Israel should immediately cease work on an access path to a holy site in Jerusalem, the UN said Wednesday.

“Israel should at once stop excavations and consult on a final plan with Muslim religious authorities and other parties,” a UN release said, based on a report by experts with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Israel began in February to work on a new walkway up to the compound that includes holy sites sacred to both Muslims and Jews.

Known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary, the work is intended to replace an old earthen ramp that partially collapsed in a snowstorm three years ago.

Israel said the work will cause no harm to Islam’s holy site, which includes the Dome of the Rock shrine and the al-Aqsa mosque.

The UN agreed, saying “no work was being conducted inside the Haram al-Sharif area containing the mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, and excavations ended 10 metres from the Western Wall, considered a holy site by the Jews.”


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