(IsraelNN.com) As of [Mar 10, ’04 ], the Muslim Wakf Authority has launched its latest illegal construction project on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, resulting in additional irreversible destruction to artifacts dating back to the Temple Era. Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) officials have repeatedly called for government intervention in the past, but there is no response. Illegal construction is not a new phenomenon on the Mount, and has been ongoing for the past years.
The current project began this morning, in the southeastern end of the Mount. Wakf officials report the new wall is intended to strengthen the ancient Herodian stones and nothing more. The new wall is two meters high and about 20 meters in length and creates a division between the Muslim cemetery and the eastern wall.
Dr. Eilat Mazar, an archeologist and member of the Committee Against Temple Mount Destruction rejects the explanation of the so-called strengthening wall, explaining the new wall totally blocks the Herodian and Byzantine period stones behind it, as well as antiquities dating back to the First and Second Temples.
Jerusalem City Hall stated it is unaware of any building request or permit being issued for the wall. Antiquities officials are referring inquiries to Israel Police. Jerusalem district police stated there is no new construction, but just scaffolding and a structure intended to fortify the ancient wall.
Dr. Mazar stated the police response is nothing less than absurd; pointing out the area in question is “the most beautiful on the Mount” – due to the astonishingly good condition of the stones dating back to the time of Herod. Dr. Mazar, who visited the Mount for a first-hand look, stated the 2,000-year-old stones are now blocked from sight and there is no doubt the latest Wakf project is in no way shape or form a fortification structure, but the latest Wakf attempt to eradicate the Jewish roots to the holy site.
“The police stationed on the Temple Mount see what takes place day-to-day, and do not even bother to ask for a building permit or any piece of paper to indicate the ongoing construction is authorized”, stated Dr. Mazar.
Dr. Mazar added there is absolutely no fear of collapse of the Herodian period wall, stating with total certainty the wall built today is no way serving to fortify the ancient structure behind it.