The Aqsa foundation for Waqf and Heritage has revealed large scale Israeli excavations being executed in the area adjacent to the southern wall of Al-Aqsa mosque, the area is also known as the Umayyad Palaces area. The foundation confirmed that some of the excavation works were being carried out at night, especially in one of the water cisterns located in the area that leads to the subterranean of the Aqsa mosque. The foundation warned of the risks and the impacts of the excavations on the Aqsa mosque and also warned of “the occupation escalatory efforts to judaize the area, especially because of its adjacency to the Marwani prayer hall of the Aqsa mosque”.
In its report that is supported by photographs of the site the foundation stated that the Israeli occupation’s authorities and the antiquities authority initiated a large excavation works over the southern area that is adjacent to the Aqsa mosque, where it has opened several excavation sites in the area well-known as the Umayyad Palaces. The excavation sites were scattered over the southern western area close to the area that surrounds the Aqsa mosque niche, which is called the Al-Khanthaniyya corner; and the middle and the eastern western area.
The excavation sites were covered with tents. The foundation crew noticed a number of excavators and digging tools in the area, moreover staircases and toilets were installed in the whole area of excavation perhaps indicating that the excavations would last some time.
The Aqsa foundation also noted in its report that large plastic bags filled with dust and stones have been extracted from the drilling operations, as well as big banners in Hebrew were set up with the inscription ‘access is not allowed to the excavation area’.
Eyewitnesses told the Aqsa foundation that intensive excavation works are being carried out at night, especially in one of the water cisterns that is located in the area that leads to the subterranean of the Aqsa mosque. Also the report mentions the creation of openings and other corridors in the same area that leads also to the subterranean of the Aqsa Mosque and to the Marwani prayer hall.
They confirmed that while the digging carried out at night the soil evacuation takes place in the morning.
The Aqsa foundation warned that these excavations aimed to weaken the foundation of the Aqsa mosque structure, because in the past similar excavation works caused cracks and fissures in the southern part of the Aqsa mosque walls.