Israel Seizes Land near Al-Aqsa Mosque to Establish National Park

JERUSALEM, August 16, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities on Sunday seized a piece of land adjacent to the eastern wall of al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem as a prelude to establish a national part at the site, according to Wadi Hilweh Information Center (WHIC).

WHIC said staff from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) accompanied by special police units broke into the area, located near the Islamic Rahma cemetery, and cordoned off the area before proceeding to place barbered wires around the tract of land without any prior notice.

The land, which has an area of about seven dunums, is owned by the Husseini and Ansari families of East Jerusalem.

The INPA staff told Mohammad Elayyan, an attorney for the Husseini family, that this step was taken to prevent the spread of graves from the Rahma grave site to the targeted land, which INPA said would be used for the establishment of a national park.

The attorney demanded the INPA staff to show the legal papers that authorizes them to work on the land after they purportedly claimed to have obtained a court order.

Elayyan said the seizure of the land contradicts with the Israeli law itself, which prevents any authority from confiscating a real estate without informing its owner.

He said INPA temporarily suspended its work at the site until they show the legal papers they claim to have obtained.

Member of the PLO executive committee and Chairman of the Department of Jerusalem affairs, Ahmed Qurei, condemned this Israeli measure and called on the international community and international humanitarian organizations to acknowledge the gravity and seriousness of what is happening to the Palestinian people.