By Vic Rosenthal
The Jerusalem Post recently conducted a Q&A with Dr. Eilat Mazar, an archaeologist with the Hebrew University and the Shalem Center, about issues concerning the Temple Mount — both what Israel is doing in the vicinity, and what the Waqf has done, and continues to do, on and within the Mount itself.
Dr. Mazar’s comments are fascinating and shocking. This area is of utmost importance to Judaism and Christianity, but is entirely (despite Israeli political sovereignty) under the physical control of the Muslim Waqf, which has no knowledge of or concern for archaeology, and which has actively destroyed artifacts of great significance over a period of years. The government of Israel, out fear of Muslim ‘rage’ — there can be no other explanation — has refused to take any action. You can find many pictures of the surface construction, as well as piles of rubble containing ancient artifacts dug out from the Temple Mount that the Waqf has not allowed archaeologists to examine on this site, and another article at this one, from 2001.
Meanwhile the Waqf has fed the flames of worldwide Muslim fury about the truly harmless repair work being done by Israel nearby. Their ignorance (they claim that the Temple Mount has been a mosque “since the time of Adam and Eve”) would be laughable if it were not so tragic.
The visit of Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount in 2000, often cited as the ’cause’ of the intifada that continues to this day, came after a short period in which Israel had (for once) blocked the supply of construction materials to the site because of the Waqf’s illegal activities. For a revealing diary of events by members of the “Committee for the Prevention of the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount” , go here (scroll down to the bottom of the page and then scroll up to read it in chronological order). The parallels to today’s news are obvious.
You can read my previous article on this topic here.