Beyadenu, a Temple Mount activist organization, submitted a complaint to the State Comptroller describing the destruction of artifacts carried out by Palestinians during the recent period of Ramadan. According to the organization, the report shows negligence in supervising and protecting antiquities in the Temple Mount area, “which have been vandalized, degraded and misused in recent times.”
Many artifacts, including carved stone elements from the Jewish Temples, were damaged as they were used to obstruct Jewish access to their holiest site. After being piled on the pathway on the eastern side of the compound, they were collected and thrown back without any preservation or supervision.
Moreover, on Qadr Night, the carpets in the Golden Gate complex were replaced, and a new path was paved on top of ancient stones.
Even more tragic was the damage caused to beams that had been stored in an area adjacent to the Gate of Mercy. In addition to being used to obstruct Jewish passage, the wooden beams were damaged after being used during the month of Ramadan as benches for sitting and drying clothes and carpets.
These beams have a disturbing history. An earthquake in 1927 caused extensive damage to the Aqsa Mosque, causing it to collapse. The roofing beams were dismantled, and most have been stored under a tarpaulin in the outdoor courtyard. Some of the beams were sold to an Armenian wood merchant for scrap, and even more disappeared. Some timbers found their way to the town of Ofra in Samaria, where they are being stored. In the 1970s, 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 when al Aqsa Mosque was initially 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. That meant the tree had been cut down around 880 BCE, early in the First Temple period. This indicates that when al Aqsa was first built, the builders used materials that were on site from the destroyed Jewish Temples.
Beyadenu demands that the antiquities be removed from the Temple Mount for preservation. They also call for comprehensive reform of the treatment of the antiquities in the Temple Mount compound.
“The matter of damage and neglect of antiquities throughout the Temple Mount deprives me and many others of their sleep,” Tom Ninasi, CEO of Beyadenu, said in a statement. “Such lawlessness cannot continue when every morning we have to report to the Antiquities Authority about some damage, disappearance, and neglect of antiquities that are of immense value to the Jewish people and all of humanity.”
The Waqf (Muslim trust) has a long history of intentional destruction of artifacts on the Temple Mount while at the same time preventing archaeologists from accessing the site. It is clear from their actions that the activities by the Muslim Waqf and the Israeli Muslim movement on the Temple Mount represent an unprecedented attempt to deny any legitimacy to the ancient Jewish heritage in Jerusalem. In 1996 the Islamic Clerics changed the accepted status quo that was kept for generations and converted two ancient underground Second Temple Period structures into a new large mosque. Both structures, known as Solomon’s stables and the Eastern Hulda Gate passageway, were never mosques. The new mosque extends over an area of 1.5 acres, thus being the largest mosque in Israel, able to accommodate 10,000 people. It is, in fact, rarely used for prayers.
Thirteen thousand tons of the ancient fills from the site, subsequently found by Israeli archeologists to contain artifacts dating as early as the First Temple Period, were dumped into the Kidron Valley.
The intention is to turn the entire 36-acre Temple Mount compound into an exclusively Muslim site by erasing every sign, remnant, and memory of its Jewish past, including the destruction of archeological findings that are proof of this past.
This intentional destruction of holy sites is characteristic of Islam. In Nazareth, Muslim zealots have sought since 1997 to construct a large mosque that would dwarf the Christian Basilica of the Annunciation.
On October 7, 2000, after constant attacks by Palestinian mobs, the Jewish holy site of Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus (Shechem) was sacked and burned and later converted into a mosque. The ancient Shalom Al Yisrael synagogue in Jericho was sacked and burned five days later by Palestinians.
Rachel’s Tomb at the Jerusalem-Bethlehem border has come under repeated Palestinian sniper attacks.
In April 2002, Palestinian Tanzim gunmen from Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement took over the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and controlled the site for weeks at gunpoint.