Erekat welcomes UN's report on Israel's excavations in East Jerusalem

Press Releases
March 15, 2007

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat supports UNESCO’s call for immediate halt of Israeli excavations in East Jerusalem

The Negotiations Affairs Department welcomes the call made yesterday by the technical mission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for Israel to immediately halt excavations and works on the Haram al Sharif Magharbeh Gate. This call came following a visit to the old city of Jerusalem to assess the works conducted by Israel on the Magharbeh Gate, leading to the Haram al-Sharif.

Calling upon Israel to immediately halt excavations in accordance with the UNESCO report, and embark upon a process of consultation and agreement with all of the concerned parties, in particular the Islamic Waqf, Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat said “Israel is throwing matches at the powder keg of religious sensitivity at one of the world’s most sacred sites. These excavations must cease immediately.”

Dr. Erekat stated that Israel’s provocative and unilateral policy of creating facts on the ground to consolidate its occupation in East Jerusalem threatens any prospect for a negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Dr. Erekat called for UNESCO to remain actively appraised of this dangerous situation and all other Israeli actions within the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls.

On February 6th, 2007, Israel began construction work on an entrance to the Haram al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary—the site where Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven. The entrance, known as al-Magharbeh gate road, is considered to be part of Haram al-Sharif and includes two rooms that lead to another mosque in the Holy complex. 


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