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Israel to Demolish Mosque in Al-Quds
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, June1 , 2005 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) – Israel is planning to knock down a 20 -year-old mosque in Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem), as part of its steady demolition policy in the holy city.
An Israeli spokesman claimed Tuesday, May31 , that Badr mosque would be razed because it was built without a permit, reported Reuters.
He said the building is not recognized by the Israeli authorities as a mosque, adding that a date for the demolition was not yet set.
"We are not going to demolish any mosque…We are going to demolish a structure that is not completed."
The Badr mosque, which falls under the control of the Waqfs department, the official caretaker of Muslim sites in the holy city, is currently under reparation. It was built in 1986 .
The Israeli decision drew fire from Palestinian religious bodies and officials.
"We consider decisions like this as consecration of a policy of religious oppression and a violation of the sanctity of mosques and holy sites," said Al-Aqsa Society of the Reconstruction of Holy Shrines.
Adnan Al-Husseini, the director of the Waqfs Department, described the planned demolition of the mosque is a political issue.
"This is a mosque built between houses. It is not in the desert or in the middle of the street."
Israel captured Al-Quds in 1967 and later annexed in a move not internationally recognized drew condemnation and outrage from many Muslim groups.
Palestinians maintain that the holy city will be the capital of their future state.
Palestinian workers at the mosque site said they were restoring the older mosque -- putting in stone walls, removing rubbish and reinforcing the ceiling, which had leaked in winter.
Israel, however, claims that the building is fresh illegal construction, not yet finished.
"The municipality's policy is to exterminate illegal construction all over Jerusalem, which hurts law and order, puts a heavy burden on taxpayers and damages the quality of life for all the people of Jerusalem," the city said in a statement.
The municipality said it had demolished 22 buildings in East Jerusalem in 2005 and that the demolition decision could be appealed.
Palestinians and rights groups say building permits are nearly impossible for Arabs to obtain, and many build without them.
The Israeli human rights group B'tselem says Israeli housing demolitions have increased in East Jerusalem since the start in 2000 of the Palestinian Intifada, citing anecdotal evidence and reports from field workers.
In September2000 , Al-Aqsa Intifada erupted in the wake of the provocative visit of then Israeli opposition leader Sharon to Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site.
In October,2004 , a UN report accused Israel of severe human rights violations against Palestinians, including "wanton" destruction of infrastructure.