The head of the Department of History and Archaeology at the Islamic University of Gaza, Dr. Ghassan Weshah told Felesteen, a Gazan news service, in an interview this week that there was no archaeological evidence of a Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount.
“One of the biggest lies of the Zionists with regard to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is that it was built on the ruins of the Temple, which was destroyed on August 21, 586 BCE,” Prof. Weshah said in the interview. “This is a false statement. There is no other building under the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
“Engineering scientists said that what is under the Al-Aqsa Mosque are sedimentary stones from the Canaanite period and they never talked about any rubble,” Pro. Weshah said. He emphasized that the “Zionists” could not find anything under the Al-Aqsa Mosque despite the excavations they do. He also noted that the excavations performed in the construction of the Marwani Mosque confirmed this.
The Waqf began built the Marwani Mosque in what was formerly called Solomon’s Stables in 1996, without a permit and in gross violation of the status quo agreement signed two years earlier in which Israel granted custodianship to Jordan. It is the largest mosque in Israel with space for 10,000 worshippers. The builders used heavy equipment to clear the site, destroying artifacts of immense archaeological importance and damaging the structural integrity of the southern wall of the Temple Mount. The construction resulted in over 400 truckloads of material containing artifacts being removed from the Temple Mount and dumped in landfills. Much of the material was lost but the Sifting Project directed by Dr. Gabriel Barkay has succeeded in recovering countless remnants from the Jewish Temples. His results include a reconstruction of the tile floor from a section of the Temple. The underground mosque is always open to Muslims but prayers are only held there on Muslim holidays when rain or heat makes outdoor prayer uncomfortable. In many of the available photos, Muslims are seen using the site as a place to sleep or socialize.
It is important to note that the Waqf does not permit any archaeological studies to take place on the Temple Mount and reject any efforts to preserve artifacts, even those with significance to Islam. In 1929, a massive earthquake caused the roof of the silver-domed Aqsa Mosque to collapse. The roof was repaired using new beams but the original beams were studied by Robert W. Hamilton, director of antiquities for the British Mandate. He described most of the beams and wooden panels as being from the early Islamic Ummayad Dynasty from the Eighth Century. The best examples were taken to be displayed at the Rockefeller Museum near Jerusalem where they are on display to this day. Many of the beams were left outside on the Temple Mount. Some of the beams were sold to an Armenian wood merchant and even more disappeared.
In the 1970’s, the beams were checked by a team of Israeli botanists who determined that most of them were cedars from Lebanon and some are Cyprus trees. They carried out Carbon-14 tests on several of the timbers. Some were determined to have been felled about 1,340 years ago which is approximately when al Aqsa Mosque was originally built. One cypress beam was determined to be was found to be 2,600 years, or around 630 BCE, around 50 years before the destruction of the First Temple.
Shockingly, one of the oak beams was determined to be 2,860 years old, cut down around 880 BCE, early in the First Temple period.
About a decade ago, the Israeli Antiquities Authority wanted to preserve the beams but the Waqf insisted the beams are their property. There have been unconfirmed sightings of some of the beams stored next to the Golden Gate being burned.
Professor Weshah claimed that museums have confirmed that artifacts that seem to indicate a historic Jewish presence in the land are, in fact, fake.
“He pointed out that no matter how the Zionists tried to falsify some of the artifacts and claim that they prove their presence in Palestine, the largest and most famous museums in the world discovered the falsification by the occupation of these pieces and refused to exhibit any artifact coming from the occupation state to display in international museums because they are forged.”
The professor went on to say that “Facts refute all the promises mentioned in the Torah are prove that they are lies. It affirms that Palestine is Arab land and is part of the Arabian Peninsula, where the [Palestinians] settled thousands of years before the Jews.”
The professor did not address the description of the Jewish Temples that appear at least twice in the Koran.