The Temple Institute: 'Allah' still inscribed on Mount Wall

 

 


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'Allah' still inscribed on Mount Wall

reprinted from The Jerusalem Post
13:48 Apr. 12, 2005

by Etgar Lefkovits

The word "Allah" written in Arabic remained etched on the eastern wall of the Temple Mount Tuesday, two weeks after the Jerusalem holy site was vandalized.

The vandalism was discovered last month on a half meter section of the 2,000 year old wall, which is undergoing repair by a team of Jordanians.

Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said that police suspect that one of the Jordanian workers repairing the wall was behind the graffiti.

Israeli archaeologists said that the "grave" incident was a direct result of Israel's hands-off policy regarding the goings-on at the Temple Mount, and symptomatic of the lack of Israeli archaeological inspection at the ancient site.

"This vandalism, coupled with Israel's lack of archaeological supervision at Judaism's holiest site, is simply lawlessness of the first order on the part of the Government," said Temple Mount expert and Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar.

Mazar voiced disbelief that after two weeks the vandalism was still in place, and had not been removed by the Antiquities Authority.

The non-partisan 'Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount,' which has been decrying the lack of archaeological supervision at the site for five years now, launched a complaint with police against the vandalism last month.

In a terse statement, Israel's Antiquities Authority, which is nominally charges with supervision of the holy site, said Tuesday that the incident was "being dealt with."

Jerusalem police had said the damage was to be "immediately repaired," adding that security cameras in place at the site failed to pick up the perpetrators since the area in question was being renovated by the Jordanians.

According to decades-old regulations in place at the site, Israel maintains overall security control of the Temple Mount while the Wakf or Islamic Trust is in charge of the day- to-day maintenance of the compound.

After the vandalism was uncovered, Wakf director Adnan Husseini said that he saw nothing wrong with the 'Allah inscription' on the Temple Mount wall. "What's the problem with that? It's the name of God," he said.

In the past, Israeli archaeologists have repeatedly condemned Wakf destruction of antiquities at the history-rich site, often as a the result of their unilateral construction and renovation projects on the compound.

In the late 1990's, following the construction of an underground mosque at the site, Islamic Wakf officials dumped more than 12,000 tons of earth, with history-rich artifacts, at a garbage dump outside the Old City, an action which Israeli archaeologists called "an unprecedented archaeological crime."

In contravention of Israeli law, archaeologists from the Antiquities Authority have not been carrying out supervision for more than four years now at the bitterly contested site due to their concern about renewed Palestinian violence at the compound.

During this period, Israel has been keen to involve the Jordanians in the ongoing repair work on theTemple Mount, with the Jordanians considered to be more moderate than the Palestinian heads of the Wakf appointed by the late Yasser Arafat.

The little-frequented eastern wall, which is surrounded by an archaeological garden, is one of the retaining walls - such as the famed Western Wall - around the Temple Mount compound.

 

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