SPECIAL JERUSALEM REPORT August 21, 2002 13 Elul 5762


Arutz Sheva news of Israel published the following interview today regarding the now famed bulge in the southern wall of the Temple Mount.

A Jordanian delegation arrived at the Temple Mount a few days ago to check the situation of the wall (that which stands to the right of worshippers at the Western Wall, visible to the right upon entry from Dung Gate) Archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar of Hebrew University, says that both the problem and its cause are obvious.

"What's the problem with the southern wall?" asked Arutz-7's Haggai Segal of Dr. Mazar.

"The problem is that it's about to fall," she responded, "within a matter of months, and possibly even weeks; I have trouble believing that it will last the entire winter. I am referring to the southern wall, at its eastern corner."

A-7: "Why is this?"
Mazar: "It's not hard to guess, actually. Precisely on the other side of the [bulge in the] wall is where the major works of destruction were carried out by the Waqf [the Moslem body that controls the Temple Mount] starting in 1996, when Netanyahu allowed them to build the largest mosque in the ancient site of Solomon's Stables, and the area was entirely changed. Tractors worked there, and tremendous quantities of fill - composed of ancient artifacts - were taken out. These walls were not built to carry tractors and loaded trucks. The path of the rainwater was also changed in the process, and water is trickling down the walls and eating away at them. The bulge can clearly be seen [not from the path to the Western Wall, because the view is blocked, but rather] from the road around the southeast corner of the Mount; if a year ago it was a 'fourth-month' bulge, now it looks like it's in its 'eighth month.' It is shocking, because it looks like it can fall on those standing below..."

Dr. Mazar said that the Jordanians and the Waqf are doing nothing about the problem except blaming Israel, nor is Israel able to do anything: "Jews are not allowed in to the Temple Mount... The Waqf has placed some scaffolding there to try to hold up the wall, but is doing no work there. Israel has stationed two policemen there to watch... The scaffolding itself is a joke; it's not strong enough to hold up the wall, and in fact, no scaffolding would be strong enough. The wall has to be taken down and rebuilt, that's the only thing that will help.

A-7: "Doesn't the Waqf care about this?" Dr. Mazar: "The Waqf? The only thing it cares about is Islamicizing the Temple Mount, and absolutely nothing else. Let's not forget, in the past five years the Waqf has only been destroying there - their only goal is to build a mosque on the entire compound. They claim that the entire area is Moslem, and that it's always been that way, and that's it. Nothing else interests them - not the Jewish connections, not what Christianity says, not the cultural significance, and not the law... It's true that the massive destruction of the past few years has stopped of late, but on the other hand, Jews are not allowed in to ensure that under the surface nothing illegal is being done... We have absolutely no idea what's going on there under the surface. Prime Minister Sharon has no plan, and has simply decided not to decide. The only thing that will solve this problem is a public outcry against the continued destruction of the Temple Mount."

Should there be a collapse with resultant extensive damage to the Mosque, one can only imagine the furor of reaction to such an event, from Israelis as well as Muslims. This situation is so sensitive it could potentially spark an outbreak of war in itself.