Israeli media reports have unveiled for the first time a scheme which threatens Al-Magharbeh Hill and the historic sites close by. The so-called “Sharansky Proposal” is to expand the Buraq (“Western”) Wall plaza to the south-west of the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa, destroying the historic hill and Islamic sites in the process. The intention is to provide additional prayer areas for Jews.
Natan Sharansky is the head of the extremist Jewish Agency who was born in Russia. His proposal is to extend the plaza in front of the Buraq Wall – know to Jews as the Western, or Wailing, Wall – towards what Israelis call Robinson’s Arch on the southern wall of the Islamic Sanctuary. The proposal has been drafted in response to an order from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to do something about keeping Jewish men and women separate when saying their prayers at the Wall. Sharansky believes that his idea will satisfy Orthodox as well as Reform Jews by providing one area for men, a second for women and a third which will be for both.
According to the media reports, the Sharansky Proposal enjoys support from all relevant groups in Israel and the diaspora, especially in the US. Sharansky is currently in America to explain his scheme before making a presentation to Netanyahu for final approval.
Palestinians regard this as yet another stage in Israel’s Judaisation of the occupied Holy City.