Biblical Archaeology Review 31:1, January/February 2005

Strata: Israeli Supreme Court Blocks Removal of Temple Mount Rubble

Rebuff to Israel Antiquities Authority

The Israeli Supreme Court sided against the Government of Israel and the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and issued a temporary injunction barring a plan to remove thousands of tons of earth and rubble dug up during construction work on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount by the Waqf, the Islamic religious trust that has custody over Islamic sites on the Mount.

The September 6 ruling came only hours after the Committee Against the Destruction of the Antiquities on the Temple Mount, a group consisting of archaeologists and prominent Israelis, filed a petition asking the court to stop the removal of the rubble, which is assumed to be rich with archaeological artifacts. The court decision blocks removal work until a further ruling, and it gives the state 45 days to present its case. The rubble has been sitting on the eastern side of the Temple Mount for at least four years following what the archaeologists on the committee say was the illegal construction of monumental gates for a new underground mosque in the area popularly known as Solomon’s Stables.

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