Israeli officials fear the completion of an excavation project near the Temple Mount may spur violence by Palestinians. The Israel Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday that it had completed the excavation of an ancient tunnel that runs from the City of David in eastern Jerusalem to near the Temple Mount. Some Palestinians believe the project is an attempt to damage the Al Aksa Mosque; previous archeological projects in the area have led to rioting by Palestinians. Uzi Dahari, the Israel Antiquities Authority 's deputy director, told Israel Radio on Tuesday that there was "no intention of igniting interreligious tensions."
A 2,100-year-old section of the wall surrounding Jerusalem, dating from Hasmonean times, has been unearthed on Mount Zion, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday. The excavations have revealed part of the expanded southern city wall, from the Second Temple period, when ancient Jerusalem was at its largest.
It's an old/new story. For the past 35 years, the Muslim religious authority known as the Waqf, to which Israel has given custody of the Temple Mount, has been periodically digging it up -- illegally. (That's the Israel Supreme Court's characterization.)