The current Israeli Prime Minister and former Mayor of Jerusalem is achieving his dream to further Judaize the Palestinian capital. Ehud Olmert has granted a license for a Jewish synagogue to be built 40 feet from Al Aqsa Mosque.The Israelis would not allow President Arafat to be buried in Jerusalem despite UN Resolution 35 which states that Israel's annexation of Jerusalem, and claim to the city as its own capital, is illegal and must be immediately rescinded.
Over the past month in the Old City of East Jerusalem along the western side of the Al Aqsa Mosque, Israeli forces have built a ramp and answered inquiries as to what they were doing with a simple, “just cleaning,” as they excavated to the point of damaging the western side of Al Aqsa's wall.
Olmert has just granted a license to build a Jewish synagogue at the door of the Muslim Quarter in the Old City, 40 meters from Al Aqsa Mosque. The permit went to a Jewish organization, Ateret Kohanim, described locally as extremist, to build a synagogue overlooking the mosque.
President of the Islamic Movement inside the Green Line, Sheikh Ra'ed Salah, said, “This confirms what we have said time and again; that Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque are in grave danger, specifically in the current time period. The Israelis have been trying to build this temple where some claim there was one under the ground, but nothing was ever uncovered, not a thing, and it was clearly a ploy to rewrite history which is the Zionist way: the dream of building the illusion at the expense of the truth.”
Sheikh Salah added, “I would like to reiterate my earlier call to the Arab and Islamic world to help establish a fund to save Jerusalem and save Al Aqsa Mosque. What is happening is sinful and all clear thinking people of conscience know that.”
The Al Aqsa Institution's legal counsel, Zahi Nagadat, said, “This is a dangerous current as the excavation was widened and stretches horizontally overlooking the Dome of the Rock and is also expanded towards the rear.”
Geographical expert Khalil Tafkaji, said, “This project is part of a full expulsion of Arabs from the holy city. A Jewish synagogue near the door of the western side of the Dome of the Rock will act as a passage to the wailing wall and a new tourist area as part of a group of 70 settlements. All of this will be above the Al Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock area. This is moving to a fully advanced stage of settlement in the region.”
The organization that was granted the license has been given permits by the Israeli government for 30 houses nearby in the Old City as part of the settlement project, but Ateret Kohanim is not the major player in this project, added Tafkaji on Monday. The organization receives major support from the state by receiving the permits and is part of the Judaization of Jerusalem which has already eliminated much of the Palestinian population.
The Imam of Al Aqsa, Ikrima Sabri, warned that a Jewish synagogue near the Dome of the Rock, the compound that houses Al Aqsa Mosque, sets a dangerous precedent, particularly as the Israeli government is granting the permits. He pointed out that the Israeli government is building visibly high above the ground which will allow them to control what is below.
The new site is next to Walid Al Zerba's house. He told PNN, “Over a month ago or so Jewish workers were working on a ceiling in a 200 meter area that the settlers took in 1967, the first step to building a synagogue. At the same time they started working on a similar construction project to the south in a 70 meter plot of land belonging to the Islamic Waqf.”
Al Zerba added, “We demanded that the workers stop, but they said they were just cleaning and conducting maintenance and that they would not steal this plot of land. The synagogue will open to the south as they do and will control the land belonging to the Department of Islamic Endowments.”
However, he said, "work has stopped for the time being so there remains a chance to stop it for good."