Israel’s longstanding quest to judaize the city of Jerusalem

Israel’s longstanding quest to judaize the city of Jerusalem <br>
<The Beit Haliba Plan>


For so long has Israel been working to change the status quo of Al Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings in Jerusalem city; and in view of the current security situation in the occupied West Bank and most specifically in Jerusalem city; Israel is intensifying construction in Israeli settlements in Jerusalem with particular focus on the old city of Jerusalem and its surroundings.  The plan of Beit Haliba is yet the latest example of Israel’s plans in occupied Jerusalem city. It is an initiative that was deposited back in 2012 by the so called “Western Wall Heritage Fund, an organization that promotes colonial building in the heart of Jerusalem city and runs under the jurisdiction of the Israeli Prime Minister’s office, Benyamin Netanyahu.  

In August 2015, the Israeli daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth published a detailed report revealing Israel’s intention to build a religious compound to the West of Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem city. The compound, according to the plan, will include the building of a three-storey facility with classrooms and auditorium intended to teach visitors about the history of the so called “Western Wall”; this is in addition to a library, a learning center and a guide room. On top of the building, there will be an observation floor that will be accessible by Israelis from the Jewish Quarter in the old city of Jerusalem. See Photo of Beit Haliba Plan 

Photo 1: The plan of Beit Haliba near Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem city – Source: Jerusalem Construction News.


On November 30, 2015, the Jerusalem District Planning and Construction Committee was expected to approve the construction of Beit Haliba compound. It was only on December the 2nd, that the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, revealed that the Jerusalem District gave its final approval of Beit Haliba plan on the condition that the plan to undergo some modifications including reducing the area slated for the construction of the compound, in an attempt to preserve some antiquities Israel claims to have discovered recently in the area. Under the approved plan, the area of the Beit Haliba compund is going to occupy 1.5 dunums of land, out of approximately 4,8 dunums that were slated for the original plan. See Map 1

Map 1: The location of Beit Haliba plan in Jerusalem city


The Beit Haliba plan is one among many plans being promoted in the city of Jerusalem. On the 2nd of November 2015, the Haaretz newspaper revealed that the Ateret Cohanim Jewish organization, one that promotes settlement building and taking over Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem, is cooperating with the Israeli Government to establish a new neighborhood in the city of Silwan. For more information, click here

In June 2015, the Jerusalem Municipality gave its final approval to the Israeli Tourist settlement plan, “Kedem Center” presented by El Ad foundation in 2012.  The plan targets a land belonging to Wadi Hilweh neighborhood in Silwan city south of Al Aqsa Mosque, on remnants of the locally known site “Giv’ati park”. The plan holds TPS No. 13392 and will occupy 16.6 dunums of land. For more information, click here

To conclude,

During its 48 years of occupation of the Palestinian territory including east Jerusalem, Israel has showed strong quest to strengthen its hold over Jerusalem city and in particular Al Aqsa Mosque and its environs, which severely affected the overall religious and political atmosphere. The continued Israeli colonial activities in the city of Jerusalem and the undermining of its historical, cultural and geographical features are deliberate attempts by Israel to do so.


Prepared by:  
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem