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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

Did Israeli police allow the Muslim custodians of the Temple Mount to carry out illegal construction on the Mount last week that may have damaged antiquities, making it more difficult for archaeologists to find temple artifacts?

That’s the question being asked by Temple Mount activists and archaeologists here after it was discovered that the Wakf, the Mount’s Islamic custodians, last week used a heavy tractor to lay massive stone tiles over an area of the Mount in which some archaeologists believe a Second Temple wall was recently discovered.

Pictures of the purported wall surfaced after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last summer gave the Wakf permission to use tractors to dig a 1,300-foot trench around the periphery of the Mount. The Wakf claimed the trench was necessary to replace electrical cables outside mosques on the site.

Allowing the use of bulldozers at any sensitive archaeological site is extremely unusual, particularly at the Temple Mount, which experts say contains sealed layers of artifacts as shallow as two to three feet below the surface. The Mount never has been properly excavated.

Heavy equipment could easily damage any existing artifacts, say Israeli experts, who assert the area should be excavated slowly and carefully by hand.

The latest story surfaced when Jerusalem police last Thursday reportedly stopped Wakf workers from continuing work using a tractor to raise the ground on the northern side of the Temple Mount, according to witnesses speaking to WorldNetDaily.

Workers laid stones that were about nine inches thick along a large area in the north, near where some Israeli archaeologists believe a Second Temple wall was found during last summer’s Wakf construction

According to Palestinian Authority Wakf sources, the tiling work took place several days last week in full coordination with Israel.

The work was only stopped Thursday when what one Wakf source described as “extremist Jewish groups” protested the tiling work and use of a tractor. The work on Thursday was taking place during the two hours in the morning in which Jews are allowed to ascend the Mount.

Syria Readies Its Rockets

Syria is in the midst of “intensely” arming itself, placing into position rockets and missiles capable of striking the entire Jewish state, according to an assessment presented to the Knesset this week by multiple Israeli security agencies. (See story, page 3.)

The assessment came after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced last week that negotiations between the Jewish state and Syria should be seriously considered if it would bring an end to Syrian-sponsored terrorism and Damascus’ “involvement in the axis of evil.”

The negotiations would aim for some sort of Israeli evacuation from the Golan Heights.

Hizbullah’s Fingerprints

The Jerusalem shooting massacre that left eight Jewish seminary students dead last week was planned on behalf of Hizbullah by an activist from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah organization, according to senior Israeli and Palestinian security officials speaking to WND.

Israel, coordinating with Palestinian intelligence services, has specific information that the bloody massacre was financed by Hizbullah and was planned in the West Bank city of Bethlehem by Muhammad Shehadi, a Fatah activist who ran as a Fatah candidate but lost in the 2006 Palestinian elections. Shehadi’s Bethlehem house was raided and demolished Tuesday by Israeli forces. Shehadi, who was not inside his home, is still at large.

Heroism, Palestinian Style

While Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was quick to condemn the Jerusalem shooting massacre, news websites affiliated with Abbas’ Fatah organization labeled the attack “heroic.”

“In a heroic act of martyrdom, at least one hero infiltrated a Zionist school in occupied Jerusalem,” stated the beginning of a news dispatch on Fatah’s Firas Press website translated by WND. Another Fatah-affiliated news site, PalPress, also used the term “heroic” to label the attack.

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief  for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on leading U.S. radio programs and is the author of the recently published book “Schmoozing with Terrorists.”

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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