A leading Palestinian foundation has accused the Israeli occupation authorities of defacing the walls of the historic Old City with Jewish symbols, including stone reliefs of models of the proposed temple. The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage has said that the Judaization policy is part of ongoing crimes against history, civilization and Arab and Islamic heritage in Occupied Jerusalem carried out by the state of Israel.
In a press release, the Al-Aqsa Foundation said that stones in the wall have been changed under the pretext of “repair and maintenance”. However, they have not been replaced by “blank” stones; the Israelis have used stones carved with specifically Jewish symbols. This, claims the Foundation, is an attempt to destroy the city’s Arab and Islamic heritage; the Israelis, it claims, “have no right to touch these monuments, let alone make such significant changes”. Parts of the Old City wall at Bab Al-Amoud (Damascus Gate) and in the south-west section, as well as Bab Al-Gadid have been affected. Israel, it is claimed, has also Judaized district names in the Old City, calling one area “Serious Army”, for example.
The Al-Aqsa Foundation stressed that the heritage of Jerusalem is largely Arab and Islamic; Israeli efforts to claim an elusive “Hebrew history,” it says, “are doomed to failure”. It has called on the Islamic and Arab world to pay more attention to initiatives to preserve the nature of Jerusalem. It also called for the protection of the Holy City’s history in order to save the integrity of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Some observers point to the existence of Israeli organisations dedicated to the destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Dome of the Rock Mosque, and the building of a temple in their place as evidence of the real intention behind Israel’s Judaization programme in Jerusalem.