Sunday, February 04, 2007

Israel builds a bridge under al-Aqsa Mosque, By Mohammed Mar'i

Israel Builds a Bridge under Al Aqsa Mosque
By Mohammed Mar'i
(Arab American Media Services. Permission granted to republish.)

(Ramallah, Occupied Palestine)-- While severe fighting continues between Fatah and Hamas in Gaza Strip, Israel will start constructing a bridge At Al Aqsa Mosque Sunday. The director of the cartographic department in the society for Arab Studies, Khalil Toufakji, has warned of an ethnic cleansing operation against some 24,000 Palestinians in the old city of Jerusalem.

Toufakji added that Israel has built "the Jewish neighborhood" in the city, which contains around 70 settlement units.

Speaking in a press conference in Ramallah on Saturday, Toufakji spoke about the holy city, "and the dangers it faces in the shadow of the Israeli government policy of Judaizing the city". He added that "anyone who is watching the Israeli strategy in the city will find that it has reached a dangerous stage, and is now in the last steps of its demographic Judaization."

Operating on the demographic level, the policy aims to reduce the number of Palestinian citizens in the city, so the Israelis will form a significant majority in the future.

Toufakji drew attention to the tunnels and bridges which Israel is currently constructing. The Israeli authorities are attempting to build a link between the Western wall complex by opening a tunnel from Magharbah Gate. It is understood that this tunnel will be opened on Sunday.

Toufakji declared "there is nothing left of the Magharbah neighborhood… the goal of all these excavations is an attempt to find the temple although there isn't proven sign of its existence in the place."

Toufakji criticized the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic neglect of Jerusalem saying "as all parties are ignoring the issue of Jerusalem… we speak on every occasion about the dangers facing the city but we do nothing". He also mentioned the change in the Israeli prime minister's convergence plans, stating that "there will be streets for Jews only, and other streets for Palestinians."

*(Mohammed Mar'i is a freelance Palestinian journalist based in Ramallah, Occupied Palestine. He can be reached at