This afternoon, we went to the Mughrabi Gate to see for ourselves the controversial excavations.
To the left is the Western Wall Plaza, with the Dome of the Rock in the background. In the center is the temporary wooden bridge structure. On the slope next to it is the where the previous ramp was located and where the current excavations are taking place.
In the background is the grey dome of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Israeli construction is taking place some 60 meters outside of the Temple Mount compound,
On Friday morning, Palestinians on the Temple Mount above threw stones on Jews worshipping at the Western Wall. In the background is the temporary wooden bridge. The scaffolding under the bridge is covered by white strips, probably for aesthetic purposes.
Mughrabi Gate itself. Tourists visiting the Temple Mount can enter only through this gate and only after going through a strict security check. This resulted in long waits in the hot sun for visitors. The new ramp will be more tourist friendly. The original ramp was badly damaged by an earthquake and snowstorms in 2004.
The Israeli Antiquities Authority is excavating the site before the ramp is built. This routine often delays Israeli construction projects, but such digging is known to turn up important finds.
The media waits for violence to erupt.