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Knesset Members Protest Permit Given to Temple Mount Faithful

The Knesset Interior Committee demanded Wednesday that the police rescind a permit allowing the Temple Mount Faithful group to tour the Moslem Quarter of the Old City and the Temple Mount next week.

Committee members criticized the police action as blatant provocation and said they would appeal to the High Court of Justice for an injunction barring the group’s tour.

The Temple Mount Faithful is a group of Jewish zealots who advocate the removal of Islamic shrines from the Temple Mount and the erection of a new temple on the site to replace the Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E.

Police Minister Ronni Milo and Police Commissioner Ya’acov Terner agreed to allow the group to march through the Moslem Quarter and enter the Temple Mount in pairs on Monday.

Their presence at the site on past occasions has triggered violent confrontations with Moslem worshipers.

Labor Knesset member Edna Solodar pointed out that the country is still suffering from the effects of the Oct. 8 Temple Mount riots, for which the Temple Mount Faithful are held indirectly responsible.

The rioting occurred during the Sukkot holiday. Arabs on the Temple Mount stoned Jews worshiping at the Western Wall below, after rumors circulated that members of the Temple Mount Faithful were on their way to demonstrate.

Israeli border police subsequently killed 17 Arabs and wounded scores more in an incident that tarnished Israel’s image around the world.

The Knesset panel adopted a resolution banning demonstrative behavior on the Temple Mount and decided to ask Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to convene the Cabinet committee on Jerusalem to consider the matter once Shamir returns from the United States.

Knesset members Yossi Sarid of the Citizens Rights Movement and Yair Tsaban of Mapam met with Police Minister Milo later Wednesday to demand that he withdraw the permit.

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