Israel approves plan to build synagogue near Al-Aqsa
By Anees Barghouthy, Monday, March 31, 2014
AL-QUDS – Israeli authorities have approved a plan to build a Jewish synagogue near the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem), the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said Monday.
"The planned synagogue will be built 200 meters west of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound," the foundation, which is devoted to safeguarding the iconic mosque from Israeli violations, said in a statement.
"The synagogue will consist of a four-story building, topped by a vaulted dome, with an underground space beneath it," the foundation added.
The foundation went on to point out that Israeli authorities had already built roughly 100 synagogues in and around the Old City of Al-Quds.
"In recent years, Israeli authorities have built two large synagogues," the foundation noted.
"The first one, called Ruin Synagogue, is built on the ruins of a mosque in the Al-Sharaf neighborhood; the second, Beit Yitzhak Synagogue, was built on a Waqf land, 50 meters west of the Al-Aqsa complex," it added.
"Jewish extremists use the synagogues as launch pads from which to stage intrusions into the Al-Aqsa complex," according to the foundation.
In recent months, groups of extremist Jewish settlers, often accompanied by Israeli security forces, have stepped up their intrusions into mosque complex, which is home to the world's third holiest site for Muslims.
The frequent violations anger Palestinian Muslims and occasionally lead to violent confrontations.
Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied Al-Quds during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state.
Palestinians, for their part, want Al-Quds for the capital of their future state.
Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency