The Israeli authorities today unveiled a new Jewish synagogue under the Al-Buraq Wall – known to Jews as the Western Wall – in occupied East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
“Following 12 years of construction, the new synagogue was opened on Monday evening,” the Heritage Foundation of the Western Wall, an Israeli governmental body, said in a statement.
“The unique design of the prayer hall combines rare art and unique lighting, creating a wonderful contrast between ancient and modern,” the statement read.
In recent years, Islamic institutions in East Jerusalem have lodged repeated protests over excavations being carried out by the Israeli authorities under the flashpoint mosque compound.
In a statement, Sheikh Ekrema Sabri, head of Jerusalem’s Supreme Islamic Council and a former Al-Aqsa imam, stressed that the Al-Buraq Wall was a component of the Al-Aqsa’s western wall.
“The wall is part of our Islamic heritage and will remain so until Judgment Day,” Sabri said.
“The Israeli occupation has no claim on Jerusalem’s heritage,” he added. “This new synagogue… doesn’t have any historical roots.”
“All new construction by the [Israeli] occupation authorities in Jerusalem is illegitimate and lacks a historical basis,” Sabri said, adding the holy city “cannot be partitioned”.
In October 2016, UNESCO voted on a resolution which denied any Jewish connection to Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Buraq Wall in occupied Jerusalem.
Tension has mounted in the occupied territories since US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on 6 December, drawing condemnation from across the world. Yesterday the United Nationals Security Council voted 14 to one against Trump’s decision, however due to the US power of veto a resolution could not be passed against his unilateral move.