A Letter to the Prime Minister

from Tuvia Sagiv

October 11, 1996

Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu
The Prime minister of The State of Israel

The Temple Mount - Solomon's Stables

As an Architect I have been carrying research over the last seven years on The Temple Mount and the whereabouts of its location.

Results of this research show that The Jewish Temple and it's courts are situated at the lower level of the Moriah Court (The Temple Mount). The Jewish Temple is located between The Al-Aksa mosque and the Golden Dome, close to Solomon's stables.

These results have operative consequences concerning the Israel-Arab conflict and its possible solution. Al Aksa, The Golden Dome, and the buildings in the upper part of The Moriah Court will be given over to Muslim hands, and the ruins of The Jewish Temple and Solomon's stables that are located in the lower part of the court will be given over to Jewish hands.

If Solomon's stables were to be given over to Arab authority this would disrupt the option to divide this area vertically between the Jews and the Arabs. This would of course create the worst to be expected, a situation of "them or us."

Any arrangement concerning the lower parts of the Moriah Court, demands a thorough archeological analysis, which may help in any decision making concerning this issue.

I would like to point out that there is no need to carry out digs in this area. In the area of the Moriah Court there exist more that 30 cisterns which can be physically entered enabling research of the area without interfering with the upper level.

I ask of you to plan sufficient archeological research in this area. This should be carried out with cooperation with the religious authorities of both sides involved before, and as a condition to any change made concerning Solomon's stables.

Yours sincerely,

Tuvia Sagiv
Tel Aviv


Jerusalem Post Article, Friday, October 11, 1996

Solomon's Stables open to Moslem worshipers today


JERUSALEM (October 11) -- Moslem worshipers will be permitted to pray in the newly renovated Solomon's Stables next to Al-Aksa Mosque today, after the Jerusalem Municipality appeared to give its final approval yesterday.

Police also downplayed the controversy that occurred this week when the Wakf announced its plans to open the four dunams of vaulted, underground chambers, on which the city had threatened to stop work during the summer.

The restoration work on the site, known to Moslems as the Marawani prayer area, received the Jerusalem Municipality's approval yesterday during a visit by several senior city officials, apparently making the city's flip-flop on the matter final, municipal sources said.

After the visit, a senior city official said, "The order we took out in August to stop work is no longer relevant. The Wakf has complied with all of our demands and only carried out work for which no special permit was needed. I don't see any reason, at least from our point of view, that Solomon's Stables can't be opened."

The municipality will present a statement declaring the work stoppage order irrelevant to the High Court next week, when it hears theTemple Mount Faithful's petition against opening the site, sources said.

Municipal legal adviser Assa Eliav and chief building inspector David Biton were among the municipal officials who toured Solomon's Stables yesterday morning.

The municipality was cautious in its reaction to the planned opening. In a statement, the city spokesman said the municipality is coordinating its dealings on the matter with the government and security establishment, "in light of the special sensitivity which the site has."

Wakf and security officials have sharply criticized the municipality for taking out the stop-work order in the first place, saying it only heightened Israeli-Palestinian tensions and that there were quieter ways to deal with the construction violations.

"The municipality gave the false impression that the Wakf was building a new mosque on the Temple Mount, when that was not the case at all," a security source said.

Senior police officers also visited Solomon's Stables yesterday, and reaffirmed the police wouldn't stand in the way of its opening.

"From our point of view, they can open up next week, or even in another month," said one senior officer. Police sources rejected reports that the opening might result in security problems, from either Moslem or Jewish extremists.

Wakf Director Adnan Husseini said the renovations are complete, but it would take several more days for the clean-up to be finished, and only then would the site be officially opened. In the meantime, however, some Moslem worshipers will be allowed inside, starting today.

"People are very excited and happy that we have finally finished the work, and I am sure some of them will try to pray there tomorrow,"

Husseini said. "We understand their excitement, and won't stop them. There are carpets ready for people to put on the ground.

"We aren't planning any celebrations," he added. "For us, Marawani is not a new mosque, but an area that we have used in the past that was closed for several months for renovations and is now being reopened."

Moslems consider Marawani, which can hold about 10,000 worshipers, an extension of Al-Aksa Mosque. The Wakf wanted it repaired and opened to provide cover for worshipers during holidays, when large crowds converge on Al-Aksa.

Wakf officials said Marawani would be opened to tourists during non-prayer times, as are other areas of the Temple Mount.

From the Israeli Consulate, New York:



Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed Israeli authorities not to block the opening of a mosque at Solomon's Stables, an area underneath the Temple Mount, HA'ARETZ reported. The decision reportedly took into consideration security assessments which determined that any attempts to reverse construction work at the site would spark a new round of rioting.

The High Court of Justice was informed by the City of Jerusalem that the municipality would submit a request to a local court to remove an order blocking construction at the site. The order, which outlawed any type of activity at the site, was issued on Sept. 3.

At the conclusion of a tour of the Temple Mount by two senior municipal officials, an official announcement was issued stating that the construction at Solomon's Stables is not in violation of the law.

The police are prepared for the possibility that right-wing extremists will attempt to hinder the opening of a new mosque that will open Sunday in Solomon's Stables, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, reported.The police believe that some extremists will attempt to enter the Temple Mount by force.

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