We’ve reported in multiple BiblePlaces Newsletters and here about the plan to excavate the collapsed earthen ramp leading from the Western Wall plaza to the Temple Mount. This ramp gives access to the only Temple Mount gate open to non-Muslims. Haaretz reports today that the Israel Antiquities Authority will begin digging in a few days.
The ramp, which leads from the Western Wall plaza to one of the Temple Mount Gates, is located in one of the most sensitive places in the world, and plans to carry out excavations under it have therefore been held up by the Shin Bet security service and the prime minister’s military secretary for the past two years, for fear of Muslim riots.
Archaeologist Meir Ben-Dov warned yesterday that any digging in the area could lead to bloodshed.
“Digging in this place goes way beyond the archaeological sphere. This place is far too sensitive and the price would be much too high,” he said.
However, a reliable source told Haaretz that “now that the Palestinian Authority is paralyzed and incapable of resisting, it’s an excellent opportunity to carry out the plan.”
These photos were taken in the last year.
The temporary wooden ramp is on the left side of the earthen ramp to be excavated.
The north side of the earthen ramp collapsed after a snowfall in February 2004.
The ramp is more prominent when viewed from the south side. The new excavations will apparently create a connection between the Western Wall prayer plaza and the Jerusalem Archaeological Park (aka Southern Temple Mount Excavations).