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Tests show Wakf work is destroying Temple Mount wall

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  • Josh Pollack
    Jerusalem Post Friday November 30, 2001 Tests show Wakf work is destroying Temple Mount wall By Etgar Lefkovits
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 30 10:07 AM
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      Jerusalem Post
      Friday November 30, 2001
      Tests show Wakf work is destroying Temple Mount wall
      By Etgar Lefkovits


      JERUSALEM (November 30) - Engineering tests conducted by the Antiquities
      Authority on the southern wall of the Temple Mount have proven conclusively
      that sections of the wall are in the intermediate stages of collapse, likely
      due to Wakf construction work over past years at Solomon's Stables just
      above the site.

      The authority conducted the tests over the last six months after sections of
      the southern wall surrounding the Temple Mount were seen protruding. The
      center of the deformation, which extends 190 square meters, is 30 meters
      west of the southeastern corner of the wall, and 9.5 meters from the top of
      the wall.

      "If not treated, the problem is a source of danger in the medium-term (in a
      range of a number of years), and its collapse may cause irreversible damage
      to the structure," states the Antiquities Authority's July survey obtained
      by The Jerusalem Post.

      "The deformation of the southern wall is probably relatively recent," the
      report states, contradicting claims by the authority's Jerusalem district
      archeologist Jon Seligman, who said that the bulge in the wall was a
      long-standing problem that developed "over the last five decades."

      The Antiquities Authority's preservation department head Ya'acov Sheffer,
      who was in charge of the tests, said yesterday that the initial results of
      the survey, which were not made public despite assurances that they would
      be, "proved what we thought all along, but are now pending various factors,"
      which he declined to define.

      Sheffer refused to comment on the survey's recommendations, other than to
      say that "contacts and further checks" are taking place.

      Sources say that the authority has been negotiating with Wakf officials over
      ways to correct the problem, since the results were completed.

      The reason for the secrecy regarding the tests may have to do with the fact
      that just above the southern wall lies Solomon's Stables, where the Wakf has
      carried out extensive construction work during the past five years while
      converting the area into a mosque.

      Seligman said the structural decay may have to do with "low building
      standards," with the report citing faulty drainage as a possible cause.

      The report states that the drainage may have been caused by "recent building
      - reconstruction or other structural changes."

      Seligman, who is nominally charged with supervision of the Temple Mount,
      said that due to lack of access to the site, which has been off limits to
      non-Muslims since Ariel Sharon's September 2000 visit, the precise reason
      for the bulge could not be ascertained for certain.

      When asked whether the Wakf work has undermined the sturdiness of the
      southern wall, Seligman said, "Clearly it didn't help." He said the problem
      needs to be treated "as soon as possible," but "obviously cannot be done
      without the cooperation of the Wakf."

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