Archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar warned on Thursday about the plans of the Muslim religious authority, the Waqf, for the Temple Mount.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Mazar said that for the past 12 years, the Waqf has constantly built on the Temple Mount in an attempt to implement its final plan: the establishment of a huge mosque on the Mount.
“There is no order there and no one to uphold the law,” she said. “No one can enforce the law there. Not the Israel Antiquities Authority, not the Nature and Parks Authority and not the city of Jerusalem. The police are there but they are precluded from enforcing.”
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.
Mazar, a member of a group of Israelis who work to prevent the destruction of antiquities on the Temple Mount, said that the State Comptroller wrote a report which exposed serious findings about Israeli authorities’ inability to enforce the law on the Temple Mount, but noted that the report has remained confidential to this day.
“The Comptroller produced a thorough report and questioned all the right people. He came to important conclusions which so far have not been published. Our group has demanded and continues to demand that the contents of the report be published.”
She warned that the excavations of antiquities being performed on the Temple Mount by the Waqf may lead to disaster.
“It has been going on for 12 years. They’re digging there as if it’s a construction site. There is a danger that the ground will collapse under thousands of Muslims. It endangers the safety of the people. There must be engineering control over this huge monument. Every stone on the Temple Mount may contain some of the most important antiquities in the world.”
Mazar added, “I do not accept the argument that this could lead to a world war. The Temple Mount is at the center of Jerusalem. We’re not harming the Muslim rituals. We only want to enforce the law and order so that a disaster can be prevented. The Waqf cannot be trusted. If something collapses there the Western Wall may also be damaged, because the Temple Mount is on a round hill and its edges will be in danger.”
Mazar said the Waqf’s final plan is to unite all the mosques on the Temple Mount and create one big mosque. She added that it has been working for years to put the plan into practice and warned that if this happens, Jews will not be able to go to the Temple Mount.
“We know that the Waqf’s goal is to unite all one the mosques, and unfortunately today it is far from being just an illusion,” she said. “We will definitely weep over this plan in the future.”