A Jordanian official called on Israel Wednesday to stop archaeological excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem, the official Petra news agency reported. Israel has been carrying out excavations on a ramp leading up to a disputed holy site. The digging has sparked clashes between police and Muslims in Jerusalem and touched off fierce criticism throughout the Muslim world. "Israel must stop its continuous practices and measures to Judaize the city and change its Arab and Islamic characteristics," said Abdullah Kanaan, the head of Jordan's Royal Committee for Jerusalem's Affairs. Muslims fear the work will harm Islamic shrines on the hilltop compound, which is known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims, and whose fate is central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel insists the work would not harm Muslim holy sites and is meant to salvage archaeological finds ahead of the construction of a new pedestrian walkway up to the hilltop compound. But Kanaan warned that "Israel's persistence to carry on with its measures will lead to more violence, terrorism and the determination of the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim peoples everywhere to fight the occupation."