Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Thursday, 15 February 2007

Webcast for Jerusalem excavations

Work proceeding near al-Aqsa mosque
Construction work has been put off while excavation continues

The Israeli authorities have installed cameras to film excavation work being carried out near the Temple Mount or Haram Sharif in East Jerusalem.

The footage will be broadcast live on the internet, in an attempt to ease widespread anger in the Muslim world.

Friday saw angry protests by Palestinians over the start of work to repair an ancient mound near Jerusalem's holiest site.

Israel says the work is needed to repair a walkway up to the compound.

Plans for the construction work have been put off following the protests, but preparatory excavations are continuing. It is this that is to be broadcast on the web.

There will be three cameras in the excavation area. They will show a complete angle of the excavation
Liat Eizenkot
Israel Antiquities Authority

Palestinian leaders say the work threatens Islamic archaeological remains and see the work as a huge provocation. Muslim leaders around the world have demanded all work on the site is halted.

Israel insists that the work poses no risk to the holy site.

The Temple Mount or Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) is the holiest site in Judaism and Islam's third holiest shrine.

Live webcast

The Israeli Antiquities Authority says it wants to show that this is a proper archaeological dig.

Site of first and second Temples and the rock on which Abraham offered his son as a sacrifice. As the visible remnant of the Temple, the Western Wall is one of the holiest site in Judaism

First direction of prayer for Muslims, site of Prophet Muhammad's ascent into, home to al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock

"There will be three cameras in the excavation area. They will show a complete angle of the excavation area," Israel Antiquities Authority official Liat Eizenkot told AFP news agency.

Daily work at the site will be broadcast from 0630 local time (0430 GMT) to 1430 (1230 GMT), the Israel Antiquities Authority said.

The web camera would remain on outside working hours, she told AFP.

Broadcasts will start on Thursday and can be seen at the antiquities authority's website at

A spokesman for the Islamic religious trust which runs the Haram al-Sharif said the new measures were just cosmetic action and that instead of putting up cameras, the digging should stop. -The Haram al-Sharif is believed to be where the Prophet Muhammad made an ascent to heaven into the presence of God.

Jews believe the Temple Mount is where Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God. It is also the site to the First and Second Temples. The Western Wall of the mount is one of the holiest sites in Judaism.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 war. Since then, the compound has remained under Muslim jurisdiction in conjunction with neighbouring Jordan.

Holy sites plan

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