World Bulletin / News Desk
The Israeli authorities have approved a controversial archeology project in the Silwan neighborhood of Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) outside the walls of the Old City.
In a statement, the Wadi Hilweh Committee, which advocates for Palestinian rights in the Silwan area, condemned Israel's approval of the project, which is to be funded and run by the Israeli government, the Jerusalem municipality and the "Elad" settlement association.
According to the committee, the project, which will include a visitors' center, threatens to isolate the area's indigenous population from its natural surroundings and Jerusalem's Old City.
Moreover, the committee added, the project will alter the neighborhood's historical and archaeological character, further entrenching Israel's longstanding occupation of the holy city.
"The project will cut Silwan off from the Old City of Al-Quds and divide it in two," Jawad Siyam, director of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, told Anadolu Agency.
"In 2003, the land was seized in a devious way by Elad, which has planned the construction of the project ever since," Siyam added.
The committee says the land on which the project is to be built had belonged to a Palestinian family before it was seized by Israeli authorities and turned into a parking lot.
Palestinians accuse Elad of carrying out excavations near the nearby Mughrabi Square, thus destroying a 1200-year-old Muslim cemetery and antiquities from the Roman, Byzantine, Umayyad and Ottoman periods.
Palestinians accuse Israel of waging an aggressive campaign to "Judaize" Al-Quds with the aim of effacing its Arab and Islamic identity.
International law considers the West Bank and Al-Quds occupied territories taken by Israel in 1967, viewing all Jewish settlement building on the land as illegal.
Sacred to both Muslims and Jews, Al-Quds is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which for Muslims represents the world's third holiest site.
Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.Last Mod: 05 Nisan 2014, 09:49