January 26, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian leadership on Wednesday called on the UN to send a fact-finding mission to inspect Israel's excavations in Jerusalem, an official said.

Ahmed Al-Rouidi, Jerusalem's unit chief at President Mahmoud Abbas' office, said the Palestinian contacts with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and international parties to "work immediately to stop digging more tunnels beneath Al-Aqsa Mosque."

Al-Rouidi told Xinhua that the digging under the mosque threatens the third holiest shrine in Islam. He noted that 27 tunnels have been dug so far, saying the excavation was part of an Israeli plan to make Jerusalem look more Jewish.

On Tuesday, Israeli authorities said the construction of a tunnel under Jerusalem's Old City was completed. Israel occupied the city in 1967 and annexed its eastern part, which the Palestinians seek as their future capital.

On Sunday, Qatar's Al-Jazeera news channel revealed classified documents that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) was ready to let Israel annex Jewish settlements and neighborhoods in East Jerusalem as part of a compromise enabling the creation of a Palestinian state.

Palestinian leaders denied what they called Al-Jazeera's campaign, adding the documents were cut out of context. On Tuesday, President Abbas said the Palestinians "will die but will not give up Jerusalem."


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017