Jonny Hadi
The Jerusalem Post
July 23, 2009 - 12:00am

Hundreds of right-wing activists are intending to attempt to march up to the Temple Mount next Thursday morning, Tisha Be'Av, in protest of the US demand to cease construction in east Jerusalem.

March organizer Gershon Salomon told the Jerusalem Post that as opposed to previous years when only a few dozen participants at most tried to go up to the mount, this year he was hoping for hundreds to protest the "US pressure to stop settlement activity, and east Jerusalem construction in particular, and also the apparent weakness of our leaders," which he said he feared would lead to a "division of Jerusalem and the loss of the Temple Mount."

"We're concerned that in the end, the Temple Mount will be part of a Palestinian state, with US backing," he told the Post. "We will say to [US President Barack] Obama, 'Get your hands off Jerusalem and the land of Israel!"

He said flyers about the protest contained the message that "we'll let Barack Hussein Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu know that we're not moving from here," as well as the words: "Go to the Bible to find out to whom this land belongs!"

Salomon expressed hope that unlike previous years, this time the security forces would allow the group to ascend the mount.

"What a tragedy that police have made it off limits to Jews," he lamented, "There is no [Israeli] flag, no talit, no siddur - and our requests to hold a reading of the Scroll of Lamentations there on Tisha Be'av were turned down."

He said that the site had effectively been taken over by the Wakf.

Salomon said that the demonstration was set to begin at the gates of the Temple Mount at 11:30 on that morinng of Tisha Be'Av (Thursday), while the attempted ascent would begin at approximately 1:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon added to the pressure on Israel to freeze east Jerusalem construction.

"I urge the government of Israel to commit fully to its obligations, including to freeze settlement activity and natural growth," said Ban in a message to a United Nations meeting in Geneva on the Middle East. "If Israel continues settlement activity, it will not only be acting contrary to international law but also to a strong international consensus."

He said if Israel did freeze settlement activity, it would "facilitate a new environment of cooperation and common purpose from the countries in the region."


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