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Tension enveloped Jerusalem on Tuesday after Israeli military forces initiated threats of breaking into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to force Muslim worshippers out.
The Israeli security authorities ended the siege of "Al-Haram Al-Sharif," at dawn, after Muslim worshippers refused to get out of the mosque, Palestinian sources said.
The Israelis threatened to resume blocking the gates and the walls of Al-Aqsa Mosque at a later time, the sources said.
Around 200 Palestinian worshippers have remained in the mosque since Saturday to prevent radical Jews from storming Al-Haram Al-Sharif on th
Also, what Jewish religious day was last week, that would require their need for the mound?
In 2009 Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement) begins at sundown on Sunday September 27 and ends at nightfall on Monday September 28.
Now this balance has been disrupted and most of the archaeological research in Jerusalem is being driven by pressures from politically interested groups and individuals with the aim of "proving" our historical rights in the city or clearing an area for construction. The outcome is "fast archaeology" that satisfies the consumer's hunger but damages archaeological assets under Israel's responsibility.
The best archaeology, the kind practiced at the world's leading archaeological centers, is slow archaeology that gives excavators time to deepen their familiarity with each site's unique problems and digest the results of their actions so they can repair and improve. Every excavation is planned and documented destruction, so the destroyer has a great responsibility. Therefore, the most advanced archaeology is also transparent and open to criticism, undertaken in an atmosphere of openness. And here and now, in the Israel of 2009, the opposite is the case.
Much of the archaeology in the center of Jerusalem's "holy basin" is fast archaeology, swallowing up more than it is capable of digesting. It is no coincidence that the top archaeologists from this country's leading institutes are refraining from taking part in excavations in Jerusalem. I would not send my students to apprentice there.
This archaeology is being carried out under time pressure and is subordinate to the desires of landlords who are not scholars; usually these are religious, ideological or tourist organizations, or contractors. The work is carried out nonstop, without pause for researchers to understand their findings. Thus, for example, most of the Antiquities Authority's archaeological activities around the City of David's water system have been delegated to a duo of archaeologists who have not yet published a serious report on these excavations.
Moreover, for several years now, excavations in these areas have been carried out in tunnels in horizontal digs - contrary to every accepted practice. During the excavations, many tons of dirt are discarded along with a considerable part of their archaeological contents (and this comes as, with trumpet blasts, an expensive project is underway to sift dirt the Waqf is taking out of the Temple Mount). There is no external oversight of the excavators: The Antiquities Authority is both carrying out the work and supervising it.
Near the Western Wall, too, excavations have been completed recently that went on for three years without pause, and, for more than a year now, extensive excavations have been going on beneath the Western Wall tunnels in accordance with a demand by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit organization.
These excavations are being carried out under secret agreements with the various authorities, without comprehensive planning and external oversight.
Fayyad's description of last Sunday's events bears no resemblance to Israel's version. According to senior Israeli officials, members of a right-wing Jewish organization did indeed declare their intent to ascend the mount on the morning of September 27, but police prevented them from even entering the Temple Mount compound.
The tensions reached a peak last Tuesday, when the Palestinians told several foreign embassies that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intended to accompany right-wing activists to the East Jerusalem village of Silwan to dedicate a new tunnel.
In fact, Netanyahu was merely planning to treat his senior aides to dinner at a nearby restaurant - an event that was ultimately canceled due to a heavy work load. Nevertheless, both American officials in Washington and the U.S. Embassy in Israel contacted the Prime Minister's Office to demand explanations for the alleged tunnel dedication, while senior officials in Sweden's Foreign Ministry demanded similar explanations of Israel's ambassador in Stockholm.
Warning that the situation on the mount was flammable and could swiftly deteriorate, he added, "I remind you that this is where the Al-Aqsa Intifada began, after [Ariel] Sharon's visit" to the mount in September 2000. The Palestinians popular response stems from the Israeli aggression, and we are liable to lose control over events."