Israel conducts ‘deep’ excavations under citadel
JERUSALEM - Anadolu Agency
Authorities will turn the area into a cultural center, according to the report.Israeli authorities are conducting “very deep” excavations under the Jerusalem Citadel near the Jaffa Gate of the Old City of Al-Quds, the Aqsa Foundation for Religious Endowments and Heritage warned Dec. 31.
“The Israeli authorities aim to turn the site into a cultural center that would be affiliated with the so-called Tower of David Museum,” the foundation, which is devoted to safeguarding the iconic mosque from Israeli depredations, asserted in a report.
“The site is actually an ancient mosque that in 1967 was turned by Israel into a museum… that promotes [false] allegations about the Temple Mount,” the report said.
The report goes on to say that the excavations, which, it says, are some 17 meters deep, had caused serious damage to historic antiquities dating back to the early Islamic era.
Israeli authorities could not be reached for an immediate comment on the foundation’s claims.
The foundation has repeatedly warned of the possibly adverse effects of Israeli excavations on the city’s sacred Islamic sites, asserting that the self-proclaimed Jewish state was seeking to change “facts on the ground” in the occupied city.
East Jerusalem was seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War. Palestinians accuse Israel of waging a campaign to “Judaize” the holy city, which contains both Islamic and Christian religious sites, including the iconic Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Built to strengthen a strategically weak point in the Old City’s defenses, the citadel that stands today has ancient foundations and was constructed during the 2nd century BC and subsequently destroyed and rebuilt by, in succession, the Christian, Muslim, Mamluk, and Ottoman conquerors of Jerusalem.