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Thursday, November 4, 2010
Israeli High Court Blocks Shurat HaDin Prosecution of Islamic Waqf

Israeli High Court Blocks Shurat HaDin's Prosecution of Islamic Waqf
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Esq. Thursday, November 04, 2010

Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center
10 Hata'as St., Ramat Gan 52512 Israel
Tel: 972-3-7514175
Fax: 972-3-7514174
nleitner@zahav.net.il
www.israellawcenter.org

Israel's High Court of Justice has handed down a decision which blocks a
first-of-its-kind private prosecution brought by Shurat HaDin against the
Islamic Waqf ("Trust") in Jerusalem.

The Waqf is the radical anti-Israel authority which the government allows to
oversee Muslim holy places including the mosques on Jerusalem's Temple
Mount. Following months of reports that the Waqf was utilizing bulldozers on
the Temple Mount to carry out unauthorized construction that was
obliterating ancient Jewish artifacts and the refusal of the Israeli police
to act to safeguard these relics, we decided to go to Court against the
Muslims.

On October 11, 2007, we filed a private criminal action against the Islamic
Waqf on behalf of more than 150 Israeli citizens, indicting the Waqf members
for the illegal bulldozing and destruction of Jewish artifacts. Many of
these relics being destroyed date back to the First Temple Period! We
accused the Islamic Waqf of seeking to eradicate all evidence of Israel's
ancient connection to this holy site and trying to rewrite Jerusalem's
history. We argued that it is nothing less than a religious, cultural and
archaeological crime against the entire world Jewish community. We were
seeking to imprison the Waqf's leaders.

We turned to the High Court (BAGATZ) after the Attorney General (AG) moved
in May 2008, to have our indictment dismissed. At that time we were
notified by the AG, that his office was attempting to halt our private
prosecution on the grounds that an issue with such broad public implications
and interest cannot be prosecuted by private citizens. In essence, the AG
refused, out of fear of the international response, to prosecute these
Islamic extremists and he moved to obstruct Shurat HaDin from undertaking
the litigation ourselves.

In response, Shurat HaDin argued that the AG's motives in this case were not
of a pure legal nature and, thus, his office should step aside completely
and not involve itself in the proceedings. We demanded that the AG be
compelled by the High Court to either prosecute the case himself or allow us
to continue with our legal action independently as provided for by the law.

At the oral arguments before the High Court in February 2009, we argued that
the AG has a political agenda and was voicing his political considerations,
rather than purely legal ones as he was mandated to do. We insisted that the
AG is simply too afraid of the Arab states, the European Union, the UN and
US State Department to legally defend Jerusalem. Just to note the absurdity
of the BAGATZ deliberations, at one point one of the justices urged that we
withdraw the petition because status of "the Temple Mount is very
emotionally charged." We replied we know, and that is why we brought the
indictment and the petition in the first place - it is Judaism's holiest
site.

This week the BAGATZ rejected our petition and gave the Islamic Waqf a free
pass to continue its destruction of Israel's sacred heritage sites. The
justices held that our efforts to safeguard the ancient First Temple
artifacts on behalf of world Jewry could not be done by means of a private
prosecution. Alternatively, it refused to order the AG to take action
against the Waqf.

It is absurd that while the Israeli government is mounting an international
campaign against UNESCO to protest its labeling Rachel's Tomb and the Cave
of the Macpelah in Hebron as Muslim mosques and denying their Jewish
origins, it obstructs Shurat HaDin from acting to safeguard the status of
the Jewish people's holiest site.

There is Still Time to Join us on the November 8th Ultimate Mission:
http://www.israellawcenter.org/Missions-general-information.html

And watch our MUST SEE Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZNt8u8lFZY

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