Israeli Regime Confiscate Land Adjacent to Al-Aqsa Mosque
The Israeli authorities on Sunday morning confiscated a tract of land adjacent to the eastern wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque near the Golden gate, Palestinian sources told Ma’an News Agency.
Jawad Siyam, the director of Wadi Hilweh Information Center in occupied East Jerusalem, told Ma’an that Jerusalem inspectors from the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority stormed and confiscated land belonging to the al-Husseini and the al-Ansari families.
The inspectors were escorted by Israeli troops during the confiscation, Siyam said, adding that security guards from a private security company installed barbed wire fence around the land.
The Palestinian Authority’s governor of Jerusalem and Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Adnan al-Husseini also told Ma’an that the Israeli forces and inspectors stormed the land without prior notice. He highlighted that the tract of land measures more than 7000 square meters (1.7 acres).
A lawyer representing the Palestinian owners is taking the case to the Israeli court in an attempt to stop the confiscation, the minister added.
One of the owners of the land from the al-Husseini family told Ma’an that he believes the Israelis plan to confiscate the land for settlement expansion.
In effort to gain and maintain a Jewish majority in the city, Jewish residents frequently take over Palestinian buildings with the protection of Israeli security, particularly in occupied East Jerusalem, according to the Israeli rights organization the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.
The majority of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition has vowed to expand settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, with many opposing a future independent Palestinian state.
Earlier this year the Israeli cabinet allocated $25 million for settlement expansion in Jerusalem.
Over 500,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.