UNESCO experts at construction site
Photo: Dudi Vaknin
A seven-man team of Turkish experts arrived in Israel Tuesday to inspect contested construction works near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
On his visit to Turkey last month, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to allow a team of expert to inspect the construction site to calm Muslim fears that the works could damage the foundations of the al-Aqsa Mosque.
The delegation will be headed by engineer Tila Arnelar.
UNESCO report, which will be published Wednesday, states Israel adhered to international standards in Mugrabi Gate excavations, but calls for suspension of project until international monitors can arrive in Jerusalem
Delegation members toured the Old City of Jerusalem where they stopped at the construction site near the Mugrabi Gate and met with the Western Wall rabbi.
On Thursday, the delegation will meet Muslim leaders and members of the Jerusalem Waqf, the religious Muslim endowment that rule the Temple Mount.
In February, a UNESCO team ruled that Israeli digs near the Mugrabi Gate posed no risk to the Temple Mount and the al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third most revered shrine.
The team however said that Israel should have consulted with the world body before launching the digs.
UNESCO recommended that Israel halts works near the gate awaiting approval from an international team of experts.