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Monday Nov. 22, 2010 9:12 PM (EST+7)
Palestinians declare Israeli Western Wall development plan 'illegal'

Read more: Western wall, Jerusalem, East Jerusalem, Old City, Ghassan Khatib, development plan

RAMALLAH, November 22 (JMCC) - Palestinians have condemned Israel’s recent approval of a £15m five-year plan to develop the area around the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site. The Western Wall lies in the most sensitive and contested part of Jerusalem’s Old City.

The Western, or Wailing, Wall – revered by Jews as the last remnant of the Second Temple – draws millions of tourists every year to pray or to watch Jewish worshippers stuff handwritten prayers on scraps of paper into cracks between the historic stones.

The plan approved by the Israeli cabinet is to improve access to the wall and the surrounding plaza as well as nearby archaeological sites, to cater for the growing number of tour buses and private cars, and provide educational facilities. It is a continuation of an earlier five-year plan approved in 2004.

Immediately above the wall is the Muslim compound known as Haram al-Sharif, which houses the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque, the third most holy site in Islam. The area is known to Jews as Temple Mount.

The announcement of the plan drew sharp criticism from the Palestinians.
Any Israeli activities in the occupied part of Jerusalem are illegal, Ghassan Khatib of the Palestinian Authority told Haaretz.

It's not healthy as far as the peace process is concerned because peace would require the end of the occupation of East Jerusalem, he said.

Read more at The Guardian…






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