The Mugrabi Bridge is the ugly, rickety, construction of wooden slats hinged to a scaffold frame that allows people to gain access to the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was built as a temporary structure following the collapse of the original embankment on February 14 in the winter of 2004 due to rainstorms, snow, and a minor earthquake.
When the temporary structure was being erected, following Islamic threats against any Israel construction that would touch the area of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, UNESCO visited Jerusalem in 2007 to inspect the excavations and preparations being done by Israel to erect a replacement bridge to the Temple Mount. Their report absolved Israel of any wrongdoing.
In February 2007, UNESCO dispatched a delegation to inspect the excavations at the Mughrabi Ascent and, on 12 March 2007, the delegation's report was published. The report determined that "no work is being conducted inside the Haram al-Sharif [Temple Mount], nor is there anything in the nature of the works being performed at this stage that could constitute a threat to the stability of the Western Wall and the Al-Aqsa Mosque."
UNESCO further determined that "the work area ends at a distance of approximately 10 meters from the Western Wall." Delegation members also noted that the work is performed with light equipment, picks and shovels, and it is supervised and documented according to professional standards." "The Jerusalem Municipality," notes the delegation, "is responsible for planning and construction in the Old City, as well as for the infrastructure and its maintenance including the planning and construction of the new ascent.”
Construction of the temporary bridge that allowed access to the Temple Mount led to widespread Muslim rioting in Jordan and Jerusalem with calls for a third intifada.
The temporary walkway has been coming under increasing stress causing the walkway to be in
dangerous condition and a high risk to people using it as well as those in the immediate area in
case of collapse of this unsafe structure.
On 22 May 2011, Jerusalem Municipal Engineer Shlomo Eshkol sent a written warning to the
Western Wall Heritage Foundation demanding, by virtue of his legal authority, that the temporary bridge be dismantled quickly and the permanent bridge be built as soon as possible.
"The temporary bridge," Eshkol wrote, "is not intended to provide a permanent solution and is unsuitable to security and civilian needs. It might prove a danger due to its deficient physical state, and action should be taken to stop using it and to destroy it.”
He recommended replacing it with a permanent structure to allow access to the Temple Mount, known to the Muslims as Harem al Sharif. Eshkol's opinion was shared by security bodies who warned of a possible disaster.
The scenarios sketched by the security forces described an incident where hundreds of policemen ascend to the Temple Mount simultaneously, in response to a security incident or a public disturbance that regularly occur there and, as a result, the wooden bridge (currently supported by iron scaffolding) falls down and collapses into the women's prayer area at the Western Wall. The potential result of such a scenario could be scores of fatalities among the policemen and the praying women.
A similar scenario described the collapse of the bridge while large groups of tourists stand or walk on it. It has been described as unsafe and a fire hazard. As many as ten million people a year visit the area.
Safety, it seems, does not figure in the protests started by Palestinian Arab leaders. Instead, they intend to make the dismantling of this dangerous structure into a worldwide religious conflict by Muslim against Jew.
Palestinian Authority spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, said the decision to close the bridge was designed to scuttle international efforts to revive the peace process.
“This is a violent act that amounts to a declaration of religious war on the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem,” screamed Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhum.
These are just two of the growing anti-Israel, even anti-Semitic, condemnation. Muslim rioting and violence against Jewish targets is waiting in the wings. Like most of the expletives emanating from Ramallah and Gaza it is full of sound and fury signifying nothing more than blind hatred over reason and rationality.
They would have us believe that it is, as one Palestinian Arab said, “a Zionist scheme of aggression against the Al-Aqsa Mosque.” In other words, it’s the Jews declaring war against the Muslims.
Like all their false and hysterical statements you only have to scratch a little below the surface to uncover the truth.
The Mugrabi Bridge does not give entry to Islamic holy places to Muslims. It is strictly an entry point to the Temple Mount for non Muslims. It enables tourists and Jews to visit the famous site. Muslims have a variety of access points that allow them entry to their religious shrines. So, no Muslim is prevented from gaining admittance to their important mosques by the closing of this temporary bridge.
The Palestinians are making noise against Israel not to touch the shaky bridge to win religious and political points. They are also aware that, if there will be a terrible accident when the walkway collapses, no Muslims will be hurt, only Jews and Christians, and Israel will bear the brunt of the blame for not taking measures to ensure the safety of the bridge users. For them, this would be a win-win situation, even if people died or were seriously injured.
There is no Jewish war against Islam. There is, as there has always been, a genuine Israeli desire to construct a permanent entrance not only to Muslims, but to Jews, Christians, and others, who wish to visit and pay their respects to an area that is important to all three of the world’s major faiths.
Israel has been prevented from contributing a positive solution to this problem that will not infringe on Muslim or Jewish sensitivities by the Islamic world that, as usual, turn any event into a negative and destructive dialogue against the Jewish state.