FW: ane The destruction of the Temple Mount Antiquities

Liz Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Fri Apr 20 09:04:34 EDT 2001

I apologize for cross-posting.
Liz Fried

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-ane at asmar.uchicago.edu [mailto:owner-ane at asmar.uchicago.edu]
> On Behalf Of Zachi Zweig
> Sent: Friday, April 20, 2001 6:47 AM
> To: Ane-Digest
> Subject: ane The destruction of the Temple Mount Antiquities
> Dear friends,
> I attached a news letter describing the destruction that is happening on
> the Temple Mount. The Palestinians are organizing a conference in Cairo
> together with UNESCO that will publish a "Cairo Declaration Document for
> Jerusalem Antiquities Preservation"  stating that the Israelis are
> destroying Islamic antiquities on the Temple Mount and in the Old City.
> This is their first step towards an international conference in order to
> receive support and international public opinion for their political
> interests (and not archaeological interests). It's important to emphasis
> that UNESCO didn't ever react or condemn the brutalic destruction of the
> antiquities on the Temple Mount done by the Islamic Whaqf during the
> past years, and especially since 1996.
> It is very important to forward this letter to as many archaeologists
> and friends as possible and ask them to send it further.
> Kind regards and thank you
> Dr. Eilat Mazar
> Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
> Director of the Publication Project of the Temple Mount Excavations.
> The destruction of the Temple Mount Antiquities
> 		In 1967 Israel re-occupied the Old City of
> Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
> Since then, every Israeli President and Prime Minister has proclaimed the
> ever-lasting devotion of the Israeli people and government to the holiest
> place, revered by Jews, Christians and Moslems.
> 		For over 30 years Israel has in fact delegated
> almost all authority over
> the Temple Mount to the Islamic Clerics. By doing this, Israel showed her
> commitment to respect the rights of the Muslims.
>          Now, as incredible as it seems, the Islamic Clerics deny
> any Jewish
> or Christian connection to the site where tradition holds that
> the Sacrifice
> of Isaac took place, King Solomon built the First temple and Jesus prayed
> and preached under the roof of the Second Temple. The Moslems also prevent
> archaeologists from investigating the site, one of the world's most
> prominent ancient treasures.
> 	        Israel has accepted its present inability to
> actively explore the
> Temple Mount. However, It is one thing to prevent exploration, and quite
> another to bulldoze through ancient structures without any archeological
> supervision.
> In 1996 the Islamic Clerics changed the accepted status quo that was kept
> for generations and converted two ancient underground Second Temple Period
> structures into a new large mosque. Both structures, known as Solomon's
> stables and the Eastern Hulda Gate passageway, were never mosques before.
> The new mosque extends over an area of 1.5 acres, thus being the largest
> mosque in Israel, able to accommodate 10,000 people.
>         In November 1999, the Islamic Clerics opened what they called an
> "emergency exit" to the new mosque. Over 3 days and nights the exit has
> expanded into a gapping hole, 18,000 square feet in size, and up
> to 36 feet
> deep. Thousands of tons of the ancient fills from the site, subsequently
> found by Israeli archeologists to contain artifacts dating as early as the
> First Temple Period, were dumped into the Kidron Valley.
> Since the creation of the gapping hole and up until now, without any
> archaeological supervision, thousands of square-meters of the ancient
> surface level of the Temple Mount are dug up by tractors, paved and
> announced as open mosques.
>       Moreover, in 1997 another ancient underground Second Temple Period
> structure, known as the Western Hulda Gate passageway, has been converted
> into another new mosque. Recently, in February and March of 2001,
> an ancient
> arched structure built against the Eastern Wall of the Temple Mount
> enclosure was razed by bulldozers in order to enlarge further the
> "emergency
> gate" of the new mosque at the Stables of Solomon.
>       During the last 15 months, somewhat belatedly, public effort within
> Israel galvanized to demand a stop to the modern construction and
> destruction on the Temple Mount. Urgent letters were sent to the Prime
> Minister and ministers, warning about "a serious act of irreparable
> vandalism and destruction carried out without supervision, while
> abrogating
> the law."
>       An open letter about the destruction, sent to the Prime
> Minister, was
> signed by numerous highly-respected individuals including former
> mayor Teddy
> Kollek and current mayor Ehud Olmert, authors Amos Oz and Haim
> Gouri, and by
> 82 members of Israel Knesset. Indeed, it should not be surprising that
> Israelis are appalled that the law requiring the preservation of all holy
> places is brazenly ignored on the Temple Mount, the most holy
> place to more
> people than any other site around the world.
> Furthermore, the destruction of antiquities on the Temple Mount
> goes hand in
> hand with the Israeli policy illegally preventing the press from visiting
> the area. The claim that  "security concerns" require Israeli
> indulgence is
> not only disputed by former and current security officials, but
> also by the
> outside world, who look upon this sacred place being demolished while
> Israeli authorities indifferently stand by.
>       The Committee for the Prevention of the Destruction of
> Antiquities on
> the Temple Mount, founded in January 2000, is an a-political volunteer
> group, made up of well-known Israeli public figures, archaeologists,
> writers, lawyers, justices and members of the Security Services.
>       The committee was formed in order to preserve the antiquities on the
> Temple Mount irrespective of political, national or religious affiliation.
> The committee demands from the Israeli government:
> 1. To stop the destruction on the Temple Mount
> 2. To open the Temple Mount to Israeli and international media.
> 3. To enable the Antiquities Authority to fulfill its duties and guard the
> antiquities in the State of Israel.
> 4. To see that the status quo on the Temple Mount is kept and
> otherwise all
> changes should be deeply considered and undertaken in a way that would not
> destroy ancient remains.
> The Committee for the Prevention of the
> Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount

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