The officials called the allegations “baseless” and a “mere pretext to take over Islamic holy places”.
On Sunday, an unnamed Israeli security official was quoted by the Israeli state-run radio as saying that the Marwani mosque, previously known as Solomon’s Stables, was increasingly unstable and ready to give way.
The Israeli official said the presence of hundreds of thousands of Muslim worshippers during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan could accelerate the collapse of the ancient structure.
“We have been hearing such tendentious statements for a long time. We know for sure that these remarks are aimed at fabricating a pretext to seize a foothold in the Haram al-Sharif [Noble Sanctuary],” Adnan al-Husayni, head of the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem, said.
“We invited highly professional experts from Egypt and other countries who examined everything here. And they said everything
He told Aljazeera.net that an internationally reputable engineering firm which specialises in antiquities and ancient structures recently, examined the Marwani mosque and concluded that the structure was sound and faced no danger.
“We invited highly professional experts from Egypt and other countries who examined everything here. And they said everything was fine.”
Al-Husayni said there were no cracks or other worrying signs to indicate that the structure was facing some kind of a danger.
“Now they claim they care about the safety of Muslims. That is a real joke,” he said.
Another Waqf (religious endowment) official, Shaikh Muhammad Husayn, accused Israel of “targeting al-Aqsa Mosque for destruction”.
He said: “If you ask me, if al-Aqsa Mosque is in danger, the answer is definitely yes. But the dangers are not from nature but from Israel’s criminal plans against the house of God.”
Some argue that Israel wants to
Husayn argued that Israel wanted to achieve two goals through rumour-mongering.
“First, intimidating and scaring off Muslim worshippers, and, second, using rumours as a cover for possible vandalism against al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said.
He told Aljazeera.net Israel was barring millions of Muslims from the West Bank and Gaza Strip from accessing the site for the 10th consecutive year.
Husayn said: “If Jews were denied access to their religious places, the Jews would leave no stone unturned in protest against the act.
“However, systematically they bar Muslims and Christians from accessing their respective holy places in Jerusalem. This is a cardinal crime no matter how one looks at it. Therefore, the world should call the spade a spade and not be intimidated by the Israeli regime.”
Marwani mosque was known as Solomon’s Stables when they were used by the Crusaders to house and feed their horses during their invasions of Palestine in the 11th and 12th centuries.
Many Palestinians suspect Israel
However, the Islamic Waqf, in cooperation with the Islamic Movement in Israel, renovated the place some years ago against the wishes of the Israeli occupation authorities.
Israel has been carrying out excavation work beneath and in the vicinity of al-Aqsa in a desperate effort to locate the remnants of an old Jewish temple in the area.
But after more than 37 years of digging, archaeologists have found no evidence of any ancient Jewish structure.
A number of Jewish extremist groups openly call for the destruction of the Islamic holy places in East Jerusalem in order to build a Jewish temple in its place.
Some Jewish theologians believe the building of such a temple is a pre-requisite for the appearance of the Jewish Messiah, or redeemer, who will rule the entire world from Jerusalem.
Last month, Israeli Internal Security Minister Tzahi Henegbi warned that Jewish fanatics might be planning to carry out a serious attack on al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in order to thwart Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s unilateral plan to withdraw from Gaza.
The Haram al-Sharif, which some Jews call Temple Mount, is considered one of the most insurmountable issues of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The place is considered Islam’s third holiest site after the Sacred Mosque in Makka and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madina, Saudi Arabia.