Israel 'seeking to take over Islamic site near Al-Aqsa' - UPDATED

Earlier this year, an Israeli lawmaker proposed legislation that would revoke Jordanian oversight of Palestinian holy sites in violation of the terms of a 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty.

Israel 'seeking to take over Islamic site near Al-Aqsa' - UPDATED

World Bulletin / News Desk

Israel is planning to seize an Islamic waqf (endowment) building adjacent to the Al-Aqsa mosque complex in Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) in order to convert it into a Jewish temple, a Palestinian NGO warned Wednesday.

The Knesset (Israel's parliament) is holding a series of sessions to discuss the acquisition of the Al-Shahabi building, an Islamic waqf site adjacent to the so-called Western Wall, the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage, a Palestinian NGO, said in a statement.

"The latest [Knesset] session on Sunday decided to expand the spaces allowed for Jewish prayers inside the building," the statement read.

"The Al-Shahabi building is an Islamic site that lies entirely under Islamic endowment," the NGO said. "Non-Muslims have no [ownership] rights to it."

The Knesset has yet to comment on the NGO's assertions.

Earlier this year, an Israeli lawmaker proposed legislation that would revoke Jordanian oversight of Palestinian holy sites in violation of the terms of a 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty.

The move angered Amman and prompted concerns over repeated Israeli incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.

In recent months, groups of extremist Jewish settlers, often accompanied by Israeli security forces, have repeatedly forced their way into the mosque complex. The frequent violations anger Palestinian Muslims and occasionally lead to violent confrontations.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied Al-Quds during the 1967 Middle East War, eventually annexing the holy city – which it then claimed as its capital – in 1980.

Israel to install 500 security cameras in Al-Quds

Israeli police have unveiled plans to install 500 new security cameras in Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) at a total cost of 100 million shekels ($29 billion), the Israeli radio reported.

The three-year project would see cameras installed to cover the area spanning from the French Hill settlement in the north of the Old City to Har Homa settlement in the south, the broadcaster said.

According to the Israeli police, the move aims to "boost a sense of security among residents of the city and its visitors."

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.

Palestinians accuse Israel of waging an aggressive campaign to "Judaize" Al-Quds with the aim of effacing its Arab and Islamic identity. They also insist that Israeli settlement building must stop before a comprehensive peace agreement can be reached.

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.

Last Mod: 22 Mayıs 2014, 09:30
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