Muslims Carrying Out Unauthorized Excavations on Temple Mount Claim They Are Repairing Water Leakage
Unauthorized excavations were discovered to be taking place on the Temple Mount, the Hebrew news site 0404 reported on Sunday, after photos of a bulldozer near the Dome of the Rock appeared on Arabic Facebook pages.
On one such page it was claimed that the digging was being done in order to repair a water canal that was leaking into one of the smaller domes of the compound. A posting on that page — called “Al-Aqsa Mosque” — also asserted that Israeli police attempted to put a stop to the work, prompting the Waqf (the Islamic trust that manages the Temple Mount) to intervene to allow it continue.
In response, an Israeli organization called “Students for the Temple Mount” called on Minster of Culture and Sport Miri Regev, who heads the Knesset committee dealing with rights of Jews on the Temple Mount, to intervene and put an end to “this flagrant contempt for Israel’s holy sites.” They also demanded the arrest and prosecution of those carrying out such unauthorized digs.
Excavation on the Temple Mount, a site holy to both Jews and Muslims, is an extremely sensitive matter. In the past, Waqf-authorized digs have destroyed historical remains reflecting the site’s Jewish origins. Palestinians, on the other hand, routinely accuse Israel of attempting to compromise the structural integrity of the Temple Mount’s mosques whenever it carries out archaeological excavations in the compound’s vicinity.