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Danger of Temple Mount Collapse has Passed

March 21, 2005
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Acting on Israel's warnings, a team of Jordanian engineers, who had been working on ongoing repair of both the southern and eastern walls of the Temple Mount for the last two years, carried out extensive engineering work on an underground architectural support of the Temple Mount, known as Solomon's Stables, said Ofer Cohen, an engineer with the Antiquities Authority. Solomon's Stables abut both the southern and eastern walls from inside the southeast corner of the compound.

“We closely followed the repair work and believe that the danger of collapse has now been removed,” Cohen said. “Assuming that regular follow-up work takes place, the structure should be sound over the long term,” he added. Dorfman, head of the authority, has informed the relevant parties that immediate concern over a collapse has passed, the authority said in a rare press release on the super-sensitive issue.

But leading Israeli archaeologists expressed doubt that the danger of a possible collapse of the wall had actually passed. “What you can see looking at the wall leaves me with serious questions over the stability of the wall,” said Hebrew University archaeologist and Temple Mount expert Dr. Eilat Mazar, noting that repair work at both the southern and eastern walls is “far from finished.”

According to decades-old regulations in place at the Jerusalem holy site, Israel maintains overall security control at the Temple Mount, while the Waqf, or Islamic Trust, is in charge of the day-to-day maintenance of the compound. In contravention of the law, Israeli archaeologists from the Antiquities Authority have not been carrying out archaeological supervision at the site for the past four years, due to their concern about renewed Palestinian violence-this, despite the reopening of the compound to non-Muslims.

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