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30 Nov, 2013

Israel opens synagogue beneath Al-Aqsa Mosque


Jerusalem, 28 November 2013 (IINA) – Ignoring the feelings of millions of Muslims worldwide, Israel has reportedly opened a new synagogue under Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Al-Quds (Occupied East Jerusalem), threatening a possible destabilizing of the foundations of the third holiest site in Islam.

“We only saw these synagogues during our tours; otherwise we would not have known anything about them. They were built quietly under the ground,” Jerusalem historian Khalil Ibrahim told Palestine Online, World Bulletin reported yesterday. “These synagogues are an extension of other religious sites that Israel is building in occupied Jerusalem, especially around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, to impose new realities on the ground. “The constructions have political backing in an effort to Judaize the city.”

According to Ibrahim, the new secretly built synagogue was discovered last week during a tour. In recent years, the Israeli government, in coordination with powerful settler groups, began digging an extensive tunnel network throughout the Old City. Israel describes the tunnels as “tourist projects” that pose no threat to Islamic holy places.

However, Palestinians and some Israeli organizations, including the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition, believe that the ultimate goal is to create a subterranean access route to attack Al-Aqsa and other Islamic shrines in the area. A section of the Aqsa Mosque’s yard caved in last year as a result of Israeli excavations underneath. The collapse happened near the Qaitbay fountain in the western section of the mosque.

The one-meter deep hole was viewed as an ominous harbinger for things to come. A school in Silwan neighborhood also partially collapsed due to Israeli excavations in the area. News about increasing excavation works under Al-Aqsa compound have sent alarm among world Muslims after the building started showing structural damage. “Inside these synagogues, the Jews are using Psalms to model and demonstrate the Temple’s structure under the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said. “Other facilities including schools, libraries and synagogues are being built in an attempt to undermine and erase the Islamic and Arab heritage in the holy city and to construct a Jewish heritage in its place,” he added.

The Islamic-Christian Committee to Support Jerusalem has also accused Israel of trying to Judaize the holy city. “The Israeli occupation authorities aim to deprive the mosque of its Arab and Muslim identity to convert it to a Jewish synagogue by opening Jewish museums and digging tunnels beneath the holy mosque to eventually replace it with the alleged Temple,” Dr. Hanna Issa, the committee secretary general, told Middle-East Monitor. “The Israeli authorities also facilitate and protect Jewish extremists and settlers who desecrate the mosque’s sanctity on a daily basis.”

Al-Aqsa is the Muslims’ first Qiblah (direction Muslims take during prayers) and it is the third holiest shrine after Al Kaaba in Makkah and Prophet Muhammad’s Mosque in Madinah, Saudi Arabia. Its significance has been reinforced by the incident of Al Isra’a and Al Mi’raj — the night journey from Makkah to Al-Quds and the ascent to the Heavens by Prophet Muhammad.

Israeli religious leaders, including Knesset members, are making no secret of their schemes regarding Al-Aqsa. The Temple Mount Faithful, an extremist fanatical group, is dedicated to the demolition of Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The Temple Mount Institute, another extremist Jewish society, had prepared detailed plans for the rebuilding of the alleged Solomon Temple on the rubble of Al-Aqsa. It has a large prototype of the temple, special clothes for its rabbis, special places for sacrificial offerings, incense chalice, copper vessels for meal offerings, silver vessel for wine libation and other offering implements.