Many will remember the melee that occurred when the Israeli Government attempted to permanently rebuild Mugrabi Gate, the one entrance to the Temple Mount for tourists on the Western Wall. In 2004 part of the ramp collapsed. A temporary structure was erected to repair the ramp and allow access to the Temple Mount. According to the Israel’s MFA a series of meetings were undertaken (details here) before serious steps were made to build a permanent structure. The problem stemmed from the necessary archaeological survey (according to Israeli law) that was undertaken before the structure could be built and fears that damage would be incurred to Al-Aqsa Mosque, which lies in the southern most part of the Temple Mount, as well as other areas considered holy to Muslims (see Leen Ritmeyer’s blog here). Needless to say, amidst the ‘warp and woof’ of politics and protests delays have occurred and prevented a permanent structure from being erected.
On the 19th, B. Netanyahu, canceled a meeting where a decision was to be made concerning a start date for construction. From YNet (Roni Sofer):
“On the backdrop of protests from Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and the Muslim Waqf, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently postponed a decisive discussion aimed at setting a date for beginning the construction of the new Mugrabi Gate on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Ynet has learned.
The official explanation given for the delay was a stormy discussion at the Knesset on Wednesday, in which the Coalition was humiliated. However, security sources have expressed their fear that making such a decision on the eve of the Ramadan fast would set Jerusalem on fire and spark another international row, in addition to the dispute over the construction of a hotel in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah…”
See L. Ritmeyer’s discussion of the Mughrabi Gate (The Mughrabi Gate – What’s in a ramp?), as well as Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (The Mugrabi Gate Access Restoration Project), both from Feb. 12th, 2007. See also: IAA — The Mughrabi Gate Access – the Real Story > The Real Story
Thanks to J. Lauer for the update.