Build new ramp to Temple Mount, Jerusalem council orders


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Jerusalem City Council has ordered the demolition of an access ramp to the Temple Mount, calling it "a danger," and ordered a new ramp to be built within a month.

The covered ramp, which leads from the Western Wall Plaza to the Mughrabi Gate of the Al-Aksa Mosque compound, was installed in 2004 as a temporary measure after the original ramp was damaged by weather and a small earthquake.

The City Council sent a letter Tuesday to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation giving it 30 days to "dismantle the temporary access ramp to the Temple Mount and build it using non-flammable materials." The council was acting on the advice of the city engineer.

The current ramp is made of wooden planks held by metal scaffolding.

The Muslim Wakf, which is in charge of Islamic religious sites, claims that the Mughrabi Bridge belongs to Muslims and that Israel has no right to embark on construction in the area.

Israel tried to renovate the bridge four years ago, which sparked protests throughout the Muslim world and calls for a third intifada against Israel. Muslim leaders claimed the construction would harm Islamic holy sites — a charge that UNESCO investigated and denied.

Non-Muslims are permitted to enter the site only through the Mughrabi Gate.

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