More damage reported at the Muslim structures on the Temple Mount

Men from your midst shall rebuild ancient ruins, You shall restore foundations laid long ago. And you shall be called “Repairer of fallen walls, Restorer of lanes for habitation.”




(the israel bible)

February 13, 2023

4 min read

For the second time in one week, structural damage as reported at a Muslim structure on the Temple Mount. Though the damage seems minor and its cause is undetermined, the Muslim structures standing on Judaism’s holiest site have a long history of collapse due to the earthquakes that are common to the region. 

Arab media is reporting that rain damage led to the collapse of sections of the floor inside the Aqsa Mosque’s Marwani prayer building on the Temple Mount. The damage took place on Thursday and the Arab officials blamed Israel:

“Sheikh Najeh Bakirat, deputy head of the Islamic Awqaf Administration in Occupied Jerusalem, warned that the Israeli occupation authority’s (IOA) refusal to allow the Islamic Awqaf to carry out renovations to the Aqsa Mosque’s prayer buildings and premises constitutes a great danger to its existence,” Qods International News Agency wrote.

The reference points described in the articles were a bit confusing as the Marwani Mosque and the al-Aqsa Mosque are separate locations. Al Aqsa, also known as the Qibli Mosque, is the prayer hall with a dark gray dome located at the southern end of the Temple Mount. The al-Marwani Mosque is a different location, constructed under the Temple Mount Plaza in an underground vaulted space referred to as Solomon’s stables. In December 1996 the Waqf carried out an illegal construction project using heavy equipment to remove approximately 9,000 tons (an estimated 350 truckloads) of archaeologically rich soil, dumping it in the Kidron Valley. The underground area was converted into a Muslim prayer hall.

While the term ‘al-Aqsa Mosque’ (the further mosque) refers to a specific structure, the Palestinian media have, in recent years, begun to use it to refer to the entire Temple Mount (al-Ḥaram al-Sharīf in Arabic). According to Dr. Mordechai Kedar, an expert Arabist, this is an intentional lie intended to allow the Palestinians to claim the entire Temple Mount. He suggested that the term will continue to be subverted with the intention of claiming the entire city of Jerusalem for Islam.

The Arabic media reports claimed the damage was in a structure near the “Al-Ghawanmeh Gate.” This gate, previously called the al-Khalil Gate, is located on the northwestern corner of the Temple Mount. As noted above, the Aqsa Mosque and the Marwani Mosque are located in the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount. 

Akiva Ariel, a spokesman for the Temple Mount activist organization, Beyadenu, told Israel365 News that it is not uncommon for the Muslim structures on the Temple Mount to experience minor structural collapses. 

“Underneath the mosque is a structure known as Al-Aqsa el-Qadima, or Baq’at el-Baida just close to the Southern wall of the Temple Mount,” Ariel said. Just a few months ago, the Waqf was angry that rocks were falling in the underground al-Aqsa.”

“The Waqf is blaming Israel but as we saw in the case of the Marwani, the Waqf carries out illegal and unsupervised digging and construction. Jews are restricted and are not allowed near the buildings. We certainly do not dig. But the Arabs are known to do illegal digging. Not only is the Temple Mount archaeologically significant, but it is honeycombed with tunnels that were used in the Temples. It is dangerous to dig there.”

“Two years ago, a Palestinian truck was on the Temple Mount and broke through the plaza, revealing a previously unknown tunnel right near al-Aqsa,” Ariel said.

Last week, Israel365 News reported that tiles were falling off the western facade of the Dome of the Rock located on the Temple Mount. In fact, Israel has recently experienced a number of earthquakes, and the Muslim structures on the Temple Mount have a history of collapsing in the wake of the earthquakes.

Constructed in 692 CE by the Umayyad Caliphate on the orders of Abd al-Malik on the site of the Jewish Temple, the Dome of the Rock is the oldest Muslim structure in existence. The building was severely damaged by earthquakes in 808 and again in 846. The dome collapsed in an earthquake in 1015 and was rebuilt in 1022–23. The mosaics on the drum were repaired in 1027–28. The earthquake of 1033 resulted in the introduction of wooden beams to enforce the dome. Parts of the Dome of the Rock collapsed during the 11 July 1927 earthquake, and the walls were left badly cracked.

Al Aqsa has also suffered from natural catastrophes.  Shortly after it was built, it was destroyed in an earthquake in 746 CE. The mosque was rebuilt in 758 CE but was damaged in another earthquake. It was again destroyed during the 1033 Jordan Rift Valley earthquake. Severe damage was caused by the 1837 and 1927 earthquakes, but the mosque was repaired in 1938 and 1942.

Earthquakes in 2004 opened cracks in the walls of the Dome of the Rock and the Marwani Mosque. The Waqf refused to allow Israeli experts to aid in the repairs.  Eilat Mazar, a noted archeologist and activist on the Committee for Preventing the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, conjectured that a major disaster at the site was imminent.

“It is falling apart,” Mazar said to Globe-News. “It is just a matter of time until some big section of the inside of the compound will fall in — from [the weight of] tens of thousands of Muslims, from trucks, from the next earthquake. . . . It is pure stupidity to think if we do nothing that nothing will happen.”

The wooden bridge connecting the Western Wall Plaza with the Mughrabi Gate is the only access to the site for non-Muslims. Built in 2007, it was intended as a temporary replacement for an ancient stone and earth ramp that collapsed in 2004. Due to complaints by the Waqf, the wooden bridge was never replaced. Last year, a structural engineer wrote an official letter to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation after finding “extreme dryness” and “many longitudinal cracks,” warning that the bridge was in danger of collapse.

A tragedy of a different sort struck on 20 July 1951 when Jordanian King Abdullah I was shot three times by a Palestinian gunman as he entered the mosque, killing him. Judea and Samaria and the eastern half of Jerusalem were, at the time, occupied by Jordan. His grandson Prince Hussein was at his side and was also hit, though a medal he was wearing on his chest deflected the bullet.

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