State refuses to set schedule for Ophel construction work

June 21, 2009 09:19


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The State notified the High Court on Sunday that it could not set a time frame for construction work necessary to turn an area immediately outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City into a national park. The statement came in response to a petition filed by the Committee to Prevent the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount against illegal burial of Palestinians in the area. The Committee to Prevent the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount petitioned the High Court in 2004 and 2005 respectively, charging that Muslims were turning part of the Ophel, situated at the southeast corner of the Old City walls, into a cemetery. According to Israel Radio, a representative of the Public Attorney's Office said during the hearing that the area is "like a barrel of gunpowder," and that there is fear that riots would erupt if the law is enforced. The petitioners said that the security argument was baseless, seeing as there were no riots when the government instructed to stop burial at the site in the past. Dan Izenberg contributed to this report.

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