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Jerusalem 'expert': Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque are in danger from Israeli archaeological excavations

Headline: "The occupation's excavations are threatening the neighborhoods of the Old [City of] Jerusalem"

"Anyone who visits the Old City of Jerusalem, when they turn south from Damascus Gate via Hagai Street, reaches the Chain [Gate] market and Hawsh Al-Nayrasat, one of the neighborhoods near the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Al-Buraq Wall (i.e., the Western Wall of the Temple Mount),which is in danger of being destroyed as a result of the occupation's excavations underneath it(sic., Israel does not excavate under the Temple Mount; see note below). The lives of the residents of the neighborhoods of the Chain Gate, Hawsh Al-Nayrasat, the Al-Qarmi neighborhood, and other neighborhoods around the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Silwan from the south are endangered as a result of collapses due to the excavations.

The same murderer, the occupation, which is responsible for the crime of cracks appearing in the houses, gave the residents of Hawsh Al-Nayrasat notices on the pretext of fearing for their lives…

Jerusalem affairs expert Fakhri Abu Dhiab said: 'The effects of the excavations that are taking place throughout the [Old] City, and specifically in the southern Old City and Silwan, have begun to be widely exposed. At the moment, we fear for the fate of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as these are ideological excavations with many goals, and foremost among them blurring the Arab-Islamic archaeological remains in the holy city[of Jerusalem]. There is a wealth of archaeological remains under the ground, which the occupation is destroying and attempting to create a fabricated culture, after it did not succeed in proving it was in the area (sic., there is an abundance of archaeological proof of the presence of Jews in Jerusalem and Israel).'

Abu Dhiab explained that thousands of tons of dirt and rocks have been removed from under the houses of the residents of Jerusalem in the Old City neighborhoods and in the Silwan neighborhood south of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and that ruptures and cracks have appeared in many houses. He added that instead of the occupation ceasing to cause them, it is giving eviction notices for the houses, whose basic goal is to expel the residents of Jerusalem and house settlers in their place."

The Al-Buraq Wall - Islam's Prophet Muhammad is said to have ridden during his Night Journey from Mecca to "al aqsa mosque", i.e., "the farthest mosque" (Quran, Sura 17), and there tied his miraculous flying steed named Al-Buraq to a "stone" or a "rock." (Jami` at-Tirmidhi, Book 47, Hadith 3424). In the 1920's, Arab Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini decided to identify the Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem as that "rock" or "stone," and since then Muslims refer to the Western Wall as the "Al-Buraq Wall."


Claims that Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem are endangered by excavations, including excavations under the Temple Mount - The PA regularly claims that Israeli archaeological excavations in Jerusalem endanger Arab residents and their neighborhoods, and that Israel excavates under the Temple Mount, thereby endangering the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Regarding the Temple Mount claim, the Israeli daily Haaretz has reported that the excavations do not reach beneath the mosque: "Despite complaints from the Islamic Movement and Palestinian groups, not a single dig penetrates beneath the [Temple] Mount." [Haaretz, May 24, 2016] As for claims that Israeli excavations endanger Arab residents of Jerusalem and their neighborhoods, and particularly of Silwan – a predominantly Arab neighborhood near the Old City of Jerusalem, built above the ruins of ancient Jerusalem – the Israeli Supreme Court has rejected several such petitions. These petitions targeted excavations in the City of David archaeological site, which have been conducted for around 50 years and unearthed a multitude of artifacts, proving the Jewish presence in the city from the First Temple period that began in approximately 1000 BCE. Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edna Arbel responded to one petition (High Court of Justice file 9252/080) against the excavations by saying: “The [Arab] petitioners did not present any evidence that would substantiate a connection between the excavations and the damages that were allegedly caused to their homes… It had been made clear that the excavation work… was being done under the supervision and accompaniment of professionals.” In a separate ruling (High Court of Justice file 1308/08), Arbel said: “Notwithstanding the claims of the petitioners, it was explained that the work is being done under professional engineering supervision and as part of an approved construction plan… The work is performed with the accompaniment and supervision of professionals, not as the petitioners claim, and it is clear that these professionals are not only concerned about the completion of the work… but also are aware of their obligation to make sure the work is done in a way that will not harm the petitioners, their family members, or their property.” According to reports, many Arab residents of Silwan even worked on the excavations until threats from the PA and Hamas forced them to stop. Source: