Archaeologist Gabriel Barkay was leading a group of students from the University of California, UCLA, when he was stopped and led by Waqf guards to Israeli authorities, for repeatedly mentioning the words "Temple Mount", telling the story of the site.
Lone of the guards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque who was stationed near the group first asked the guide not to use the name "Temple Mount" anymore, but Gabriel Barkay started again when talking about the Byzantine era . Two guards then ordered the 72-year-old to follow them, and escorted him to an Israeli police patrol, demanding the eviction of the archaeologist who did not call the site by his Muslim name, Haram al-Sharif
Waqf guards are in charge of the security of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, but do not have authority over entrances. In the absence of legal legitimacy for this expulsion, their request was unsuccessful. The police, however, asked the guide not to use this name. Gabriel Barkay finally chose to use the initials MT to evoke the history of the site with the students, during the end of the visit.
This episode follows the heated debates on the terminology of the historic site, after a new UNESCO resolution. The resolution only refers to the Temple Mount by its Muslim names, Haram al-Sharif and Al-Aqsa Mosque, thus denying millennia of history.
source: Times of Israel
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