Friday, November 18, 2005


From AFP:

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Large sections of the 16th century walls surrounding Jerusalem's Old City are in danger of collapse unless they undergo immediate restoration.

According to an engineering survey conducted by the Israeli Antiquities Authority, 380 metres (yards), or one-tenth, of the walls' extension are in immediate danger of collapse, Israeli newspaper Maariv reported on Friday.

The survey showed 11 sections of the stone wall needing attention, most of them located along the northern stretch, which flanks the Muslim quarter, and the southern stretch, which skirts the Jewish quarter.

The area in most need of work is the section which flanks the southern supporting wall of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam.

The site also houses the ruins of the ancient Jewish temple, the most sacred spot in Judaism, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

Israeli authorities have repeatedly called attention to a bulge in the southern supporting wall of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, provoking tensions between the Jewish and Muslim communities.

"The examination shows that the signs of cracking and crumbling, which are evidence of structural problems, have increased and become more widespread," the report said. "New cracks were also revealed in the southern wall (of the mosque compound), which shows evidence of movement in the entire wall."

Another 29 sections of the wall, extending a total of 1,280 metres, are also in danger of collapse, but the threat is not quite so imminent, the report said.

The Old City is divided culturally and historically into four parts -- the Jewish, Armenian, Christian and Muslim quarters.

Built by Suleiman the Magnificent between 1536-1541, the Old City walls stretch a total length of 3.8 kilometres (2.3 miles).

Seven gates in the wall lead into the Old City -- Jaffa, Damascus, Herod's, Zion, Dung, Lion's and New gates. An eighth, the Golden Gate, is sealed off.

Think about this. Israeli Engineers do a survey which determines that there are serious structural problems in the Old Jerusalem Wall, particularly in the area of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

They warn Muslim officials of the problem, and this provokes "tensions" between Muslims and Jews.

Here's my prediction. Despite repeated attempts by Israeli scientists to warn Muslims of the problem, they will ignore it, because they don't believe in science. Instead, they believe Allah will protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

However, when the wall falls, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque is thus damaged, the Muslims will not blame Allah, but instead, they will blame the Jews.

Further, I predict this will lead to a big, big altercation between Muslims and Jews, and possibly into a full-scale war. And it will all be over an old wall, and a couple of old religious structures, in a very old city.

What do you know?