Jerusalem: In yet another provocative step, the mayor of Jerusalem’s Israeli-controlled municipality Nir Barkat stormed into the historic Umayyad-era palaces next to the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa in the occupied city and announced that they are part of the “Holy Basin” of religious sites.
Barkat was joined by illegal settlers and Member of the Knesset Yehuda Glick of the extreme right-wing Likud party, according to Middle East Monitor.
The palaces to the south and west of Al-Aqsa Mosque were built during the Umayyad era to serve as the administrative headquarters for the management of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque affairs.
Jewish organisations allege that they were built on top of specifically Jewish sites, but excavations over the past 40 years have not revealed any evidence to suggest that the area was in any way related to the Temple.
The Jerusalem Islamic Waqf has condemned Barkat’s declaration. A statement from the religious endowment body has pointed out that Israel occupied the area in 1967 and has been trying to annex it ever since under the pretext that it is part of the Temple Mount.