On Wednesday the Israeli police force entered a hotel in East Jerusalem, where a news conference was to be held by Muslim and Christian figures opposing recent excavation works near Al Aqsa mosque, and canceled the event.
A number of figures worldwide have spoken out against the excavations that Israeli authorities have been conducting near the Muslim holy site of the Al Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem. However, today's news conference was banned by Israeli police under the pretext that it was organized by Palestine's elected Hamas-led government.
The mufti of Jerusalem, Israel's Islamic Movement leader, and a Roman Orthodox archbishop were planning to meet in the Commodore Hotel today to contest the renovation of a ramp leading to the mosque, which started three weeks ago. There is considerable evidence that the foundations of the mosque are under threat, and could be damaged more than they already have been by previous Israeli authority-led projects around and under the mosque.
The organizers of the excavation state that they are merely renovating, but the fact that the site is also of great importance to Jews as the Temple Mount ignites fears that there is an ulterior motive to the work.
Israeli police have played a large role in the excavation work, patrolling the old city of Jerusalem and restricting entrance to the mosque. They have arrested over 70 people for protesting against the work, and used physical force against others.
One 60 year old Palestinian woman died on Sunday after sustaining serious injuries during protests. She was beaten by Israeli police with batons as she tried to prevent the arrest of a young man, and suffered with her injuries for two weeks before she died.