World Bulletin / News Desk
A Palestine-based charity has called for help to stop use of a mosque-turned-museum as a venue for a prospective festival to promote products of Israeli wine makers.
"Be'er Sheva Mosque is cultural heritage from the Ottoman Empire. We call on all Palestinians, Muslims, international human rights groups and Turkey to work to stop violations against the Be'er Sheva Mosque," Al Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said in a statement on Wednesday, defining the festival as "provocation."
The wine festival is scheduled for September 5.
The Be'er Sheva Mosque, built during the Ottoman reign of the region and used as a house of worship until 1948, was turned into an Islamic museum on the orders of an Israeli high court in 2011.
A junior Turkish envoy in Israel visited the mosque last week along with an Arab member of the Knesset and a Palestinian human rights activist.
Turkey's relations with Israel have been in the deep freeze since Israeli commandos raided a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid convoy on May 31, 2010, killing nine Turkish citizens in international waters.
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The mosque was first opened in 1901 but was seized and closed in the 1920's and then used first as a cinema and then as a restaurant that served alcohol. In 2002 restorations began to open the mosque for service