Police Uncover Two Temple Mount "Conspiracies"

With great fanfare, the police announced today that it had broken up two "Jewish conspiracies" to attack the Temple Mount mosques - plots that never passed the talking stage.

, | updated: 16:48

The police were forced to admit that no indictments would be handed down, and no weapons were found in their possession. In addition, none of the nine "suspects" were kept in jail - though they face various restrictions on their mobility for the coming weeks.

Members of one "cell" discussed attacking the Dome of the Rock with missiles, but never acquired the weapons or the know-how to perpetrate the attack. Another man, Ilan Hirshfeld of Raanana - a 61-year-old retired air-conditioner retailer - was interrogated for several hours last month after he asked his employees if it was possible to install a camera aboard a drone flying over the Temple Mount.

The police originally scheduled a press conference this afternoon to formally release the gag orders on the story. They canceled it, however, raising suspicions that the plots were never particularly serious in the first place.

Anti-disengagement groups responded to Hirschfeld's brief arrest last month by accusing the government of trying to shut right-wing mouths. "His arrest is an attempt to de-legitimize him and you and me," wrote Cities of Israel spokesperson Susie Dym to her email list of pro-Land of Israel supporters. "This is a grave escalation on the part of the Shabak (General Security Service)."

Hirschfeld's "brutal arrest by Israeli intelligence officers," wrote a spokesman for the Hevron Jewish Community, "can only be seen as part of Sharon's dictatorial policies, attempting to breed fear and distrust. [We] vehemently protest the obvious beginning of a renewed 'witch hunt' aimed at paralyzing all protests against the planned expulsion of over 9,000 Jews from their homes in Gush Katif and the northern Shomron."