A coalition of mainstream U.S. churches urged senior U.S. officials to intervene in Israeli construction near the Temple Mount. “Churches for Middle East Peace urgently appeals to you and Secretary Rice to convince the government of Israel to halt excavations near the Temple Mount/Harem al-Sharif,” said the letter sent last Friday by the group to David Welch, the top U.S. Middle East peace negotiator and an assistant to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. “Unless Israel quickly stops the excavation work, and the planned construction, we fear that violent protests will break out in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and far beyond.” Israel says the work on a staircase will not harm the integrity of the site, which is holy to Muslims and Jews. The construction sparked rioting last Friday, but it was quelled mostly peacefully by Israeli troops. CMEP is an alliance of mainstream Protestant, Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.
U.S. church alliance: Stop construction