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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The PLO website has a daily feature highlighting anniversaries of major events in Palestinian history throughout the year.

With very few exceptions, nearly all of the 240 or so events in their timeline occur within the last hundred years. (They include a date for the Crusades in 1099 and a couple for Napoleonic times in 1799, plus the First Zionist Congress in 1897.)

For February 8, it says that in 1976, "Zionist court decides to allow Jews to pray in Haram al Sharif."

What happened in 1976?

From JTA:

...[A] tiny nationalistic group has continued periodically to attempt to pray on the Temple Mount. On May 8, 1975, eight young members of this group, while ostensibly touring the site, began to pray. They were almost through with their praying when an elderly Moslem noticed them and summoned his friends. A crowd of Moslems soon gathered and altercations broke out. The policemen (most of them Arabs) on duty at the police post on the Temple mount were called in to stop the clash. They detained the young Jews, who were subsequently brought to court.

Magistrate Ruth Or, in her verdict issued Jan. 28, held that the instructions given to the policemen–to prevent Jews from praying on the Mount–were illegal, in that the law establishes the basic right of all believers to pray at their holy places. The magistrate criticized the Minister of Religious Affairs for not having established a praying procedure for both Jews and Moslems at the Temple Mount.

The government had introduced such arrangements for the common use of the Machpella Cave in Hebron by Moslems and Jews, the magistrate noted, but had refrained from doing so on the Temple Mount.

The State Attorney has appealed the ruling to District Court–which may well reinstate the Supreme Court ruling of 1970. Meanwhile, the magistrate’s verdict is an ongoing cause of tension in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The police continue to bar would-be Jewish worshippers from the Mount, but Moslem anger will apparently only be assuaged if the magistrate’s decision is overruled.
Apparently this ruling was overturned.

The President of the High Court of Justice, Aharon Barak, in response to the appeal in 1976, wrote:
The basic principle is that every Jew has the right to enter the Temple Mount, to pray there, and to have communion with his maker. This is part of the religious freedom of worship, it is part of the freedom of expression. However, as with every human right, it is not absolute, but a relative right... Indeed, in a case where there is near certainty that injury may be caused to the public interest if a person's rights of religious worship and freedom of expression would be realized, it is possible to limit the rights of the person in order to uphold the public interest.
This is astonishing, because it isn't the worshipers that would cause injury, but the bigots who refuse to allow the basic human right that Barak claimed to care about. It means that Muslim extremists have veto power over Jewish human rights as long as they espouse violence, which is the exact opposite of human rights.

Even though the magistrate court ruling allowing Jewish worship was never enforced and police continued to ban Jewish prayer, Palestinians still mark the day (the wrong day, incidentally) as another example of their being oppressed by Jews.

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