The Israeli Occupation authority has recently removed the dome and crescent of the minaret of the Jerusalem Citadel, south-west of the Old City, sparking widespread anger among Palestinians, The Palestine Information Centre reports.
The Jerusalem Citadel is an ancient citadel located near the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. The current structure is a composition of Ayyubid, Crusader, Mamluk, and Ottoman constructions, in addition to the ancient Roman fortification. However, large portions of the contemporary structure date back to the Mamluk period, with some additions from the rebuilding of the city walls during the Ottoman period.
Following the Israeli capture of Jerusalem in 1967, Israel took control of the Citadel and turned it into a museum, after renaming it: “The Tower of David” or “Jerusalem History Museum”. Prayers were prevented in the Citadel’s two mosques located near the Hebron Gate (one of the Old City gates).
Once the dome and crescent were removed under the supervision of the so-called “Israeli Antiquities Authority”, the museum’s administration declared on its website that “The Tower of David Museum” is undergoing a $50 million renovation to update its permanent exhibition.
“The Tower of David is a special site that represents all the archaeological layers of Jerusalem,” said the museum’s Director and Chief Curator, Eilat Lieber.
The current renovations, said Lieber, are only the first phase of a much bigger project.
However, the renovation process has another dark face. Jerusalemites warned that a series of violations were carried out during the restoration work, with the aim of wiping out all Islamic features which confirm its Islamic identity.
Speaking to the PIC reporter, Head of the Jerusalemite Commission for Combating Judaisation, Nasser Al-Hadmi, said that Israel is using the restoration work pretexts to obscure the Islamic identity of the occupied city of Jerusalem.
The castle mosque, he said, was built by Sultan Al-Nasir Muhammad bin Qalawun, stressing that Israel cannot change these realities and important landmarks of the historic holy city.
He further considered the Israeli restoration works as a flagrant attack on this Islamic archaeological place in a failed attempt to support the Israeli narrative of the story.