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Jerusalem court extends restraining order barring Salah from Old City

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The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Thursday extended the restraining order barring Sheikh Ra’ad Salah, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, from entering the Old City of Jerusalem, at the state’s request.

Salah has been the leading critic against the repair work on the earthen ramp leading to the Temple Mount.

Soon after protests broke out at the site last week, police issued a 10-day restraining order preventing Salah from entering the Old City. Police also charged him with attacking police officers during a demonstration.

At a hearing on Wednesday, the police submitted footage from Channel 2 News allegedly showing Salah spitting at police officers. The state said the officers involved testified that Salah had spit at them. Salah is heard calling the police officers “murderers,” “occupiers” and “cowards.” Another photograph, from a security camera above Dung Gate, shows Salah directing demonstrators last week.

Salah appeared at the hearing without counsel, by choice. He refused to recognize the authority of the court and its rulings. “An Israeli court has no authority to rule on issues connected to Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Salah said. “Thus any decision made by this court over keeping me away from Al-Aqsa is null and void.”

The northern branch of the Islamic Movement is planning a large demonstration in East Jerusalem. Salah is barred by a restraining order from entering the Old City and plans to deliver his Friday sermon in his protest tent in Wadi Joz.

Jordanian MPs: Jerusalem dig violates peace pact with Israel
At least 25 Jordanian lawmakers have signed a petition urging the government to officially declare that Israel has “violated” the peace treaty concluded between the two countries in 1994 by going ahead with excavations near Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque, parliamentary sources said Thursday.

Accordingly, the deputies said, the government should summon the Jordanian ambassador from Tel Aviv and “dismiss” the Israeli ambassador from Amman.

“We hereby urge the government to officially declare that Israel has violated the article 9 of the peace treaty by conducting excavations at al-Aqsa Mosque,” the lawmakers said in their memorandum.

Article 9 commits Israel to respect Jordan’s role in looking after the Islamic and Christian holy shrines in East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in 1967.

The parliamentary memorandum coincides with Jordanian contacts with Arab and Islamic countries as well as with world powers to put pressure on Israel to halt its construction work at the Temple Mount road leading to al-Aqsa Mosque’s Mugrabi Gate.

Jerusalem police prepared for violence around Temple Mount
Jerusalem police are prepared for more violence on and around the Temple Mount to protest the nearby construction work.

On Thursday afternoon, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court will rule on the state’s request to extend Salah’s restraining order by 60 days. At Wednesday’s hearing, the police submitted footage from Channel 2 News allegedly showing Salah spitting at police officers. The state said the officers involved testified that Salah had spit at them. Salah is heard calling the police officers “murderers,” “occupiers” and “cowards.” Another photograph, from a security camera above Dung Gate, shows Salah directing demonstrators last week.

Salah appeared at the hearing without counsel, by choice. He refused to recognize the authority of the court and its rulings. “An Israeli court has no authority to rule on issues connected to Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Salah said. “Thus any decision made by this court over keeping me away from Al-Aqsa is null and void.”

in: Haaretz

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Turkish team to inspect Jerusalem Temple Mount

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 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Thursday agreed to allow a Turkish team to inspect the construction site at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem.

Muslims fear excavation at the site will harm the face of the nearby Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The announcement was made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after he met Olmert in Ankara.

Erdogan said his Israeli counterpart had shown him photographs of the construction work, but had failed to convince him that it would not harm the holy sites there.

Olmert then agreed to a Turkish suggestion for a technical team from Turkey to inspect the site, Erdogan said.

Olmert said he agreed to the inspection because “Israel has nothing to hide.”

He added that the matter of the construction on the site had been misconstrued and presented in a tendentious way in the international media.

“The construction of this bridge next to the Western Wall has been taken out of context, but we will cooperate with everyone and will be happy to host the delegation in order to show that the Israeli story is correct and exact,” he said.

In an interview published earlier on Thursday, Erdogan harshly criticised the construction work conducted by Israel at the Mugrabi Gate at the Temple Mount.

A Turkish newspaper quoted Erdogan as saying, “Turkey is disturbed and angered by Israel’s actions, which raise tensions in the entire region.”

Demonstrations in Istanbul against Israeli prime minister’s visit

A demonstration was staged in the city of Istanbul, the largest Turkish city, on Thursday in protest of the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s current visit to Turkey.

The Turkish, “NTV” network, said a group of the “Oppressed House” association organized a major demonstration in Istanbul, condemning the visit at a time where Holy places in Jerusalem were subject to Israeli sabotage.

Turkish police were deployed in large forces to guard against any rioting and chaos, the network said.

The demonstration was staged while the Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Israeli counterpart held talks in Ankara tackling the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Excavation at Aqsa Mosque part of scheme to demolish it

The head of the Palestinian delegation and member of the legislative assembly, Jamal Ayesh, said on Thursday Israel’s “arbitrary measures” against the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque was a main topic in the currently-held Ninth session of the Council of Parliamentary Union of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (PUOIC).

Ayesh, said in a statement on sidelines of the conference recent excavation work under the mosque “constituted an explicit proof of the Israeli arrogance against the Muslims.”

These measures are ultimately intended to demolish the mosque and establish in its place Solomon Temple, in line with some Hardline Jewish religious beliefs, he said.

He called on Muslim nations to close ranks and warned against intervention by foreign states in the domestic affairs of the Muslim nations.

La casa natal de Vasco Núñez acogerá un centro de interpretación

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La casa natal del descubridor del océano Pacífico, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, situada en la calle La Oliva, se convertirá en breve en museo y centro de interpretación de la ciudad. El proyecto, actualmente en fase de ejecución, fue presentado en un acto público en el que sus autores, el arquitecto jerezano Modesto García y su socia, Isabel Amores, describieron la concepción de dicho inmueble como un espacio que se abre al conjunto histórico de Jerez. El proyecto se enmarca dentro de la iniciativa turística de cooperación transfronteriza ‘Por tierras rayanas’, financiada a través del programa comunitario INTERREG III A y de la que Jerez de los Caballeros participa junto a otros once municipios españoles y portugueses, según explicó el concejal de Cultural, Rafael Morales.

Este centro de interpretación supondrá una inversión de unos 300.000 euros y está cofinanciado por fondos FEDER del citado programa comunitario, la obra social de Caja Badajoz y las aportaciones de la Asociación para el Desarrollo Rural Jerez-Sierra Suroeste y del propio Ayuntamiento.

Modesto García destacó como idea principal del proyecto de restauración de la casa natal de Vasco Núñez la consideración de que el conjunto histórico de Jerez es ya un museo expuesto en tiempo real, «para nosotros el museo es el pueblo y el centro de interpretación se abre a él de manera natural». En ese contexto, se refirió a la importancia de la relación exterior-interior y afirmó que la citada casa, un inmueble del siglo XVI, «permanece también como parte de la exposición».

La otra arquitecto, coautora del proyecto, Isabel Amores, habló de la iluminación natural como el principal elemento de la ambientación expositiva y una de las particularidades que distinguirá a este museo de otros muchos en los que predomina la iluminación artificial. Además significó la preservación del carácter doméstico de la casa en su proyecto, «las escalas, las alturas, los espacios, harán que el visitante se sienta acogido», expresó. Amores afirmó que el pavimento de la calle se adentra en la propia casa para subrayar la relación exterior-interior y resaltó el contenido «didáctico e interactivo» del centro de interpretación.

Descubridores

Juan Ignacio Fernández y Manuel Martín, los autores del contenido del que será el segundo museo de Jerez, describieron tres áreas dentro del apartado expositivo. Una estará dedicada a conquistadores y descubridores y en ella la figura de Vasco Núñez será protagonista y se tocarán temas como el arte de la cartografía o la navegación; otra sala estará dedicada a la historia de la ciudad y supondrá en sí «una invitación para que el visitante conozca la ciudad» y un tercer espacio centrará su atención en personajes ilustres y en la presencia de los Templarios en Jerez. Fernández destacó la variedad de elementos expositivos y su originalidad a fin de que «la visita se haga amena».

El alcalde, Carlos Angulo, sumó el proyecto de restauración de la casa natal de Vasco Núñez a otros proyectos llevados a cabo por el Ayuntamiento en materia de medio ambiente, economía y patrimonio, entre los que citó la rehabilitación del interior de la iglesia de Santa María y habló de este nuevo museo como una idea de anteriores corporaciones que ahora se hace realidad. El edil destacó el trabajo de los arquitectos del proyecto. «Han sabido darle el giro preciso a una casa antigua del siglo XVI» y afirmó que el resultado es un centro de interpretación que es «un testigo mudo ante el visitante pero enormemente vivo». Angulo agradeció el apoyo de las entidades que han financiado el proyecto, la colaboración del técnico del Área de Rehabilitación Integra de Jerez, Ángel Gomero y la labor del concejal de Cultura.

por Paula Díaz/Hoy Digital

Templarios, teutónicos y demás órdenes militares de la Edad Media, objetos de nuevo libro

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librotem1.jpg‘Caballeros de Cristo’, un libro coeditado por las universidades de Valencia y Granada, obra del profesor de Historia Medieval de la Universidad de París Alain Demurger, propone una visión de conjunto de la historia de los templarios, teutónicos y demás órdenes militares durante el periodo medieval, en que nacieron, se desarrollaron y perdieron su esplendor.

Según informó la Universidad de Granada (UGR) en una nota de prensa remitida a Europa Press, en un volumen de más de 400 páginas, el autor desvela pormenorizadamente los enigmas e intrigas que rodean a la Orden del Temple, nacida a comienzos del siglo XVII con el fin de salvaguardar la tumba de Cristo y proteger a los peregrinos.

Las causas reales de su destrucción, la influencia de Felipe el Hermoso de Francia, la posición de la Iglesia ante la guerra, la importancia decisiva del Islam, la administración del patrimonio de la Orden, sus ritos y ceremonias, así como su posible perpetuación durante siglos son cuestiones abordadas en este volumen con traducción de Wenceslao Carlos Lozano.

Alain Demurger abunda en 17 capítulos sobre el contexto occidental de las cruzadas; la Tierra Santa, cuna de las órdenes militares; las órdenes militares de la península ibérica; el mundo báltico, cruzada misionera y órdenes militares; la cristiandad medieval; los hombres y su reclutamiento; la organización de las órdenes; las órdenes militares y la guerra; la actividad caritativa de las órdenes militares; el patrimonio, la espiritualidad, los símbolos y signos de pertenencia, las crisis y dificultades por las que atravesaron; y las órdenes militares españolas.

St Paul’s tomb unearthed in Rome

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Archaeologists working for the Vatican have unearthed a sarcophagus containing what they believe are the remains of St Paul the Apostle.
The tomb dates back to at least AD390 and was found in a crypt under a basilica in Rome.

It has long been thought that the crypt contained the tomb of St Paul but the altar had hidden it.

St Paul was an influential early Christian who travelled widely in the Mediterranean area in the 1st Century.

Excavations at the site began in 2002 and were completed last month.

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Ancient pilgrims

The basilica of St Paul’s Outside the Walls is the largest church in Rome after St Peter’s.

For the past three years, archaeologists have been excavating underneath the altar to remove two huge slabs of marble and now, for the first time in almost 1,700 years, the sarcophagus of St Paul is on public view.

The original inscription on the top reads: Paulo Apostolo Mart – Latin for “Paul Apostle Martyr”.

The holes through which the ancient pilgrims would have pushed pieces of cloth to touch the relic are clearly visible.

“What we can see at the moment through a grating, a new grating that’s been put there, is the side of the sarcophagus of Paul which seems to be white marble-like material,” said Father Edmund Power, abbot of the nearby Benedictine monastery.

St Paul travelled widely through Asia Minor, Greece and Rome in the 1st Century.

His letters to the early churches, found in the Bible’s New Testament, are arguably some of the most influential on Christian thinking.

St Paul is said to have been beheaded in AD65 by the Roman Emperor Nero.

His sarcophagus will be on public view for the foreseeable future but the church is yet to rule out the possibility that one day the interior itself will be opened and examined.

in: BBC News

Israeli PM backs holy site dig

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Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has rejected calls by his defence minister to halt excavations at a contentious Jerusalem holy site, Israeli media has reported.
Amir Peretz urged Mr Olmert to stop the digging near the al-Aqsa mosque for fear it will antagonise the Arab world.

Mr Olmert declined, saying the works were causing no harm, the prime minister’s office told the BBC.

The excavation has provoked outrage among Muslims, who say it could damage the foundations of the mosque.

There have been widespread protests among Palestinians and the wider Muslim world since the excavations began on Tuesday.

The work is a prelude to the construction of a new walkway leading to the compound containing the mosque – Islam’s third holiest site.
The compound is also revered by Jews as the site of their biblical temples.

Mr Olmert rejected Mr Peretz’s appeal to stop the excavations, about 60m (200ft) from the mosque.

“A thorough examination of the matter would reveal that nothing about the work under way will harm anyone, and there is no truth in the contentions against the work,” Mr Olmert’s office said.

The Israeli Antiquity Authority, which is conducting the excavations, says it is considering installing a 24-hour live video feed from the site to allay Muslim fears.

The Islamic authorities in charge of the compound say two underground rooms lie under the mound which is being levelled.

The work is intended to secure the area and protect archaeological artefacts that have not yet been uncovered, Israeli officials say.

The compound area has been a flashpoint for violence since Israel captured it during the 1967 Middle East war.

In 1996, Israel’s opening of an exit to a tunnel near the site triggered riots in which 80 people died in clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops.

And in 2000, the Palestinian uprising began at the mosque following a controversial tour of the site by Israel’s then opposition leader, Ariel Sharon.

Since 1967, the compound has remained under Muslim jurisdiction in conjunction with neighbouring Jordan.

in: BBC News

Kaliningrad Wants Its Castle Back

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For years Kaliningrad has been allowed to decay as a forgotten Russian enclave surrounded by Europe. But now a movement is afoot to rebuild the city center. The castle too may soon dominate the skyline once again.

When 39-year-old architect Alexander Bazhin looks out the window of his fourth-floor office, it’s a bleak sight he sees: Shoddy concrete housing blocks constructed by the late communist regime stand next to rusted water fountains and apartment blocks from the Third Reich. A 20-story Communist Party fortress — the “House of the Soviets” — rises up in the center. The building is a ruin.

The city center of Kaliningrad is not a pretty site.

It’s not uncommon for elderly East Prussians — having arrived in a tour boat in the nearby port of Pillau — to break into tears when they see to what architectural depths their city of birth has sunk to. The destruction visited on the former pearl on the Pregel River by the bombs of World War II was immense — matched by hardly any other European city. Indeed, Kaliningrad, once known by its German name Königsberg, became a symbol not just of loss, but also of the destruction, of homeland.

Some 30 divisions and two air fleets of the Red Army attacked the surrounded city during the final battle in April 1945, remembers Otto Lasch, the German Wehrmacht’s commander in Königsberg at the time. They fired at the city “from thousands of barrels including Stalin organs for days, without interruption,” he says.

What remained was Immanuel Kant’s transcendental philosophy — and meatballs.

Bazhin, who wears a pinstripe suit and light blue tie, thinks it’s time to turn the tide. For one year now, he’s been the chief city planner in Kaliningrad, now an oblast, or region, of Russia separated from the motherland by Lithuania and surrounded by European Union countries. A friendly man, he receives visitors in his granite-decorated studio in the heart of the old city. Thirty employees also grace the office, all of them young.

No one here wants to run from the city’s Prussian German legacy. On the contrary. To restore a sense of urbanity to the ravaged city center — further wrecked by the Soviets — Bazhin is going retro.

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