Arab Group: Kotel Belongs to Islam
An Arab organization opposed to the Jewish presence in Jerusalem over the weekend proclaimed that Israel's plans to expand the prayer area for women at the Kotel was “very dangerous.” The Islamic-Christian Council for Support of Al-Quds and the Holy Places, as the organization is known, said that Jews did not have a right to expand the prayer area at the Kotel, or even to pray there at all, because the Kotel is a part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
According to Islamic lore, the Kotel is known as “Al-Buraq,” the place where Muhammad tied up his donkey when he ascended to heaven from the site of the Beit Hamikdash, the Jewish Temple on the Mount.
A statement by the organization said that archaeological work planned for the Kotel area endangered the physical integrity of the Temple Mount and the mosques on it. Israel's plan to rebuild a bridge to the Temple Mount is actually a cover to expand the prayer area for Jews, the organization said, warning against Israel's efforts to turn “Al-Buraq Plaza” into “a religious center for Jews.” The entire area of the Kotel Plaza, the group said, constitutes the entrance to the Mosque compound, and “is historically an important area of Al-Aqsa Mosque. The 'Judaization' of this area is a very dangerous development,” the group said.
The group said in its statement that the uprisings in the Arab world had made Israel more cautious in its policies in Jerusalem. “The occupiers are weighing their actions more carefully than in the past, including actions that could endanger mosques, especially Al-Aqsa, because they fear the wrath of the Arab public and officials. Despite this the occupiers have taught us that they readily break all rules and customs and are constantly looking for ways to enact their plans for Al-Aqsa,” the statement said.