A heap of garbage seen on the holy Temple Mount as a result of the digging. (United with Israel) A heap of garbage seen on the holy Temple Mount as a result of the digging. (United with Israel)
Garbage on Temple Mount
Al Aqsa mosque

Israeli police guard as Muslim worshipers make their way to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount for Friday prayers. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Islamic Waqf is carrying out unauthorized digging in Jerusalem inside the Dome of the Rock that threatens to destroy the ancient archaeological remains of the Jewish Temple.

The Islamic Waqf is carrying out unauthorized earthworks on the Temple Mount which risk irrevocably damaging the archaeological remains of the Temple. A tractor is digging up the stone floor inside the Dome of the Rock, belying the Waqf’s claim that it is merely replacing the carpeting.

The Waqf began digging on Monday. Under agreements between Israel and Jordan, all major work on the Temple Mount must have the permission of the Ministerial Committee on Archaeological Digs in Holy Sites and be approved and supervised by the Israel Antiquities Authority. Neither body was consulted prior to the commencement of the digging.

Israeli construction minister Uri Ariel has called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “order an immediate halt to the earthworks to allow a proper review and authorization process.” In a letter marked as urgent, he wrote, “These works are unprecedented and warrant the review of the Ministerial Committee on Archeological Digs at Holy Sites, and the fact that there is heavy machinery involved makes this all the more pressing.”

Construction Minister Uri Ariel

Construction Minister Uri Ariel

“There is no need to elaborate on how important this site is, where every modification, every excavation with heavy equipment can cause irreparable harm to the foundations of the Temple,” he added.

HaMateh HaMeshutaf, the umbrella organization representing the Temple Mount movements, called on police to enforce the law.

“The police don’t even allow Jews to move their lips in prayer while visiting the holy site, yet they ignore tractors and other digging work on the Temple Mount and the place of the Sanctuary,” the organization stated. HaMateh HaMeshutaf noted that the Mosque of Omar, more commonly known as the Dome of the Rock, is situated on top of the holiest sections of the Jewish Temple, which was destroyed in 70 CE.

By: Sara Abramowicz, United with Israel