Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A little context on Temple Mount digs

There have been a number of stories in the news lately about how the PalArabs are upset that Jews are digging near the Temple Mount. The stories are silly for a number of reasons:
  • The purpose is to repair a ramp that leads up to the Temple Mount, not to touch the Mount itself.
  • The dig is open for everyone to see.
  • Every dig in Israel for any purpose is overseen by the Israel Antiquities Authority to make sure that nothing of historic interest gets damaged.
  • The Palestinian Arabs bring up scare stories about Jews trying to destroy Al Aqsa Mosque every few days. This is not an exaggeration; I see new accusations in the Arabic press literally every few days.
  • The Palestinian Arabs are especially pouncing on this story as a way to deflect world focus away from their internal civil war.
  • The Muslims have historically and systematically tried to destroy thousands of non-Muslim artifacts in holy sites - for them to complain about Jews doing the same thing is utterly hypocritical
  • What the Muslims are scared of is not that anything of theirs is going to be damaged - their real fear is that Jerusalem, the ancient holy city of Jews that predates Islam by many centuries, is going to be "Judaized:"
    Gaza - Ma'an - The Al Aqsa Brigades have threatened to target Israeli synagogues if the Israeli authorities continue the Judaization of the holy city of Jerusalem and the demolition of the Al Aqsa Mosque.

    In a statement issued on Wednesday, the brigades confirmed that all the synagogues will be targets for the brigades and are not more holy than the mosque of Al Aqsa.

    The statement called on Palestinian people in and out Palestine, to go into the streets in protest against Israeli actions in the holy city.

Let's look at where the Israelis are repairing the ramp that leads up to the Temple Mount and where the Al Aqsa mosque is, to see who it telling the truth.

Here is a panorama shot of the southern half of the western wall of the Temple Mount that I took last week (click on it to see it enlarged):

The golden dome on the left is the Dome of the Rock. The smaller grey dome on the right next to the trees is the Al Aqsa Mosque. The blue-tarped ramp in the middle is the temporary wooden bridge that is being repaired that is causing such a pretense of anguish. As you can see, it is pretty far away from the mosque. In fact, the Al Aqsa mosque is on the southern wall of the Mount as this view of the southwest corner shows (click on image for more detail):

The Israel Antiquities Authority website has details on exactly what they are doing and why.

It is not hard for news services to be able to provide context in their sensationalistic stories of the protests.

But it is hard to find any news articles that bother to try.