Dr. Hanna Issa condemned Israel for opening a recently uncovered, 2,000-year old-road that leads to the Temple Mount, claiming the government is trying to change Jerusalem’s demographics.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
A leading Palestinian Authority (PA) official condemned Israel for opening an ancient road that leads to the Temple Mount on Sunday, according to an Arabic report Tuesday.
Dr. Hanna Issa, secretary-general of the PA’s Islamic-Christian Council for Jerusalem and the Holy Places, said that the refurbishment of the 2,000-year-old Pilgrimage Road is one of “the grave violations committed by the Israeli occupation forces against Al-Aqsa Mosque,” according to the Al Watan Voice, an Arab news website.
The road served as the main thoroughfare for pilgrims walking from the Pool of Siloam, where they would ritually purify themselves, en route to the Holy Temple during the Second Temple Period.
The festive inauguration of the newest tourism attraction in the City of David was attended by U.S. envoys Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman. Issa condemned “the participation and blessing of the United States of America.”
Shaul Goldstein, director of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, said: “It is extremely moving to walk on the road on which Prophets, Kings, Cohanim [Priests] and the entire Jewish nation walked to reach the Temple Mount in ancient times.”
In mid-June, the Arabic news site reported that Issa charged Israel with having in place “procedures for the Judaization of the city of Jerusalem in full.” According to the Fatah Revolutionary Council member, this includes a deliberate attempt to change the demographics in the eastern part of the city and reduce the Palestinian presence there. Among the steps he says Israel has taken are “the demolition of houses, the withdrawal of identities [ sic – Israeli identity cards], the abstention from birth registration.”
The report quoted Issa as calling on the UN “to mobilize international efforts” to stop Israel from making the Judaization of the city “a fait accompli.”
Issa made similar charges in January, when the government ratified a plan to install a cable car in Jerusalem from the First Station to the Old City that would attract tourists and help the disabled reach the Western Wall.
As noted in the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida and translated Palestinian Media Watch, he said, “This plan is most dangerous, as it has a role in the Judaization of the holy city [Jerusalem], as it completes the Judaization plots that are being carried out on the ground through excavations, the theft of history and antiquities.”
The cable car itself, he charged, “will lead to the destruction of the holy city’s image, and will make Judaizing changes to it that will overshadow its Arabness.”