On May 2 a Jerusalem court gave the go-ahead for the partial destruction Muhammad Al-Fatih Mosque
By Elham Asaad Buaras
The Israeli Government has been given the go-ahead to demolish part of a Jerusalem mosque.
The permission for the partial destruction of Muhammad Al-Fatih Mosque, in East Jerusalem, was granted on May 2 by an Israeli court despite appeals from several Palestinian members of the Israeli Parliament.
A Jerusalem court first ordered the demolition of the section in 2012, but the decision was appealed.
“The 70-square-meter section was built in 2009 to increase the mosque’s capacity, particularly on Fridays, as thousands of people who are denied access to the al-Aqsa mosque”, said the mosque Imam Abu Diab.
Israeli control of the Al Aqsa mosque began a decade ago when the then Israeli Prime Minister along with 1000 strong security force marched on Islam’s third holiest site. The following day Israeli forces opened fire on crowds of unarmed demonstrators in al-Aqsa compound, killing seven and wounding more than 100.
Israeli takeover of East Jerusalem was compounded with the construction of the Annexation Wall through Palestinian land. Palestinians living on the east side of the Wall have been unable to enter Jerusalem except with special permits which are extremely difficult to obtain.
To deal with the influx of worshippers, the Muhammed Al-Fatih mosque applied for a permit to expand. That permit, like virtually every permit filed by Palestinians for construction on existing property, was denied. Facing a weekly overload of its capacity, the Mosque’s managers decided to complete the expansion anyway.
The section in question is designated for female worshippers, who will be unable to participate in weekly services once the demolition is completed.
The Imam of the Mosque, Sheikh Sabri Abu Diab, said that it was built in 1964, prior to Israel’s takeover of Jerusalem in 1967. Because of that, it should not be subject of Israeli authorities.
The Court’s decision cannot be appealed. But several Palestinian Members of the Knesset, including Ibrahim Sarsour, Masoud Ghanayim and Talab Abu Arar, said that they will attempt to stop the demolition.