Israel opens Jewish site in Muslim quarter

PressTV –  Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:0PM| Rana Kamal, Al-Quds
In a move that has drawn immediate condemnation from the Palestinians , Israel has opened a new Jewish prayer site in the heart of the Jerusalem/Al-quds Old City’s Muslim quarter.

Municipal officials recently ordered the removal of scaffolding that used to support an archway beneath Palestinian homes. The clearance will make it possible for Jewish worshipers to pray at the site, which lies less than a hundred meters north of the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s most sacred and frequented sites.

The Waqf, which overseas the administration of Muslim religious sites in East Jerusalem al-Quds had threatened a strong response if the site is opened.

Palestinians regard east Jerusalem/Al-Quds as the capital of their future state and have called such moves as an attempt by Israel to establish its claim over Muslims’ holy sites.

The new prayer site lies in the heart of the Muslim quarter surrounded by Palestinian homes. This road has been used by Ultra-Orthodox Jews in the Past, causing tension in the Old City. With the new Jewish prayer site, Palestinian Residents have reported being threatened and even asked to leave their homes and shops when Jews come to pray in their neighborhood.

17 families live next to site. Palestinian resident, Khadir, says the Jewish prayer area in the Palestinian neighborhood is unacceptable.

In 1971, Israel built its first tunnel under the Al-Aqsa mosque, causing many Palestinian buildings to nearly collapse. Israel built the archway to avoid the buildings from crumbling to the ground, but it has now decided to remove it

Israel has yet to declare the little western wall plaza as a holy site. However, despite Palestinian residents objections, right-wing organization Ateret Cohanim has been demanding that the area be cleared of the scaffolding to make room for a prayer area. But as Israelis continue to vie for Palestinian land, Palestinians say they will continue to fight to save what is left of their land and Islam’s third holiest site, the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Meanwhile Israeli military radio reported that the construction of at least 1,400 residential units near the settlement of Gilo, on the southern outskirts of east Jerusalem, is about to be authorized.

PressTV – Israel opens Jewish site in Muslim quarter.

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