press release. In any case, the gist of the matter seems clear. First of all, the report clears the Israelis of the accusation that their work is in any way deleterious to the Muslim holy site. But second, it criticizes the Israeli's for not communicating with the Waqf, the Jordanians, etc., in advance of the project. it would be interesting to see the full text of the report in order to gauge the relative emphasis placed on these two points.
I was somewhat dismayed to read a BBC story in which the now officially discredited accusations of some Muslim leaders were presented as banal -- as potentially truthful. As the BBC puts it,"Palestinian critics and Muslim figures internationally say the work could damage the mosque foundations." Thanks to the report summarized in this very BBC story, we now know this not to be the case.
The other issue, namely, Israel's prerogative in undertaking activities of this nature in land occupied in 1967, is much more complicated. According to Haaretz, Israeli diplomats fear that coordination with the Waqf and Jordanians would be tantamount to renouncing Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount. For my part, I don't understand why the excavations should be stopped immediately if they are deemed harmless. UNESCO says that the Israelis have seen enough, but that is almost never the case in archaeology. Still, I can imagine that, perhaps, in hindsight, a more multilateral approach might have been taken to this sensitive problem.