Report: Waqf Continues to Destroy Jewish Antiquities
The Muslim Waqf is continuing to destroy Jewish antiquities on the Temple Mount in a direct violation of a ruling by the Supreme Court, a new report released Monday finds.
The author of the report, archaeologist Tzachi Zweig-Devira, told Arutz Sheva that his report is based on a personal visit he made to the Temple Mount.
At the eastern part of the Temple Mount, said Zweig-Devira, there is a pile of dirt and antiquities, which he documented the Waqf moving without supervision of an official from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). This, he said, is a direct violation of a Supreme Court ruling from 2004 which forbids moving the pile until it becomes clear what it contains. Anyone wishing to move the pile must give 30 days' advance notification, according to the Supreme Court's ruling.
Zweig-Devira noted that the seemingly worthless pile of dirt may have significant archaeological findings. Similar piles in the past have included, among other things, signatures of Cohanim (priests) mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah, remains of the Holy Temple plaza, and additional findings from various time periods.
He noted that he and other archaeologists locate dozens of ancient artifacts every day in the pile in question.
According to Zweig-Devira, the Waqf is also failing to protect beams from the period of the First Temple, leaving them exposed to the rains and not placing plastic on them to protect them from bad weather.
He noted that Waqf officials moved the aforementioned pile of artifacts on Sunday when there were no visitors to the Temple Mount, and there was no monitoring by IAA officials.
The Temple Mount was left in the hands of the Waqf following Jerusalem’s reunification in 1967, a decision of then-Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. The Waqf has taken advantage of this and removed every sign of ancient Jewish presence at the most Jewish holy site. At the entrance, a Waqf sign says, “The Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard and everything in it is Islamic property”.
Police, in an attempt to appease the Waqf, discriminate against Jews. They limit the number of Jewish worshippers allowed on the Temple Mount at one time in order to prevent conflict with Muslim worshippers. They often close the Mount to Jews in response to Muslim riots – despite evidence that Muslim riots have been planned in advance for the specific purpose of forcing Jews out.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has said that the Temple Mount is part of Israeli territory so Israeli law applies there, including antiquities laws and laws regarding building and planning.
Officials in the Palestinian Authority slammed Weinstein for the ruling, saying that “Muslims are the only ones who own this mosque.”
Zweig-Devira called on Israel to enforce its sovereignty over the Temple Mount and clarify to the Waqf that nothing can be moved from the Temple Mount area without supervision and approval.