STORY HIGHLIGHTS

 

  • Palestinians have long complained that Jewish extremists are being allowed to pray at the site, in contravention of agreements.
  • Israel’s efforts to bring larger numbers of Jews into the Old City were highlighted with a new government-sponsored programme of ceremonies at the Western wall.

Palestinian leaders have denounced new construction projects they say will further tighten Israel‘s grip on occupied East Jerusalem and its holy places, including the incendiary site of Al-Aqsa mosque.

The most elaborate plan is for a cable car intended to bring thousands of visitors an hour to the Western Wall and its Jewish prayer plaza immediately below al-Haram al-Sharif, a compound containing Al-Aqsa and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock.

The $56m project was unveiled at a meeting of the Israeli cabinet in tunnels below the al-Haram al-Sharif. It is the first time the cabinet has met in Jerusalem’s Old City, which Israelannexed in violation of international law.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the meeting in the provocative location late last month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem.