|Islamic rooms found near Mugrabi gate|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Thursday, 17 May 2007 17:00|
|Sorry not much updates yesterday, been very busy attending an annual meeting for my Auntie's Christian charity Adventure Leadership Training. |
Further controversy over Israel's construction work at the Temple Mount has erupted today, after it was revealed that what looks to be an ancient Islamic prayer room was uncovered at the site three years ago. The Antiquities Authority had made the discovery during the collapse of the Mugrabi ramp, but the findings were not made public, over fears that the Muslims would demand access to the site which is adjacent to the Wailing Wall. It was claimed by the Islamic Waqf that administer the site earlier in the month, that there are two rooms underneath the ground that Israel was excavating. It has not yet been verified what the rooms were used for.
Quote: "The remains apparently date back to the 11th century, the Salah al-Din era known as the Ayub Period and which is of great significance to the Muslim world. This important finding was kept secret in fear that the Muslim community would demand that the site, adjacent to the Western Wall compound, be declared sacred. One of the Muslim arguments regarding the works taking place near the Mugrabi Bridge is that the destruction of the embankment would damage Muslim sites. The findings published by the Antiquities Authority are likely to support this argument.
The publication of this news will make it much harder for Israel to resume the construction of the Mugrabi walkway, the only entrance by which non-Muslims can enter the Temple Mount. Many world leaders have already become involved in the dispute over the construction work. Conflict is also continuing over the formation of the Palestinian unity government, with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert threatening to boycott the government if it does not agree to the demands of the Quartet (EU, US, UN, Russia) that Hamas recognize Israel's right to exist. Just a few days ago he said he was willing to change his stance on the unity government, if Hamas would release Gilad Shalit. Possibly Olmert is willing to go much further than he states publicly. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has also cancelled a scheduled press conference in Ramallah today over the difficulties with the Mecca agreement. The three leaders, Olmert, Rice and Abbas are due to meet for a tripartite discussion on the issues with the unity government and its relations with the West tomorrow. It is very doubtful they will make much, if any progress.