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Committee protests dig at Temple Mount

reprinted from Haaretz
25 Tammuz 5767, 11 July, 2007

by Nadav Shragai

The Waqf Muslim religious trust is digging a ditch from the northern side of the Temple Mount compound to the Dome of the Rock as a prelude to infrastructure work in the area, generating protests from archaeologists.

The dig has been approved by the police, but the Israel Antiquities Authority declined to respond to the Waqf's excavations and would not comment on whether one of its archaeologists had approved the move.

The Committee for the Prevention of Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, an apolitical group comprised of archaeologists and intellectuals from the left and right, criticized the use of a tractor for excavation at the Temple Mount "without real, professional and careful archaeological supervision involving meticulous documentation."

Speaking for the committee yesterday, archaeologist Eilat Mazar said: "There is disappointment at the turning of a blind eye and the ongoing contempt for the tremendous archaeological importance of the Temple Mount."

[Click here for exclusive photographs of the illegal work.]

At the beginning of the year, Israeli excavations near the Temple Mount, part of a plan to rebuild the Mugrabi bridge walkway, led to violent protests from Arabs in Israel and around the world.

Unsupervised Islamic Digging on Temple Mount

reprinted from Arutz 7
25 Tammuz 5767, 11 July 07 07:08

by Ezra HaLevi

( The Islamic Wakf is digging large ditches on the Temple Mount without archaeological supervision to protect antiquities at Judaism's holiest site.

Photos of the construction were publicized earlier this week. Investigation revealed that the dig had been approved by the police, though not coordinated with any archaeological authorities. The ditch is being dug in the direction of the Dome of the Rock, the site of the Holy Temple, according to most opinions.

Police approval of the project, which involves heavy machinery, as well as a JCB tractor, seemingly contravened the law, which requires coordination with Israel's Antiquity Authority.

Two archaeology students were detained by police Tuesday after asking workers questions about the dig. "The workers ignored us and called a wakf official over. He complained to the police and upon our exiting the mount we were detained," one of the students told Arutz-7.

Past excavations carried out by the wakf resulted in tons of archaeologically priceless artifacts being mixed with garbage and dumped in the Kidron Valley. Some of that dumped earth was transported to the Tzurim Valley, below Hebrew University, where archaeological students are still sifting through after finding antiquities from the First and Second Temple periods.

A group of archaeologists, the Committee for the Prevention of the Destruction of Temple Mount Antiquities, has protested the latest unsupervised construction by the wakf, demanding that archaeologists be brought in to conduct the digging in a professional and documented manner.

Click here for exclusive photographs of the illegal work.



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