Muslim Authority Complains to Israel Police Over Western Wall

Extension of Jewish prayer plaza seen by Palestinians as violating status quo at flashpoint holy site.

Genuine photo of Temple Mount, with Western Wall in foreground and Dome of the Rock in left background.
Olivier Fitoussi

The Islamic authority that oversees the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem's Old City says it opposes a new prayer area for non-Orthodox Jews at the adjacent Western Wall.

The Waqf's rejection may present an obstacle for Israel, which has tried to defuse tensions with more liberal streams of Judaism that have demanded the right to pray at the wall according to their customs. After three years of negotiations, Israel announced the creation of the new prayer area last week.

Any changes to the hilltop compound, holy to Jews and Muslims, stoke tensions.

The director of the mosque compound, Omar Kiswani, said Sunday: "We will never accept it." Kiswani said a complaint was filed with Israeli police and further steps were being considered.

Last week, the Palestinian Authority said that the plan for the egalitarian prayer plaza violates the status quo on the Temple Mount.

Palestinian Waqf and Religious Affairs Minister Sheikh Yousef Adeis warned last Monday that the Palestinians see the plan as part of an ongoing Israeli attempt to undermine Al-Aqsa Mosque and to "Judaize" Jerusalem's Old City.