FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 1, 2007
WAQF Officials to Trial; If Convicted Facing Years in Prison
150 ISRAELI CITIZENS FILE LANDMARK CRIMINAL PROSECUTION
OF THE WAQF OVER TEMPLE MOUNT. DESTRUCTION
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 they 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
privet law suit - which is first of its kind in Israeli legal history and
utilizes a seldom applied section of the criminal code. If convicted, the
WAQF officials may 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
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 history in Jerusalem.
Shurat HaDin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner: "This private prosecution in
an unprecedented response to the brutal attempt by the extreme WAQF 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. Such 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
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND COPIES OF THE INDICTMENT:
(Israel) Tel.: 03-751-4175
(US) Tel.: 212-591-0073