PA rejects Israel’s garden scheme on roofs of historic Jerusalem markets

Palestinians shop at the market in Jerusalem's Old City (Mahfouz Abu Turk - APA Images)

Middle East Monitor  /  March 19, 2021

The Palestinian Authority rejected a proposed scheme on Thursday to establish a large botanical garden on the roofs of historic markets in the Muslim quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. A statement from the Foreign Ministry condemned the proposal, describing it as part of Israel’s “Judaisation war” against Jerusalem, its citizens and sanctities.

“Changing the appearance of the market roofs is not only a crime under international law, and disrespectful to UN resolutions,” explained the ministry, “but it also makes a mockery of the international community and its legitimacy.” The project, added PA officials, would change the appearance of the historic area and falsify the city’s landmarks.

On Wednesday, the Israeli-run Jerusalem municipality announced a project to establish a botanical garden for Jewish settlers on the roofs of the historic markets in the occupied city which Israel claims as its capital. The state’s annexation of Jerusalem is illegal under international law.

The project was proposed by Ronen Harari, a Jewish businessman from Canada, who will finance the project’s NIS 15 million cost ($4.5m).