On Sunday night, the Committee for Planning and Building of the Jerusalem Municipality approved a plan for constructing a new bridge, the al-Mugrabi bridge, across the ground of the Al-Aqsa mosque in Old Jerusalem.
This approval despite objections by several members of the planning committee, including Ir Amim, Arab members of Knesset, and Al-Aqsa foundation archaeologist Meir Ben-Dov.
The plan will be handed to the district committee, which in turn will re-discuss the proposed objections in a week's time. Israeli reports show that the track of the approved bridge is relatively short, which is why there was a suggested plan to construct a bridge supported by columns.
The plan is intended to enlarge the women's section at the Jewish-only Western Wall plaza. The Head of the Committee, Yehoshua Pollak, and a council member of the Jerusalem Municipality referred to the suggested bridge as a main entrance which he claims will not threaten the existence of the Muslim holy site, the Al Aqsa mosque.
Jewish extremists in Israel have long threatened to destroy the Al Aqsa mosque, to replace it with a 'third temple' for the Jews. Jewish bombers have attempted to blow up the mosque on several occasions, and, more recently, have attempted to undermine the ancient foundations of the Mosque by digging underneath it. The Al Aqsa mosque is the third holiest site in the world for Muslims, after the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
Pollak declared that the Israeli Security forces placed pressure on him and other members of the committee to approve the construction of the bridge, which they plan to use as a passage for security forces to enter the holy square of the al-Aqsa Mosque. The local Committee for Planning and Building announced that, when completed, the bridge will allow for the entry of at least 300 Israeli policemen at one time to the al-Aqsa Mosque square.
The detailed plan was met by the disapproval of Muslim leaders as it seriously endangers the integrity of their archeological, historical and holy site.
Translated by Nisreen Qumsieh – IMEMC News.