Israel Bans Academic Program Promoting Demolition of ‘Dome of the Rock’ Mosque

A general view shows part of Jerusalem's Old City and the Dome of the Rock December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
A general view shows part of Jerusalem's Old City and the Dome of the Rock December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
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Israel Bans Academic Program Promoting Demolition of ‘Dome of the Rock’ Mosque

A general view shows part of Jerusalem's Old City and the Dome of the Rock December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
A general view shows part of Jerusalem's Old City and the Dome of the Rock December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

The Israeli Education Ministry decided to remove the “Student for the Temple Mount” group from the academic program in Jewish schools.

The group include activists who support the establishment of the "Third Temple" (the Jewish Temple) on the ruins of Omar Mosque (Dome of the Rock in Al Aqsa Mosque)

The decision followed leaked information that the group is setting up a topic called "Knowing the Importance of the Temple Mount," which speaks of the Aqsa as the Temple Mount

The topic points out that the Dome of the Rock Mosque replaced the Jewish temple and must be rebuilt in its original place, which means an explicit call to demolish the mosque.

According to Israel’s Channel 10 TV report, the program is made by the far right-wing movement "Im Tirtzu.”

The report said that this movement is broadcasting to school students the controversial agenda of the Temple Mount and its activists.

The group is linked to the banned Kahane gang, which calls for the expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from their homeland and the cleansing of Israel of non-Jews.

Many organizations were established from this group, and they have carried out practical activities to spread despair among Palestinians to leave and carried out terror operations, during which Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem were burnt.

They also published maps of the Temple Mount, removing the Dome of the Rock’s picture from them and replacing it with the Jewish Temple.

In addition to that, a cannon was also seized on the roof of a house in Jerusalem, and its nozzle was pointed towards the Aqsa Mosque.

This group was banned from the Israeli law because of the seriousness of its racist rhetoric, but its activists knew how to continue their activity and promote their ideas in other contexts.



Gaza Ceasefire Deal in 'Closing Stages', Says US Official

Smoke billows over Rafah in the south of Gaza after an Israeli bombardment during its war against Palestinian militant group Hamas © SAID KHATIB / AFP
Smoke billows over Rafah in the south of Gaza after an Israeli bombardment during its war against Palestinian militant group Hamas © SAID KHATIB / AFP
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Gaza Ceasefire Deal in 'Closing Stages', Says US Official

Smoke billows over Rafah in the south of Gaza after an Israeli bombardment during its war against Palestinian militant group Hamas © SAID KHATIB / AFP
Smoke billows over Rafah in the south of Gaza after an Israeli bombardment during its war against Palestinian militant group Hamas © SAID KHATIB / AFP

Negotiations for a Gaza ceasefire and hostage release deal are in their "closing stages," a US official said Wednesday, ahead of talks between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Biden will try to close some "final gaps" in his talks with Netanyahu at the White House on Thursday but key elements including the fate of the hostages remain in Hamas's court, the senior administration official said, AFP reported.

"We believe it's in the closing stages and a deal is closeable," the US official said on condition of anonymity in a call previewing Netanyahu's visit.

There would be a "lot of activity in the coming week" towards reaching a long-sought deal, said the official, adding that an agreement was "not only possible, it's essential and necessary."

The US official played down a fiery speech to Congress by Netanyahu on Wednesday in which he pledged "total victory," saying that the talks with Biden would be more focused on the mechanics of a deal.

A possible truce now hinges on a handful of issues about how a deal would come into effect, with Hamas having eased its demand for a full Israeli pull-out, the official said.

"I don't expect the meeting (with Netanyahu) to be a yes or no, it's a kind of like 'how do we close these final gaps?' And there are some things we need from the Israeli side, no question," the official said.

"But there's also some key things that are only in the hands of Hamas because the hostages are in the hands of Hamas."