Demolition masqued as Archeology: Israel gearing to open tunnel network under Aqsa Mosque area

[ 20/04/2011 – 03:53 PM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Israeli occupation authorities are making preparations ahead of opening a network of underground tunnels near the Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem, the Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The tunnels stretch from under walls of the sacred zone to Jerusalem’s Old City.

Several tunnels had been dug out over various periods over the last forty years, Haaretz said. They were also interconnected through a tunnel network plan, with the main entrance in the city’s Silwan district, which neighbors the mosque area. From there, they can be taken to the Al-Buraq wall, known to Jews as the Wailing Wall, west of the mosque, and they extends to the Old City’s Muslim quarter, where a number of settlement outposts and Jewish synagogues have been built.

Israeli officials expect the tunnel network will serve as a new tourist attraction for hundreds of thousands of foreigners yearly, Haaretz said. Tourists would be able to enter Silwan and walk below the surface of the earth to Jerusalem’s Old City.

According to Haaretz, the excavations have ruined the archaeological features under the ground. The objective was to dig past Islamic and Christian features in a bid to stumble upon Jewish artifacts.

The project itself was aimed at enhancing settlement outposts erected in the city’s Muslim quarter by linking them to outposts in the Silwan district.

Israeli archaeologist Yoram Tseverir has declared that digging under the mosque is ”wrong”, assuring that no scientific findings can be made thereby.

The digging has caused serious cracking and cave-ins in the mosque’s square.

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