Israel plans to build a giant, 3,500-square-meter (1,000-square mile) land and pollution pollution project on top the Dome of the Rock, an iconic holy site in Jerusalem, in the hopes of preventing the construction of the Israeli separation barrier on the Temple Mount.
The project is a project of the Palestinian Authority (PA) that would include a large park that would have protected a section of the holy site.
The land and polluted water would be protected by a wall and by fencing.
The Jerusalem municipality is also expected to pay $300 million for the project, the Walla news agency reported.
The barrier would be built at the site after construction of an Israeli-Egyptian project on the other side of the Temple mount.
The two projects would be linked by a road and water access to the area.
“We want to prevent any project that threatens the integrity of the sacred sites,” said Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, according to the report.
The report said the project would be the second largest in the world, surpassing the $3.3 billion planned by the Netherlands for the site.
It would be completed in 2019 and was expected to cost $2.5 billion.
“The city is committed to the project and we are happy to help the project to reach the final stage,” Barkat told The Jerusalem News.
“But we are also willing to pay for it,” he added.
The Israeli-American group Friends of the Earth said it welcomed the project.
“While this project has been a long time coming, we are glad to see the first stage is finally underway,” Friends of Earth Jerusalem spokesperson Yael Shaked said in a statement.
“Our hope is that the city can build a wall on the site, so that we can safely and ecologically protect the holy sites for generations to come.”
The project, dubbed the Temple Barrier, is expected to benefit the PA, which is trying to build an Israeli separation fence on the West Bank that will prevent Palestinians from building illegal structures on the Haram al-Sharif site.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced last month that Israel will build the barrier, which would be 70 meters (160 feet) high and extend for 100 kilometers (60 miles) along the Temple and adjacent lands, in order to prevent Palestinians building on the holy places.
The West Bank, including Jerusalem, is home to the holiest sites in Islam, Judaism and Christianity.
The Palestinian Authority is also trying to secure the land for the construction, with a plan to build the wall along a narrow strip of land between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Palestinians believe that the wall would separate them from their homes and land and prevent the building of a Palestinian state.
The United Nations and the European Union have condemned the project as illegal, calling on Israel to halt it.
Israel has not yet responded to the EU, but its foreign minister said last week that it would consider its position on the Palestinian request.
“I hope the international community will act in a more constructive way to avoid the construction and maintenance of the barrier,” Nitzan Ben-Dahan said.