A new campaign has been launched across the Internet to close the Al Aksa mosque to Muslim worshippers until Hamas terrorists return kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, held in captivity since his abduction near the Kerem Shalom crossing on June 25, 2006.
A petition has been making the rounds, calling on the Israeli police to close the Temple Mount to Muslims until Shalit is released without preconditions. The campaign, which is being carried out under the banner, "Without Gilad, There is No Mosque" was initiated by Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick, who spoke with Arutz Sheva about the project.
"The Temple Mount is our heart of hearts, and an IDF soldier rotting for three years in a hovel without a minimum of basic rights is also in our hearts. The only thing that we can do to hurt the Muslim public is to block their access to the Temple Mount," Glick said, adding that he hopes the pressure from the entire Muslim world will force Hamas to free Shalit in order to reopen the Mount.
"We will have to take measures that hurt the Muslim public," he said, adding that he is not concerned about the possibility the idea may cause riots in Jerusalem. "Why aren't they worried over the idea of kidnapping a soldier?" he asked.
Glick said he is aware the chances are slim that his proposal will be implemented, or even be heard by government ministers. "I am speaking to the people of Israel and not to the government of Israel. We want to connect the people of Israel with the Temple Mount -- to raise our consciousness."
Hamas: Shalit Ball in Israeli Court
A senior Hamas source told an Italian news agency on Monday that the "ball was in Israel's court" on negotiations over Shalit's freedom. Muhamad al-Katri, the Hamas official in charge of prisoners' affairs, said the terrorist group had even agreed to have Shalit examined by French doctors despite concerns that such a visit would diclose the hiding place where the hostage is being held.
German mediator Ernst Uhrlau meanwhile arrived Monday in Tel Aviv with the terrorist group's response to Israel's latest offer on a swap deal for Shalit's release. He is expected to return to Gaza within a few days.
On Sunday, the London-based Arabic-language Al-Hayat newspaper reported that a team of four French doctors indeed accompanied the German mediator to Gaza -- a week ago Sunday -- to examine the Israeli soldier as a confidence-building measure in the negotiations.
According to the report, the doctors, all specialists in different fields, arrived with Uhrlau in Cairo and entered Gaza through the Rafiah crossing. They allegedly examined Shalit in the hiding place where he is being held prisoner.