Dr. Hasan Khatir, secretary-general of the Islamic-Christian Front for Defending Jerusalem and Holy Sites, warned on Wednesday of the ongoing Israeli plans and actions to increase settlements in Jerusalem and to isolate the holy places while the region is busy in visits and meetings.Dr. Khatir stated that while Israel was talking about freezing its settlement activities in Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Israeli government was granting licenses for settlement construction and expansion in Jerusalem.

He confirmed that after the Annapolis peace summit in the USA, Jerusalem was subjected to the largest Israeli campaign for settlement construction and expansion.

He added that Israel is targeting every Palestinian aspect in the city and its surroundings, and is attempting to tally isolate the city from its surrounding Palestinian towns and villages.

Dr. Khatir explained that the Jewish billionaire, Ervan Moscovitch, started on Tuesday to finance the construction of a new settlement bloc in Ras Al Amoud area in East Jerusalem after the Israeli government granted him all needed papers and permits.

Moscovitch started to construct 71 new settlement units, and several months ago, the Israeli government reached an agreement Moscovitch’s wife to start digging a tunnel which will link the Western wall with the new settlement.

The tunnel will pass near the western wall of the Al Aqsa Mosque which will cause an real threat to the foundations of the mosque and the historic Arab buildings in the Muslim Compound of the Holy City.

Dr. Khatir revealed that this settlement project was planned to be implemented ten years ago but the Palestinian government voiced international objections including direct objections to the United States, and Israel froze the project but did not void it.

He added that currently Israel is implementing this project and escalating the construction work which proves that the Israeli government is not interested in peace and is using every opportunity to expand its settlements which comes in direct violation to the international law.

  “In the name of the Islamic Christian Front for Defending Jerusalem and Holy Sites, we appeal the Palestinian leadership, the Arab leaders, the Arab and Islamic Organizations and the Quartet Committee to intervene an stop these violations”, he added, “They should intervene and stop the Israeli policies which ignore all regulations and agreements, and violate the Palestinian national rights”.

Translated & Edited by Saed Bannoura – IMEMC