Monday, February 12, 2007


Izzy is puzzled by the headlines in today's Jerusalem Post. It does not seem like the controversial excavation at the Temple Mount has been suspended, especially after Olmert's assertions to his cabinet that he is absolutely committed to this renovation project.
Yet Mayor Uri Lupolianski said last night that building works on the new ramp up to the Temple Mount will be stalled until all the contentious objections by Islamicists, archaeologists and sundry others are handled; this is a responsible action. But it transpires that the Antiquities Authority's salvage dig will continue. Isn't this dig one of the sticking points? Arab Israelis and Muslims from Indonesia to Iran have objected to the dig because of the (far-fetched) possibility that underground tunnels are meant to undermine the foundations of their shrine and mosque. Reassurances by the Israelis that the Archaeological garden lies outside the holy site have not quelled rumours. Perhaps placing the city council's proposed 24/7 web cam inside the salvage dig would go further towards abating this potential crisis (if enough light can be thrown inside...and if the Muslims are convinced there is no trickery involved.)
Trust is what's lacking. Mutual suspicion of opportunism and manipulation is what fuels the righteous fury, along with a sense of entitlement. Certainly, the security troops on their hefty steeds looked ready for a fight, as did the shouters of slogans and hurlers of bottles and rocks.
Closing the boys' high school in the area is a dim tactic on the part of the Israelis. If Muslim kids are in class, they are accountable to their teachers and far less apt to be out on the streets hurling stones. Conspiracy theories abound, but so often it is just ineptitude.

No comments: