The Islamic Waqf has been working with bulldozers and other heavy equipment on the grounds– something which Olmert approved, and which Waqf personnel may now be using to damage or cover up Jewish artifacts. But, let them destroy this, too, and maybe then there will be peace, right?
“Israel OK with Muslims destroying its history?” by Aaron Klein for World Net Daily:
JERUSALEM — Did the Israeli police allow the Muslim custodians of the Temple Mount — Judaism’s holiest site — to carry out illegal construction on the Mount last week that may have damaged antiquities and make it more difficult for archaeologists to find temple artifacts?
That’s the question being asked by Temple Mount activists and archaeologists here after it was discovered the Waqf, the Mount’s Islamic custodians, last week used a heavy tractor to lay massive stone tiles over an area of the Mount some archaeologists believe a Second Temple wall was recently discovered.
Pictures of the purported wall surfaced after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last summer gave the Waqf permission to use tractors to dig a 1300-foot trench around the periphery of the Mount. The Waqf claimed the trench was necessary to replace electrical cables outside mosques on the site.
Allowing the use of bulldozers at any sensitive archaeological site is extremely unusual, particularly at the Temple Mount, which experts say contains sealed layers of artifacts as shallow as two to three feet below the surface.
The Mount has never been properly excavated. Heavy equipment could easily damage any existing artifacts, stress Israeli experts, who assert the area should be excavated slowly and carefully by hand.
This week, the Jerusalem police reportedly stopped Waqf workers from continuing what Jerusalem police chief Aharon Franco described to the Jerusalem Post as unauthorized “surfacing work.”
“It is our duty to ensure that the status quo is maintained on the Temple Mount,” Franco said.
The surfacing work involved the Waqf using a tractor to raise the ground on the northern side of the Temple Mount, according to witnesses speaking to WND. Workers then laid stones that were about 9 inches thick along a large area in the north near where some Israeli archaeologists believe a Second Temple wall was found during this summer’s Waqf construction.
The stones change the status quo in the area by covering the ground with a think layer, thus making excavations less likely, Temple activists charged.
The Palestinian Authority’s Waqf director Jerusalem Affairs Minister Adnan Husseini labeled the construction as “restoration work” of “deteriorated tiles.”
“They are not digging or doing anything there but restoration,” Husseini said.
The police on Thursday stopped the Waqf work, which was taking place during the two hours in the morning in which Jews are allowed to ascend the Mount.
Due to Israeli restrictions, the Temple Mount is open only to non-Muslims Sundays through Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and not on any Christian, Jewish or Muslim holidays or other days considered “sensitive” by the Waqf, the Mount’s Islamic custodians.
“I personally watched the workers use a tractor and place thick stones into the ground in the area where the trench was dug this summer. It looked like the work began weeks ago. The whole area was raised up, a lot of work was done and big stones were being placed,” said Rabbi Chaim Richman, director of the international department at Israel’s Temple Institute.
Richman said he was on the Mount Thursday when a scuffle ensued during which the Jerusalem police stopped the Waqf construction. But the Waqf still managed to cover a large section with the deep stone tiles, a Waqf worker told WND.
The Waqf worker, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he was “surprised” the police acted to halt the stone-laying, since, he said, Jerusalem police forces did not stop the Waqf or question the Islamic custodians last month when they transported the large stones onto the Mount.