Violence feared over repairs at Jerusalem shrine
Any work in the area around the Old City compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary draws fierce condemnation and sometimes violence from Palestinians, many of whom suspect wants to harm Muslim shrines. An official with the Muslim clerical body that runs the complex warned that protests were liable to break out this time, too.
The municipality says the wooden walkway leading to one of the hilltop site's gates — built as a temporary structure after a centuries-old ramp was damaged in a 2004 snowstorm — is a fire hazard and structurally unsound and must be replaced.
In a letter released Thursday, informed authorities of his plan to block access to the walkway to all but security forces. The shutdown could take place immediately after a one-week public comment period.
halted a plan to demolish the walkway last month, fearing a regional backlash at a time when pre-election violence was roiling Egypt. A spokesman for Netanyahu was not immediately available Thursday for comment on the Jerusalem municipality's latest move.
The walkway is not the only access to the contested complex, which Israel captured from Jordan along with the rest of east Jerusalem and the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war. But the compound's centrality to both Islam and Judaism makes it one of the most combustible sites in the world. Clashes there in the past have ignited broader violence.
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