Israel Finishes Digging under East Jerusalem Old City Walls

PNN – Palestine News Network – 25.01.11 – 16:13

Jerusalem – PNN – Israeli Deputy Director of the Antiquities Authority Uzi Dahari announced on Wednesday that digging operations underneath the Old City walls in East Jerusalem were complete, having created a tunnel that will allow tourists to go under the walls into the Old City.


Jerusalem’s Old City on the left (PNN Archive).

The tunnel will originate in the Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan and end at the Davidson Center, near the Western Wall. Residents of Silwan filed a petition with the Israeli High Court of Justice that the digging was damaging their homes, but it was rejected in September 2009.

“There is no political agenda behind the tunnel digging,” said Dahari. “It is archaeology, no more and no less, in accordance with the law.”

Dahari stressed that the dig would not approach the Haram al-Sharif, also known as the Temple Mount, the sensitive religious site home to the al-Aqsa Mosque. The Islamic Waqf (religious endowments authority) regularly reports Israeli intrusions near the Haram al-Sharif and has accused the Jerusalem Municipality of uprooting trees on the site in the past.

“Even if the dig continues,” Dahari explained, “it will not move in the direction of the Temple Mount.”

Fatah Revolutionary Council member Dimitri Dilyani accused the Jerusalem Municipality of Judaizing East Jerusalem and said the digging constituted a “direct danger to al-Aqsa.”

PNN – Palestine News Network – Israel Finishes Digging under East Jerusalem Old City Walls.

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