Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage claims Israel planning to build new cultural center near the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
by Elad Benari
Israel is planning to build a new structure on the Temple Mount, adjacent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency reported on Saturday.
The report cited the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage, which claimed that a committee within the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem has submitted plans for the new structure.
According to the foundation, the 3,700-square-meter structure will be built near the Mughrabi Gate. It will consist of five floors, two of which will be underground.
The building will reportedly be designed to include a Jewish museum, lecture halls, exhibition halls, a library and archives center, and a center for information.
Ma'an quoted a statement by the Al-Aqsa Foundation, which claimed the structure would be built on Islamic and Arab ruins.
"The building will serve settlers and foreign tourists who visit the square," the foundation said. "The Israeli archeology department has been digging and excavating for about five years demolishing structures that date back to different Arab and Islamic eras."
Israel has not officially responded to the claims, a report on Israel's Channel 2 News on Saturday said.
Last week, the Al Aqsa Heritage Foundation's website featured photos of IDF soldiers touring the Temple Mount. The foundation claimed that two photos are of a Jewish man urinating on a wall within the Temple Mount compound.
However, the website did not provide any evidence that the man is indeed Jewish or that he was indeed engaged in the act they claim he was engaged in. Nor is there any account or documentation that he was approached by anyone following his supposed act of sacrilege, as one would have expected to happen.