Virtual Essay

This essay has a total of 671 words and 5 pages.


virtual





April 18, 2001
Web posted at: 9:04 a.m. EDT (1304 GMT)

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Deep in the cool recesses of the remains of an ancient Muslim palace,
tourists gaze at a computer screen and find themselves transformed into pilgrims as they
are led to the Jewish Temple destroyed 2,000 years ago.


The computer simulation is part of a new interactive museum that opened Wednesday just
outside the Al Aqsa Mosque, which sits on land where Jews believe the remains of their two
Temples -- one built by King Solomon and the second by King Herod -- are buried.


The sacred compound revered by Muslims and Jews is the most sensitive spot in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A dispute over final control over the hilltop helped derail
peace talks and triggered fighting that began seven months ago.


Muslim clerics who administer the compound, known to Muslims as Haram as-Sharif, or Noble
Sanctuary, claim there is no archaeological proof that the Jewish Temples once stood in
the place of the Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques.


The new Israeli display "is not a museum of historical events, but a factory of lies,"
said Adnan Husseini, director of the Islamic Trust that administers the site.


Israel, in turn, bitterly complains that Muslims have recklessly discarded important
archaeological artifacts, including those tracing the compound's Jewish history, as part
of the construction of underground prayer halls.


The opening of the multimillion-dollar museum near the southwestern corner of the Al Aqsa
compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, came at a time of crisis in the tourism
industry caused by the unrest that has claimed more than 470 lives.


Israel hopes the show will draw foreigners back to visit.
Continues for 3 more pages >>




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