So Far, Jordan and the US has asked for clarification about the Israeli dig near the Temple Mount and other countries have said that Israel is inflaming tensions with the Muslim world. Why isn’t anyone talking about what the Arabs have been doing to the Temple Mount and any relics of the first and second period?

After Israel regained possession of the Mount in 1967, authority for the top of the Mount (the mosque, was returned to the Waqf (I am not sure what Waqf means but my guess is We Are Quite F***ed up or We’re Amorous of Quail Feathers). Jews are allowed to go up to the mount, but only if they don’t look Jewish and don’t (G-d Forbid) Pray. The mount entrances are zealously guarded by Israel.

Over the years, the Waqf has dug new structure on the mount, and have either hidden holy Jewish Relics or simply thrown them into the garbage dump (maybe they watch too many Sopranos reruns). And don’t blame Olmert for this, much of the destruction happened under the watchful eyes of Ariel Sharon.

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Archeologists: Waqf damaging Temple Mount remains (YNET)

Senior archeologist says Waqf wants to turn whole of Temple Mount into exclusive mosque for Muslims-Yaakov Lappin

As the archeological excavations near the Western Wall drew protests from around the Arab world, Israeli archeologists complained Wednesday that the government was not doing enough to protect Jewish artifacts from building work by the Muslim Waqf, which controls the Temple Mount.

“The Waqf has acted terribly, taking thousands of tons of artifacts from the First Temple, the Second Temple, as well as Muslim artifacts, and throwing them away,” Dr Eilat Mazor, from the Hebrew University, told Ynetnews.

“They want to turn the whole of the Temple Mount into a mosque for Muslims only. They don’t care about the artifacts or heritage on the site.”

Police arrest rioting youths protesting Israeli works at Mugrabi Gate leading to Temple Mount, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades threaten attacks if works continue. Israeli archeologists say works nowhere near mosques, city officials divided over legality of work permit

She added that there was a link between routine denials of the existence of the Jerusalem Temples by senior officials of the Palestinian Authority, and the way the Waqf was treating artifacts on the site.”There is a total ignorance of history, and archeology. Artifacts showing ancient history are hidden,” she added.

Mazar slammed the inaction of the Israeli government. “The authorities have failed to deal with this issue. The only ones paying attention are the police, and they are only interested in quiet, so they do nothing,” she said.

Mazar said the recent uproar in the Muslim world over the construction work to secure the Mugrabi gate is part of a tactic of forcing the Israeli government to stay away from the site. “They have learned that the more noise the make, the more sweets they will get, like a small child,” she said.

“Prayer by Muslims on the Temple Mount should continue as normal, and no one has any intentions of disrupting that. There is no connection between that and the accusations being made,” she noted.

The most serious archeological damage to the Temple Mount “was done a few years ago when the Waqf excavated a huge pit for creating an approach to the underground mosque they constructed, in the so called Solomon’s Stables compound,” said Professor Amihai Mazar, of the Institute of Archeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

For those who are interested, below is a desription of the work being done from the Israel Antiquities Authority

Israel Antiquities Authority excavation at the Mugrabim Ramp (February 6, 2007)

Remains of the old ramp’s collapse
The Israel Antiquities Authority has begun salvage excavations in the Archeological Park, for the purpose of erecting supporting pillars for a permanent Mugrabim Ramp, to be built for the benefit and safety of visitors. The new ramp will replace the temporary wooden bridge which was established following the collapse of the old Mugrabim Ramp, which was declared a “hazardous structure”. The salvage excavations are standardized archeological excavations which are carried out in declared archeological sites slated for construction and development. The purpose of the salvage excavations is to prevent and minimize damage which could be caused to ancient remains as a result of the construction.

The new Mugrabim Ramp, which will be built by the Jerusalem Municipality, will replace the temporary wooden bridge, which was built following the partial collapse of the old ramp and its declaration as a public hazard. The collapse of the old ramp was the result of natural disasters over the years, and it occurred shortly after the earthquake and snowstorms which struck Jerusalem in February 2004. In light of the real and imminent threat to visitors, whose entry into the Temple Mount was authorized only through the ramp, the Israel Antiquities Authority immediately agreed to conduct continuous archeological inspections for the purpose of erecting the temporary bridge.

The Jerusalem Archaeological Park
Once plans for the establishment of a permanent ramp were made known, the Israel Antiquities Authority conditioned its construction on the implementation of salvage excavations, as required by the Israeli Antiquities Law. In accordance with this Law, any construction on declared antiquities sites, such as Jerusalem in general and the Old City in particular, must be carried out with the approval of the Israel Antiquities Authority and must conform to its instructions.

The salvage excavations in the compound are directed by a team of archeologists and professionals, experts in their fields, using internationally accepted methods employed in excavations in similar areas, and in accordance with the nature and type of the artifacts exposed. The excavations will take place, as is customary, during the winter and under the cover of several hothouses. The removal of the remains of the old ramp will be carried out prior to the commencement of the archeological excavations, using a small mechanical tool (backhoe) and under tight inspection by archeologists. Only once the excavations are completed will the exact location of the bridge pillars in the Archeological Park compound be determined. The construction of the pillars will be carried out in accordance with the instructions of the Israel Antiquities Authority, while ensuring the preservation and protection of the monuments which will be exposed. The archeological excavations, which will last several months, will provide an opportunity to study the nature of the archeological remains in the site, and their contribution to studying Jerusalem’s history is expected to be substantial.

The archeological remains which will be revealed will be preserved and incorporated in an Archeological Park which will be opened for the benefit of visitors from Israel and tourists from around the world.