Occupied Jerusalem, ALRAY - Israeli occupation authorities have never stopped their plans to take over the Bab Al-Rahma prayer hall, located east of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, aiming to transform it into a Jewish synagogue as part of their temporal and spatial division scheme for the mosque.
The Islamic Christian Organization for the Support of Jerusalem and Holy Sites issued a warning on Tuesday over an Israeli plan to establish a permanent religious structure within the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque.
It stated that Israeli occupation authorities seek, through their renewed attack on the prayer hall destroying and looting of its contents, to close it and revert it back to its state prior to February 2019, when Palestinians rallied to reopen it despite the occupation's attempts.
Since last Saturday, the occupation police have continued their attacks on the prayer hall by storming it with shoes on, cutting off the call to prayer, damaging the electricity network, speakers, lighting, and all its contents. In addition, they have expelled worshippers and confiscated their IDs.
Israeli occupation authorities are attempting to seize control of the prayer hall and its surrounding area on the eastern side of the mosque, as well as trying to separate the Bab Al-Rahma prayer hall from the rest of the mosque.
Bab Al-Rahma is considered one of the oldest and most famous gates in the eastern wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and it has great religious and historical significance. It consists of two huge gates, the Rahma gate to the south and the Tawba gate to the north.
In 2003, the Israeli police closed down the Bab Al-Rahma building which was the headquarters for the Islamic Heritage Committee, claiming that it was being used for political activities. In 2017, an Israeli court issued a judicial order to keep the building closed until further notice, citing the 'anti-terrorism law.
However, in February 2019, the people of Jerusalem challenged the Israeli occupation with their resilience and strong will, and reopened the Bab Al-Rahma prayer hall, defying the occupation's measures and praying in it for the first time in 16 years after it had been closed.
The organization stated, "The Bab Al-Rahma prayer hall is an integral part of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and any attempt by the occupation to change its current status quo will have serious consequences for which the occupation will be held responsible."
The Deputy Director of the Islamic Waqf Department in Jerusalem, Sheikh Najeh Bakirat, has stated that the occupation always follows a policy of gradual control over holy sites, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in order to evacuate Bab al-Rahma and remove worshippers from it. He added that the occupation is attempting to sever this important artery, as it is a highly significant area.
He adds that the occupation is gradually trying to make Bab al-Rahma empty of worshippers in order to achieve its aspirations of re-closing it as it did in 2003, and considering it outside the boundaries of Al-Aqsa Mosque and not an integral part of it, as a prelude to turning it into a Jewish synagogue and using it as an integral part of the alleged "Temple".
The organization urged Jordan and all Arab and Islamic countries to assume their responsibilities and not stand idly by in the face of the risks facing the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and to take all measures to confront the plans of the occupation to change the Islamic identity of the mosque.