Baron Wolman

Viewed from the southeast, Jerusalem’s Temple Mount is dominated by the golden Dome of the Rock, while another mosque, the lead-domed al-Aqsa Mosque, stands at the southern end of the mount. The al-Marawani Mosque lies underground between the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Temple Mount’s eastern wall, which is visible in the circled area near the bottom of the photo.

Although the Temple Mount may contain valuable archaeological data from three millennia of Jerusalem’s history, recent construction at and around the al-Marawani Mosque has proceeded without the legally mandated supervision of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Many fear that the Waqf, the Muslim religious trust in charge of the Temple Mount, is causing irreversible damage to this precious archaeological site. But Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, perhaps fearing that intervention would adversely affect peace talks with the Palestinians, has been unwilling to call a halt to the work.