Har Habayis Footbridge Ordered Dismantled at Jordan’s Behest

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered the dismantling of a foot bridge under construction from the Kosel Plaza to Har Habayis, thus averting a diplomatic crisis with Jordan.

The decision came in response to heavy pressure from the Jordanian government.

A government official said that when the Jordanians registered a very strong objection to the structure, Netanyahu told them he would look into the matter, and they promised not to go public on it until he had done so.

The official said that it was found that the new footbridge to the Mughrabi Gate was a local, private initiative taken “without any coordination with the Prime Minister’s Office or permission.”

The existing bridge itself, a “temporary” replacement for a stone ramp that was damaged in an earthquake and subsequent snow storm in 2003, is the main entry point for non-Muslim tourists and for security forces entering Har Habayis.

Those reponsible for the footbridge said that it was constructed for safety reasons, and that continued use of the old ramp poses a danger to the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the site from all over the world.

The 1994 peace treaty with Jordan granted the Hashemite kingdom a special status as protector of the city’s Muslim holy sites.