The unauthorized dig of a trench this past summer by the Moslem Waqf on the Temple Mount had a thin silver lining: Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) personnel monitoring the trench-digging have, for the first time, found traces of the First Temple.
It was assumed that precious findings were destroyed.
Jerusalem District Archaeologist Yuval Baruch uncovered fragments of ceramic table wares, animal bones, and more. The finds date from the 8th to 6th centuries BCE; the First Temple existed between the 9th and 5th centuries BCE, having been built by King Solomon in 832 and destroyed in 422 BCE.
Muslim scholars and leaders often deny any Jewish claim to the Temple Mount. It is often charged that Arab landworks there are employed for throwing out truckloads of artifacts that would prove otherwise.
Moslem claims to the Temple Mount, on the other hand, have been debunked even by other Moslems. A commentator for the official Egyptian government weekly, of all places, has written that the entire Moslem claim on Jerusalem and the El-Aksa mosque is based on a mistaken reading of one chapter of the Quran. Ahmed Mahmad Oufa wrote that the verse that mentions a night journey by Muhammed to a mosque has nothing to do with Jerusalem, as is generally claimed, but with a mosque near the holy Moslem city of Medina.
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