A view of the Temple Mount from the air.
(photo credit: GALI TIBBON)
In recent weeks and far from the media spotlight, the Jerusalem Development Authority carried out an unprecedented upgrade near the Temple Mount, clearing a long-standing garbage dump just outside the Old City walls.
Work of this kind is rare, especially when done so close to the Temple Mount, where just on Sunday violent clashes broke out as Jews entered the holy site to mark Jerusalem Day.
The garbage dump was located until recently in an area known as the “Sheep Market,” on the northeast corner of the Old City. Not far from the Temple Mount, it is adjacent to a monument to honor Jordanian soldiers killed during the 1967 Six Day War as well as the Yeusefiya Cemetery, which runs north- south, east of the Temple Mount, and is managed by the Wakf Islamic religious trust.
Sources involved in the project said that the garbage dump had become a health and sanitation hazard, and was also disrespectful to the hundreds of thousands of Muslim worshipers who walked by on their way to the Temple Mount and al-Aqsa Mosque via the Lions’ Gate.
In order to move the garbage dump, the JDA – under direction of the Jerusalem Municipality and Mayor Moshe Lion – conducted negotiations with the Greek Orthodox Church and found a new location for a cleaner and environment-friendly garbage plant, farther away from the Old City walls.
Sources said the project took time due to the sensitivity of any work conducted by the government in east Jerusalem, especially work carried out close to the Temple Mount. Throughout the process, contact was maintained with the Wakf as well as with authorities in Jordan and in various Gulf states.
The NIS 6 million project was budgeted through a cabinet decision taken in May 2017.
With the garbage plant out of the way, the JDA, municipality and East Jerusalem Development Company have started construction of a promenade that will circle along the Old City walls with the aim of improving the quality of the site in the area and increasing foot traffic, primarily of tourists.
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