Thursday, October 20, 2005

Temple Mount tour

OOSJ is right -- this is fascinating footage (English here).
The video of the mosques and structures on Har Habayit was apparently taken in the last few weeks by a young Israeli. YNet doesn't really specify how he got up there and how he got away with taking the video -- in the few seconds where there is sound, you can actually hear him speaking Hebrew -- but I'd love to know.
In the same few seconds, you can also hear the sound of hammers, which according to YNet is the sound of the building work going on up there which has been worrying (some) Israeli archaeologists so much. To underline the absurdity of Israeli officials not being allowed up there, YNet is carrying some comments by Prof. Ze'ev Herzog, who has been on a long campaign to prove that the Waqf has not been damaging the site. Apparently, this poorly shot video gives him -- supposedly an authority on what's going on up there -- rare insight into the state of Temple Mount:
The Waqf has been removing dirt from the site, Herzog says, but notes this dirt was only brought at a later period.
“According to the video, the Waqf in fact reconstructed the site as it was during the crusader period and added a few accessories (such as fans and electricity) to make it a convenient prayer house,” he said.
In fact, the Hebrew is more damning -- he says, "according to what I can see in the video." In other words, he has no direct knowledge -- and wants us to trust that the Waqf is not busy destrying artefacts of Jewish history on the Mount based on his say so, and now on the back of this amateur video. It goes without saying that as long as we do not know exactly what's going on up there, through evidence gained with our own eyes on the ground, the Waqf should not be trusted at all. And whilst individual Jews may not want to go up there for religious reasons, it is intolerable that Israeli officials, archaeologists etc. are not allowed to by decree of the Waqf, and that they have to rely on covertly-filmed videos to determine the condition of structures that are still, supposedly, within the sovereign state of Israel.

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