Temple Mount Update
March 30, 2007
After the minor Jerusalem earthquake of February 2004 disrupted the previous sidewalk up to the tourist “Mugrabi Gate” a temporary wooden walkway was erected until the permanent structure could be repaired. Upon further inspection of the damage, the Israeli Antiquities Authority began excavating the site before building a permanent walkway up to the Mugrabi Gate. All of the excavations performed by the Israeli Antiquities Authority are outside of the Temple Mount compound and pose no possible threat to any existing structures on the mount itself.
The archeologists have uncovered structures that are centuries old. Using the western retaining wall as a secure structure to fasten new buildings, past civilizations built their homes and even seminaries up against the wall. During the 1400s, the Old City contained a “Mugrabi Quarter” near the modern day Western Wall Plaza. Archeologists are discovering arched ceilings and tiled bathrooms from this period in an effort to locate solid ground on which to place the supports for the new permanent walkway.
Fanny Vito emphatically stated that from an archeological point of view, excavating outside of the Temple Mount retaining wall will cause absolutely no structural threat to the Al Aqsa Mosque or any other structure on the Temple Mount. The current excavation is more than 30 feet from the outside of the Western Wall and the Al Aqsa mosque is more than a football field away from the inside of the wall. No part of the excavation or the building of the new walkway will jeopardize the Temple Mount.