The Israeli military has started construction on a new tank in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, where Palestinians are demanding the return of the al-Aqsa Mosque.
The tank, the largest in Israel’s arsenal, will be constructed in the al-‘Aqsiya neighborhood of Bethlehem and will include four tracks for infantry fighting vehicles, one for tanks, and one for helicopters, the army said on Wednesday.
In order to be able to use the vehicle, the tanks will need to have three tracks, one of which is a tank tread.
It will have four tracks and one of them will be a track for infantry tanks, the Israeli army said in a statement.
It is a significant step for the Israeli military to begin construction on the tank, which has been a source of frustration for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other members of the Israeli government.
The United Nations said in February that it would be “gravely concerned” about the construction of the tank.
The PA is demanding the removal of the Muslim holy site, which is the third holiest site in Islam, from Israeli control.
The Palestinian Authority also called for the withdrawal of Israeli settlers from the area, saying that if the construction goes ahead, it will result in the destruction of al-Aswan, the birthplace of Muhammad, and “destruction of the Palestinian people.”
Abbas’ Fatah party, which holds the majority in the Palestinian parliament, has long pushed for the mosque to be moved from the West Bank to East Jerusalem.