The Israeli destruction of the Moroccan Gate of Al Haram Al Sharif in Jerusalem’s Old city continues unabated

The Israeli destruction of the Moroccan Gate of Al Haram Al Sharif in Jerusalem’s Old city continues unabated

Since the midnight of February 6th, 2007, Israeli security forces (including Police, Border Police, Intelligence, etc) have placed a strict closure and siege on all entrances of the City of Jerusalem which was transformed into a military compound. Israeli soldiers were stationed in the courtyards, streets and Gates of the Walled City as well as in the crossroads, junctions, atop its buildings and the entry points leading to Al Haram AL Sharif (Al Aqsa mosque compound). These forces prevented Palestinians living in the West Bank from accessing Jerusalem as well as preventing Palestinians from accessing the Old City and Al Aqsa Compound for those who don't hold an Israeli blue ID cards or those who were under 45 years old of age.


At 8:00 AM, Israeli bulldozers and workers began removing the hill upon which the  Moroccan Gate was standing and removing the wooden pathway established atop it. The hill is a historic one and is part of the perimeter of the Noble Sanctuary and of Al Buraq Wall ( western wall). It is the only hill remaining after the complete demolition of the Moroccan quarter (including its courtyard, schools, mosque and its 200 houses) on June 11th, 1967, immediate after the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank. Destruction during the initial demolition of the Moroccan quarter reached the western wall of the Compound, including the Moroccan mosque, Al Zawiya Al Fakhriya and the Umayyad palaces, all part of the 1400-year history of the City. It is worth noting that the original name of the Moroccan Gate was Mohammad Gate due to the fact that Prophet Mohammad went through it to the Noble Sanctuary when he did his miraculous night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem.  The place later on carried the name of the Moroccan quarter because it was lived by the Moroccan community who immigrated to Jerusalem and wanted to live in close proximity to Al Aqsa mosque. Members of the community considered themselves as the guardians  of the mosque. See Photo 1




El Ad funding and supervision:

The on going demolition and excavation work in the religious and archeological site is being carried out with funding and supervision of a racist Jewish organization named ' El Ad', the Hebrew abbreviation of 'the custodians of David city'  which specializes in overtaking Palestinian houses and real estate in around and inside the walls of the Old City. Such a fact was uncovered by the Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz which declared that: Excavation work is not authorized by the Ministry of Antiquities and is being funded by El Ad which aims at overtaking Palestinian houses.


The actual work is being carried by the municipality of occupied Jerusalem on behalf of El Ad. It is not the first time that the Israeli government and the municipality of occupied Jerusalem have cooperated with El Ad as they have cooperated with it in illegal diggings in Burj Allaqlaq in the northwestern corner of the Old City. Currently, the Israeli Ministry of Antiquities is superficially overseeing the excavation work at the Moroccan Gate as the nature of the place dictates this fact with the presence of a large number of Israeli police personnel directed by the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, whose goal is to change the Islamic and Arabic character of the City in an effort to Judaize it and forge its true identity.




Photo 2 & 3: Israeli bulldozers working at the site


A package of lies and contradictions:  

The occupation government and the municipality of occupied Jerusalem are presenting to the local and international media and community a package of lies regarding what is taking place near the Moroccan Gate. These authorities have claimed that events near Gate are merely renovations of the historical park associated with the municipality of occupied Jerusalem and that it is taking place after consulting with all stakeholders. Dr. Gideon, the Israeli antiquities engineer, declared that all what is being done near the Gate is 'merely placing additional beams to reinforce the wooden passageway and prevent any future collapse.' He, also, mentioned that the diggings are carried out by the Ministry of Antiquities under the full protection of the Israeli police, which contradicts the Ha'aretz article. As for Eli Shokzon, another Israeli antiquates expert, he said that the project is going to take at least 3 years to finish. 


As for the Israeli daily newspaper Ma'areev it referred to a security sources as indicating that: ' The building of the bridge might be useful for security forces which will be able to assemble a large number of forces on it before forcing their way into the Temple Mount compound. Yet its construction is expected to lead to massive clashes especially when Israel starts to build a permanent structure in the most sensitive places on Earth'. 


It is worth noting that the Moroccan Gate has been used in the past as the main entry point of Israeli forces and Jewish groups into the Noble Sanctuary. Israeli authorities claim that the goal from the establishment of the intended bridge is to protect the lives of visitors after parts of the road leading to the Gate fell apart in 2004. Islamic Waqf (endowment) authorities, however, asserted that the reason behind the unraveling of the road was due to the diggings carried out by Jewish groups excavating for historical remains beneath and close to the Gate.


What has been stated so far is a set of claims, lies and contradictions by Israeli authorities that would not hesitate to practice the principle of 'ends justify the means' to implement its policies and programs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Yet, the fact remains that Israel is an Occupying Power and International Law and the Geneva Accords â�� Article 4 prohibit it from carrying out such an activity that would change the character of the City.     


Engineer Adnan Al Husseini, Director of Islamic Waqf Department in Jerusalem, indicated that Israeli declarations are completely baseless and are designed to absorb the International, Muslim, and Arab outrage. The Department went as far as considering these activities have a 'destruction characteristics.' Mr. Husseini also added that: 'The Islamic Waqf authorities have objected to the creation of the bridge since 2001. We have sent seven letters in its regard to all relevant Israeli departments, including the government itself, yet nobody has responded'.  


Prepared by
The Land Research Center

Categories: Confiscation