The Israelis want to rebuilt a foot bridge called the Mugrabi bridge. The original bridge collapsed in 2004, so the Israelis built a temporary bridge which now is unsafe.
Both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are claiming that replacing the bridge is an attack on the al-Aksa mosque and will spark a religious war (as if there isn’t one already):
Hamas warned Monday that the Israeli closure of the Mugrabi Bridge is tantamount to a “declaration of war” on Muslim holy sites. “This is a serious step that shows the Zionist scheme of aggression against the al-Aqsa mosque,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum in an interview with AFP. “This is a violent act that amounts to a declaration of religious war on the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.”
Israeli officials closed the Mugrabi Bridge on Sunday for safety reasons, three days before the municipality deadline to close the ramp leading from the Western Wall plaza to the Temple Mount.
Barhum’s comments followed remarks made by chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat last week, when he said that the Israeli move “shows their determination to judaize Jerusalem and to take over the city’s Muslim holy places.” …
The bridge has been the subject of contention because it is the only entrance for non-Muslims who want to visit the Dome of the Rock. The original earthen ramp collapsed during a snowstorm in 2004, and the temporary bridge was built in its stead, meant to serve for a few months at most until a permanent bridge was built. Repair work on the bridge in 2007 touched off widespread Muslim rioting in Jordan and Jerusalem and calls for a third intifada.
Most people agree that the bridge is indeed dangerous to use, and that closing it is not a political move.
More fallout from Newt Gingrich’s insensitive comments, right?