS
CALL ON ISRAEL TO ACT RESPONSIBLY
3. (C) Hatem Abd al-Qadir, the former PA Minister for
Jerusalem Affairs, called on Palestinians to congregate at
the Haram al-Sharif July 30 to prevent Jewish "extremists"
from entering al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Abd
al-Qadir said publicly that the Israeli authorities would be
held responsible for any disturbances, if they allowed Jewish
worshippers to enter this Muslim holy site. He told PolSpec
that prominent Palestinians -- including the Grand Mufti, the
PA Governor of the Jerusalem Governorate, and officials from
the Jordanian-administered Waqf -- attended the July 30 rally.
4. (C) Azzam al-Khatib, head of the Waqf, and Yusuf
al-Natshah, Waqf Director of Archeology and Tourism, told
PolOff July 30 that they did not expect Jewish visitors to
spark violent confrontations at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple
Mount. The Waqf refused to coordinate visits of Jewish
worshippers to the area, al-Natshah said, because non-Muslim
worship on the compound is "provocative," and is
incrementally eroding the "status quo" Muslim authority over
the site. Al-Khatib downplayed the presence of Palestinian
activists at the site, saying the Waqf is working to keep the
situation under control. Al-Khatib and al-Natshah said the
growing trend of religious Jews to worship on the compound
could lead to violent confrontations in the future.
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