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 Temple Activists Call for Flag Raising on Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif + Mounting Pressures in Sheikh Jarrah

1) Temple Mount activists call for Raising of the Israeli Flag on Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif

Temple Mount activists and the LIBA project, headed by Yehuda Glick, have been actively disseminating a flyer to promote the raising of the Israeli flag on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif. The flag raising is scheduled to take place this Thursday, February 6th, 7:30 AM, at the Mughrabi Gate.

The flyer references several events in recent weeks—initiated by Temple Mount activists—to harness momentum for Thursday’s call. In one occurrence, Jews attempting to enter the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif with an Israeli flag were stopped and delayed at the Mughrabi Gate for investigation. Event organizers are encouraging protest against the “invasive and humiliating” treatment received by those attempting to smuggle the flag onto the Mount under their clothing and the prohibition against raising national and religious flags of any type on the Mount.

In recent weeks, Temple Mount activists have intensified their rhetoric. Such rabbis as Yisrael Ariel have called for Jews to enter the compound, citing Jewish religious laws that legitimize "conquering of the land".

For more background, please link here for Ir Amim’s and Keshev’s comprehensive report on the growing rise of temple movements—organizations and groups committed to challenging existing arrangements on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif. The steady advance of these movements—and the permeation of their values into the public discourse—represents one of the most volatile issues in the Middle East conflict today. The report presents key findings and analysis, focusing on the dynamics of the growth of the Temple movements, their increasing acceptance in the political center in Israel and the nature and depth of ties between Temple groups and the Israeli establishment.

2) Mounting Pressures in Sheikh Jarrah

On January 28, Jerusalem city councilman Arieh King presented a 14-day notice, on behalf of the Shabali Company, to Omega College in the Kubanieh Um Haron section of Sheikh Jarrah. The notice threatens legal action if the college does not evacuate the premises within the stated period and demands financial compensation for each day the property remains inhabited. The notice claims that the college is sited on land belonging to the company, purchased from pre-1948 Jewish owners.

Omega College is located on the western edge of Sheikh Jarrah, within blocks of the proposed site of the Glassman Campus. The Glassman project, which calls for a new 13-story building (6 underground) housing a yeshiva and dormitories, would be situated at the entrance to Sheikh Jarrah on a currently vacant lot owned by Jewish Canadian Max Glassman. Creation of a residential compound housing dozens of young religious men would naturally aggravate tensions in Sheikh Jarrah while strengthening settlers’ hold on this Palestinian community. Discussion on the project at the January 1st Local Planning and Building Committee was cancelled and thus far has not been rescheduled.

Threats against Omega College and the proposed Glassman Campus  signify mounting settler pressure in the neighborhood and represent King’s use of political office to further the settler agenda. City Council member King is now head of the Department of Environmental Issues and has also become the director of the East Jerusalem Development Company, a municipal entity that manages projects in the Old City and surroundings. Prior to his recent victory in the municipal elections, King was best known for his role as director and founder of the Israel Land Fund (ILF); according to its website, committed to “realiz[ing] the desire of Diaspora Jews to take a more active role in redeeming the land of Israel, especially in Jerusalem.”

It is worth noting that the current location under attack is located close to the home of Shamasneh family, who lost their appeal against an eviction order from the General Custodian in late August 2013. Although the Shamasneh case was officially handled by the General Custodian (responsible for overseeing the disposition of property determined to be under Jewish ownership prior to 1948), the driving force in that case was Arieh King.

Please adddress all inquiries to:

Betty Herschman
Director of International Relations & Advocacy
Ir Amim


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