Friday, September 07, 2007

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH - The Waqf is still digging that trench:
Silence in the Face of Continued Temple Mount Destruction

by Hillel Fendel

( As an Arab bulldozer continues to dig away at the current Temple Mount floor, evidence is mounting that actual walls from the Second Temple are being destroyed. The world is silent, while Prime Minister Olmert continues talks with the Palestinian Authority regarding future sovereignty over the holy area.

The actual digging, under the auspices of the Moslem Waqf [religious trust to which Israel has assigned responsibility for the Temple Mount - ed.], has been ongoing for several weeks. Only over the past 8-10 days, however, has attention been paid to the dangers of the barely supervised works. The Waqf claims that the purpose of the 400-meter-long, 1.5-meter deep trench is to replace electric cables in the area.

Discarding a Temple Wall, Piece by Piece
For the Jews, however, the trench represents more than just better lighting. Under the current floor of the Temple Mount compound lie the remains of the Second Holy Temple, largely untouched since it was destroyed by the Romans nearly 1,950 years ago. For pieces of one of the Temple courtyard office walls to be unceremoniously bulldozed up and discarded - as archaeologists such as Drs. Eilat Mazar and Gavriel Barkai believe has happened - is all but traumatic for Jews who have been praying for centuries to see the Temple rebuilt.

A week ago, Temple expert Dr. Gavriel Barkai told Arutz-7 that according to his, and others', calculations, the route of the trench passes precisely through the spot where one or more of the office walls stood the day of the Roman destruction.

"Some man-worked stones have been found in the trench," Barkai said at a press conference last week, "as well as remnants of a wall that, according to all our estimations, are from a structure in one of the outer courtyards in the Holy Temple."

Shortly afterwards, Dr. Mazar examined a photo of the trench, clearly showing a chopped-up carved stone. Mazar said the damaged stone displays elements of the Second Temple era, and might well be part of the Jewish Temple. She says she needs to view it up close; but the Waqf does not allow her to do so.

Waqf Stops TV Crew
In fact, the Waqf is so protective of the dig and its finds that it has tried to stop all photographing of the area. Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute reported that his camera was confiscated before he was allowed to visit the site this week, and WND's Aaron Klein and an InfoLive.TV camera crew were prevented from taking pictures of the dig on Thursday.

The article in which WorldNetDaily reports that their representative was barred from photographic the site is here.