Israeli construction companies, with support from Israeli armed forces, have resumed digging underneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, apparently in a bid to undermine the foundations of the ancient mosque and cause it to collapse, reported the Al Aqsa Institution for the Renovation of Islamic Sites Friday.
The Institution has repeatedly warned of covert construction acts by Israel beneath Al-Buraq wall or the so-called "wailing wall" and in the neighboring area to the western wall of Al Aqsa mosque.
In a press release, the Al Aqsa Institution said Friday that "Israel is gradually taking over the area of the holy Al Aqsa mosque and is obliterating its Islamic features day after day. Such measures may be the first steps to build the alleged ‘Third David´s Temple, considering the fact that two years ago a group of Israelis inaugurated the site where they plan to build this temple, directly on top of where the Al Aqsa Mosque now stands. The extremists began their construction from Al Burq Wall through Al Maghrba gate, then after awhile they installed a wooden walkway to enable the Jewish extremists and Israeli policemen to enter Al Aqsa Mosque. They also planned to demolish Islamic monuments beneath Al Mgharba gate."
This is not the first time that Israeli individuals and institutions have instigated digs, both archaeological and malicious, under Islam’s third holiest site. In the 1970s, there was extensive digging under the ancient mosque, which led a United Nations representative from Jordan to report to the United Nations Security Council that Israeli forces and institutions had engaged in "deep diggings and excavations beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque within the Haram al-Shareef holy sanctuary, the first Qibla in Islam and the third of the three holy sanctuaries. These diggings and desecrations, in deep tunnels reaching 15 metres and more below this 1300-year-old place of worship to Cod and a symbol of a great spiritual and historical legacy, have been a prime target of the Israeli occupation authorities’ relentless and reprehensible efforts since the occupation of Arab Jerusalem in 1967 to fundamentally alter the landmarks, legacy and history of a large segment of mankind. hundreds of millions of adherents to the Islamic faith look to Jerusalem and the monumental Al-Aqsa sanctuary as its focal point and its centre-piece. The collapse of this holy sanctuary would be nothing less than a cultural, political and spiritual genocide against this legacy and its innermost and immortal soul."
His report details some of the more prominent desecrations of the Mosque, stating:
"The Israeli attempts to wreck the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy Dome of the Rock has passed through several stages. The most important of which are as follows:
1. On August 21, 1969, the occupation authorities were involved in an attempt to burn-down the Al-Aqsa Mosque when that act of arson destroyed the historic Salahuddin (pulpit) and sizeable parts of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The fire caused serious cracks to a number of the Mosques’ pillars which resulted, in turn, in the collapse of a portion of the ceiling. The Arab inhabitants of Jerusalem confronted this abominable act of arson without assistance from occupation authorities by transporting water bucket by hand until they succeeded in extinguishing the fire.
2. Early in 1980, an attempt was made to blow-up the Al-Aqsa Mosque by explosives in a conspiracy plan for execution by Rabbi Meir Khahana. The explosives were discovered minutes before detonation at a distance of 50 meters from the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
3. Jewish religious fanatics have repeatedly attempted to conduct prayers within spacious areas of the Al-Aqsa Mosque similar to what they had done within the Ibrahimi holy sanctuary in Hebron. The Jewish extremist, furthermore attempted on August 9, 1981 to enter the holy sanctuary in big numbers and on several occasions and from various gates leading to Al-Aqsa holy sanctuary to conduct prayers therein. They broke the Magharbah gate, the Iron gate and they ascended to the Tankinazia building in which the occupation authorities are garrisoned and which overlooks the open spaces of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. But the Moslem worshippers confronted those transgressors and repelled their intrusions.
4. Many Israeli diggings were made in the vicinity, as well as under the foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy Dome of the Rock."
Illegal digs have been documented since that time in 1986, 1993, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004.
The Al Aqsa Institution revealed that in 2006, the Israeli government has allotted NIS 68 million (approximately 15 million dollars) for construction acts in the vicinity of Al Burq wall (Wailing Wall) and beneath the sacred Al Aqsa Mosque.
The Institution also noted that the current Israeli President, Moshe Katsav, has given his support for construction that would link two segments of the ‘Herodian road’ and set up four giant pillars in the yard of Al Burq (the Wailing Wall), directly adjacent to the Al Aqsa Mosque. Atop the pillars, a "temporary" alleged Third David’s temple would be constructed, overlooking Al Aqsa Mosque, with the eventual aim of causing the Mosque to fall by undermining its foundations and constructing the Temple on its ruins.
Such digging by Israelis has caused anger throughout the Muslim world, and fear that if such a plan were carried out by Jewish extremists (including those who, like Moshe Katsav, currently have power in the Israeli government), it could cause a massive religious war to break out.