A Ministerial Committee decision to renew the excavation by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) at the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate has been put off due to an appeal by Sports and Culture Minister Raleb Majadele (Labor) to bring the matter before the entire cabinet. The Israeli Arab minister said the work should be coordinated with the Wakf Islamic Authority, and that the decision did not reflect a desire to promote the diplomatic process.
The excavation, which was part of a project to build a new footbridge near the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate to the entrance of the Temple Mount, was halted in June after violent protests and riots by Muslims who claimed the work would damage the nearby Al Aksa mosque. International and Israeli engineers who inspected the site said there was no danger of damage to the structure, which is at least 60 meters away from the dig.
Under the law, Ministerial Committee decisions cannot be carried out for at least two weeks following an appeal by a government minister.