This is the first 1,000 characters of 671 words (2.68 pages) in the essay titled 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 i...
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