Classified comptroller report on Temple Mount slams government for failing to protect area from Wakf

The Wakf, affiliated with Jordan, essentially runs activities in the mosque areas of the Temple Mount on an autonomous basis, though Israel still maintains sovereignty and occasionally sends security forces into the area to restore order.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
December 30, 2013 01:18
2 minute read.
Temple Mount aerial from north

Temple Mount aerial from north 370. (photo credit: BiblePlaces.com)

 
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 A 2010 State Comptroller Report, which is still considered classified in Israel, critiqued Israeli authorities as negligent in protecting Temple Mount archeological areas from the Wakf Muslim religious trust that administers the mosques in the area, according to a recent report by an American media outlet.

The Jewish Voice said that the comptroller report “reveals the terrifying truth about the Israeli conspiracy to relinquish control of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to hands of the Muslim Wakf.”

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No such grandiose plot appears in the Hebrew version of the still-classified document published on the site, which is being reported on by other Israeli media. But the report, mostly covering activities on the Mount 2001-2007, and as indicated by the Jewish Voice, does criticize the Jerusalem Municipality, the police, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the state prosecution for negligence relating to law enforcement toward Wakf activities.

The Wakf, affiliated with Jordan, essentially runs activities in the mosque areas of the Temple Mount on an autonomous basis, though Israel still maintains sovereignty and occasionally sends security forces into the area to restore order.

Earlier Sunday, a spokesman for the state comptroller refused to comment on the contents of the report citing that it was still classified.

While one media outlet reported that a debate was held in the past year in a subcommittee of the Knesset State Control Committee about whether to reconsider declassifying the report despite the decision to classify it in 2010, a spokesman for the committee denied that any such debate had taken place.

The spokesman said that he had no knowledge of the report’s contents and an additional Knesset source did not respond to inquiries prior to press time.



Later Wednesday, the comptroller published a letter complaining about the publicizing of the report on the site and referring the issue to the attorney- general.

The site’s summary of the report on the site accuses the government of calling the report classified on national security grounds in order to cover it up from public consumption since the report’s contents would embarrass the government.

The summary implies that in 1999 the Wakf ruined certain First and Second Temple artifacts that it excavated to build a large underground mosque where King Solomon’s Stables are suspected to have been.

Much more recently, the summary of the report says that the Antiquities Authority did not ensure that Wakf excavations were performed carefully and that municipal officials were sometimes not even present to enforce regulations during Wakf construction.

Next, the summary says that only the police were present during Wakf excavations, but that the police were overly passive, permitting the Wakf unregulated autonomy to preserve “good working relations.”

The summary also says that the attorney-general (referring to Menachem Mazuz who held the office in 2007 and his predecessors) was criticized for hampering law enforcement by setting a procedure by which no law enforcement actions would be taken to stop violations without his explicit authorization.

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