Israeli Cabinet okays renewing controversial Temple Mount Mugrabi excavation





The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has been instructed by the cabinet to continue its work at the Mugrabi walkway near the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The cabinet recently instructed the IAA to complete the work "as soon as possible, with full transparency and with the cooperation of the relevant bodies."

Excavations at the site, a walkway leading to the Mugrabi Gate at the Temple Mount, were halted in June after they raised an international protest. At the end of September, following a report in Haaretz that the Ministerial Committee for Jerusalem Affairs had approved the continuation of the work, Science, Culture and Sport Minister Ghaleb Majadele appealed the decision to the cabinet secretariat and it was frozen. Two weeks ago, Majadele acceded to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's request to withdraw his appeal.

On November 29, the cabinet approved the Ministerial Committee for Jerusalem Affairs decision, instructing the IAA to "remove any finding that is not archaeological, and provide a solution to elements of conservation, esthetics, security, safety and possible social impairments." The latter element was a reference to homeless individuals who have taken shelter in structures at the site that have no archaeological value.


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