UNESCO claims digging does not harm Temple Mount

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
An UNESCO report that concluded that excavations near the Temple Mount are not damaging Moslem holy sites is to be presented to its Director-General, Koichiro Matsuura on Wednesday. Despite this, the report calls on the Israel Antiquities Authority to stop digging until a further international investigation is done.

While the four-member team that compiled the report stated that the excavation does not cause damage, Israeli officials feels the report sends “mixed messages” as UNESCO says one thing and writes another.

UNESCO spokeswoman Sue Williams said the organization would not comment on the report until after the executive board meeting that is slated for April 10.

Both the Foreign Ministry and the Antiquities Authority also deferred commenting on the report until its official publication.

A UNESCO team came to Jerusalem following Moslem rioting and protests that archaeological digging in the area adjacent to the Western Wall and construction of the ramp leading to the Mugrabi Gate were damaging to the Temple Mount.

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