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Jerusalem municipality reverses decision to demolish ‘New Al-Aqsa’

Zionist group Im Tirtzu says the mosque's dome symbolizes "absolute opposition to the existence of the State of Israel."

The golden dome built on top of the Al-Rachman Mosque in Beit Safafa, Jerusalem, Dec. 16, 2021. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
The golden dome built on top of the Al-Rachman Mosque in Beit Safafa, Jerusalem, Dec. 16, 2021. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

The Jerusalem municipality has agreed not to move forward with the demolition of a golden-domed mosque in the Beit Safafa neighborhood, built in part without permits, after reaching a compromise agreement with local residents.

In recent days, after discussions between neighborhood representatives and the city, the municipality decided to advance permits for the building.

The mosque will be renovated by changing the color of its golden dome and lowering it one meter. 

In January 2022, the municipality petitioned the Court of Local Affairs to issue a demolition order for the Al-Rahman Mosque, which is nicknamed the “New Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

The demolition was approved on the basis that a floor in the building was built without a permit and a further 700 square meters (just over 7,500 square feet) of the compound was built without permits or the approval of certified engineers, and therefore posed a safety risk.

In its petition, the city said that in 2017-2018, there “was built in the compound without a permit an additional floor made of concrete walls with stone coatings and openings for windows and doors two meters high, and above the floor was built an addition five meters high on which they placed iron constructions [the dome].”

The municipality requested the demolition after pressure from Zionist groups including Im Tirtzu and Lach Jerusalem.

Im Tirtzu criticized the city’s reversal in a statement on Monday: “We condemn the compromise that was reached with the criminals from Beit Safafa. … An illegal structure that is illegally erected to symbolize the absolute opposition to the existence of the State of Israel should have been painted blue and thrown into the sea. Otherwise it’s just surrender.”

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