150 Israeli Citizens File Landmark Criminal Prosecution of the WAQF Over Temple Mount Destruction

Nov 01, 2007, 01:00 ET from Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center

    JERUSALEM, Nov. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of 150 Israeli citizens,
 which represent a broad cross section of the Israeli public, have initiated
 an unprecedented criminal prosecution of WAQF (Islamic trust) leaders in
 Jerusalem -- alleging that Islamic officials have engaged in the deliberate
 destruction of ancient Jewish relics on the Temple Mount. The indictment
 was filed in the Jerusalem District Court today by means of a private law
 suit. The private indictment is first of its kind in Israeli legal history
 and utilizes a seldom applied section of the criminal code. If convicted,
 the WAQF officials face years in prison.
     The legal action, which is led by Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center,
 accuses members of the Islamic Trust ("the WAQF") of the intentional
 demolishing of priceless Jewish artifacts, including the remains of the
 Second Temple.
     In recent months the WAQF has brought in bulldozers and heavy digging
 equipment to carry out "renovations". Israeli archaeologists who have
 sifted through the discarded earth were shocked to have discovered a great
 number of Jewish artifacts brutally trashed by the bulldozers. A wall from
 the outer courtyard of the Second Temple is believed to have been
 completely pulverized.
     The court papers contend that the recent accelerated destruction is
 part of a four decade long campaign by the WAQF to eradicate all evidence
 of the historical Jewish connection and claim to the Temple Mount.
     After liberating the Old City in 1967, Israel permitted the WAQF to
 remain as "custodians" of the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site.
     Shurat HaDin alleges that the Israeli government, in its political
 cowardice, has consistently refused to undertake any concrete actions to
 stop the criminal activities of the WAQF -- thus abandoning the millenniums
 long Jewish claim over the Temple Mount and allowing Islamic extremists to
 re-write Jerusalem's history.
     Shurat HaDin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner: "This private
 prosecution in an unprecedented response to the brutal attempt by the WAQF
 extremist to eradicate any Jewish claim over the Temple Mount. The WAQF
 leaders belong in prison and since Israel's government is refusing to
 protect Jewish heritage and property, we will prosecute the WAQF ourselves.
 This legal action is a moral obligation, not only for the Jewish people,
 but also for the Christian community, which has significant interests in
 safeguarding the Temple Mount as well."
     Contacts: info@ israellawcenter.org
     (Israel) Tel.: 03-751-4175
     (US) Tel.: 212-591-0073

SOURCE Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center