Remains of the Jewish second temple may have been found during work to lay pipes at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in east Jerusalem, Israeli television reported Thursday.The Temple Mount is sacred ground to Jews, for it was built to support the Holy Temples. The second Holy Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD [ed: corrected from 69 AD]. The Romans built a temple on the spot, and the Muslims built a mosque centuries later. Still, Jews have always held this spot in Jerusalem as the most sacred place on Earth.
Israeli television broadcast footage of a mechanical digger at the site which Israeli archaeologists visited on Thursday.
Gaby Barkai, an archaeologist from Bar Ilan University, urged the Israeli government to stop the pipework after the discovery of what he said is "a massive seven metre-long wall."
Television said the pipework carried out by the office of Muslim religious affairs, or Waqf, is about 1.5 metres deep and about 100 metres long.
Carl in Jerusalem has been all over this story, and notes that Jews are permitted no more than four hours of time on the Temple Mount per day - this despite being the holiest spot on the planet for Jews. Muslims get to control the access to the Temple Mount, and the Islamic Waqf operates the Muslim mosques on the Mount and are responsible for the work being done now. The Waqf does not have the same interest in preserving the Jewish history of the Temple Mount as the Israeli archaeologists do. It is absolutely inexcusable that this work is going on without archaeologists involved to determine whether the utilities work is damaging or disturbing historical finds.
The work is using heavy machinery as these photos indicate.
Smooth Stone is also blogging the potential significance of the find and the Waqf's ongoing destruction and denial of Israeli and Jewish claims to the Temple Mount.
The Old City of Jerusalem is a World Heritage Site protected under UNESCO. UNESCO hasn't had a problem calling Israel out for archaeological work done in Jerusalem, but so far has turned a blind eye to this work on the Temple Mount. Israeli Double Standard Time (term coined by Meryl Yourish) is in full effect. Where is UNESCO's calls for a cessation of work until archaeologists can fully examine the area to determine if the work has indeed disturbed archeological relics, including those from the Holy Temple?