From the AFP (HT: Paleojudaica):

Jordan summoned Israeli ambassador Nevo Dani on Thursday to demand a halt to “unilateral” work carried out by the Jewish state on the outer walls of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
“The ambassador was summoned today to the foreign ministry where he was handed an official letter of protest expressing deep concerns and rejection of unilateral measures in the outer western walls of the church,” a senior official told AFP.
The Jordanian government demanded Israel “immediately halt such actions and restore the status quo,” according to the letter.
“Israel’s measures are illegal and violate international laws because Israel is the occupying force in the West Bank and east Jerusalem,” the official said.
Another Jordanian official said the Israeli authorities “have removed iron bars around a gate in the walls that has been sealed since the British mandate of Palestine (which ended in 1948) and opened the gate.”
The official, who declined to be named, said that the Israelis “claimed that they were doing renovations but nobody asked them to do anything”.
“This is unprecedented and dangerous,” the official said, noting that anything to do with the Holy Sepulchre is “very sensitive.”
“The work presently being carried out by the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) on the ancient sealed door known as Mary’s Gate, which is located on Christian Quarter road in the Old City of Jerusalem, is the sole and entire initiative of the same Israeli Antiquities Authority,” it said in a statement.

If you read Middle Eastern news the way you should read Middle Eastern news, then you’re not believing everything in that article.

Here’s a photo of the gate, taken last night.


Mary’s Gate, December 4, 2009
Photo by Craig Dunning

The iron bars have indeed been removed.  This has allowed the IAA to patch the gate so that it will not further deteriorate.  They didn’t open the gate; they sealed it further shut.

A friend spoke with a few people and learned that:

  • The WAQF (Muslim authorities) is protesting out of some claim to the iron bars.
  • The Greeks are protesting because they weren’t consulted and status quo is in jeopardy.
  • The Catholics are protesting because the blocked up gate is theirs.

However, the Israel Antiquities Authority was given permission to make the repairs by a Catholic official.  This official believes that since the iron gate was under the authority of the British Mandate, it now falls under the authority of the current government, Israel.

About the BiblePlaces Blog

The BiblePlaces Blog provides updates and analysis of the latest in biblical archaeology, history, and geography. Unless otherwise noted, the posts are written by Todd Bolen, PhD, Professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s University.


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