Daily Israel Report

Court May Be Asked to Stop ‘Destruction of History’  

The High Court may be the last resort for archaeologists to order Netanyahu to stop letting the Waqf destroy history at the holy site.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/26/2012, 8:31 AM

Temple Mount diggng
Temple Mount diggng
Israel news photo: Prof. Eli Hollander and architect Gidon Harlap

The High Court may be the last resort for archaeologists to order Netanyahu to stop allowing the Waqf to destroy history at the holy site.

Following the latest disclosures of massive removal and dumping of dirt containing artifacts from the area of the Holy Temples, attorney Aviad Vesuli told Arutz Sheva he would appeal to the High Court.

He noted that Muslim authorities on the Temple Mount are “brazenly” ignoring previous rulings prohibiting them from removing debris without giving advance notice of 30 days - so that the Israel Antiquities Authority can inspect the material and decide whether it can be removed. Instead, Arab workers are continuing to haul out debris from the holy site and dump it in piles of garbage.

Archaeologist Tzachi Zweig-Devira told Arutz Sheva earlier this week that previous examinations of debris hauled out of the Temple Mount site revealed signatures of Kohanim (Temple priests) mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah and remains of the Holy Temple plaza.

Activists will hold a protest on Wednesday opposite the northern Gate of the Tribes at the Temple Mount and said if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu does not act, they will appeal to the court.

“We are most surprised and shocked by your failures to stop this grave robbery of artifacts and brazen abandonment of the High Court ruling, to which you have in effect given your agreement," Vesuli wrote the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Eli Yishai.

He also wrote to the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Justice and Tourism ministers, the Jerusalem police commander and the government prosecutor.

The removal of debris containing proof of the Holy Temples under Jewish sovereignty is part of a Palestinian Authority campaign to claim spuriously that the holy site belongs exclusively to Muslims and that the Temples never existed.

At the entrance to the Temple Mount, a Waqf sign says, “The Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard and everything in it is Islamic property.”

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has said that since the Temple Mount is part of Israeli territory, Israeli law applies there, including antiquities laws and laws regarding building and planning.

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 removed a pile of artifacts on Sunday, when there were no visitors to the Temple Mount, and there was no monitoring by IAA officials.