Palestinian Myths: Jerusalem is Ours
By Rachel Ehrenfeld, David Bukay
Wednesday, December 25th, 2013 @ 12:35AM
In his preposterous Christmas greeting, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, claimed: “Jesus was a Palestinian messenger.” He also used the opportunity to deny the right of the Jews and their State of Israel, to their 3,000 year-old capital city Jerusalem. Carried away by his efforts to delegitimize the Jews and Israel, Abbas went on to say, “Our prayers are with the…mosques and churches (added emphasis) … of Jerusalem which remind the world of the Arab identity of our occupied capital.”
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor, rebuked Abbas’s “outrageous rewriting of Christian history,” suggesting “He should have read the Gospel before uttering such offensive nonsense.” Strangely, the Vatican did not rush to condemn Abbas’s outrageous declaration that Jesus (the Christian God) was a Palestinian (i.e. a Muslim, not a Jew).
However, we wish you a very happy celebration of the anniversary of the birth of the only Jewish settler whose right to call Bethlehem, home, has been never protested throughout the world (until now).
This latest attack is part of the Palestinian effort to delegitimize the Jews rights for Israel and their 3,000-year-old capital city, Jerusalem.
There is the common saying: “A grain of truth is needed to make a mountain of lies believable.” However, this saying does not apply to Palestinian claims. However, they rely on this saying to help sell the absolute fabrications and distortions of claiming Jerusalem as part their made up historical lore. For it is hard for average people, international media, world public opinion, and states’ leadership to grasp and internalize the totality of nothing relating the Palestinians’ claims and pretentions.
The Palestinian legends and myths, however, are tightly tied to the development of an intense propaganda machinery of denial of any Jewish sanctity for Jerusalem, as if “Jerusalem has always been under Muslim sovereignty from time immemorial.” The Palestinians do not have any historical, religious, political, or cultural connection to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is not and never has been part of their history. The mosques erected on the Temple mount during the Umayyad Dynasty did not achieve any importance in other Muslim dynasties until the 20th century.
Yet, two important facts combined together can be clearly discerned: first, that for the Jewish diaspora, from 135 AD onward, the Land of Israel has never become a politically independent entity with a distinct identity as a nation; and, second, that Jerusalem was never the capital city of any empire or any independent regime or nation, and was not even ever an important city to any of the empires that controlled it besides the Jews. There have been only three recognized national, politically independent entities in the history of the Land of Israel: the First Jewish Kingdom, from the conquest of Canaan (1400 BCE – 586 BCE); the Second Jewish kingdom, until the end of the Bar Kochva revolt (538 BCE – 135 AD); and the State of Israel, since 1948. This also applies to Jerusalem, which had been the capital of the First and Second Jewish Kingdoms, and now the capital of the State of Israel.
Never bothered by the facts and well trained to twist them, Abbas (Abu-Mazen), on February 26, 2012, in Qatar’s International Conference on Jerusalem, accused Israel of Judaizing al-Quds, while obliterating its Palestinian character. Moreover, he declared that Israel is robbing Jerusalem of its historical and religious Palestinian character and actively pursuing this goal on three fronts: First, by changing the character and architectural structure of al-Quds from its cultural and historical Palestinian roots. Second, by employing processes of ethnic cleansing of Palestinian citizens and sites, begun in 1967, with unprecedented acceleration in the construction of settlements and the demolishing of Palestinian homes with their historical symbolism. Third, by impoverishing al-Quds, because throughout history it has always represented a center of thriving of the Palestinian people.
Jerusalem in Palestinian Propaganda
This theme of an old historical Palestinian Jerusalem that belongs solely to the old historical Palestinian people is a central theme in the mythical propaganda, which is based on pure lies, total fabrications and factual distortions repeatedly released by the Palestinians. According the Mufti of Jerusalem, Israel forges and falsifies the basic facts and history of Jerusalem which belongs solely to Islam and the Palestinians. Israel is said to steal the original Palestinian identity of Jerusalem and its cultural heritage. This theme is reiterated in the Palestinian media which claims Jerusalem to be the religious, political, and spiritual capital of Palestine. As such, Israel has no rights to Jerusalem — not religiously, not legally, not politically, and not historically. Everything in Jerusalem is Palestinian in its purest origin. Jerusalem has been the historical, religious, cultural, and scientific capital of the Palestinians from time immemorial, the center of the Islamic world, and the focus of world civilization.
The Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Imams frequently use lies and venomous libel terminology to deliver inflammatory sermons to incite its people. Israel is accused of acting relentlessly to destroy the city’s culture and history by erasing the city’s Arab, Islamic, and Christian historical monuments. Other accusations against Israel, referred to as “the occupation authority,” include “ethnic cleansing”; “Judaizing” of Jerusalem—replacing its Arab population with Jews; infesting Arab neighborhoods with super aggressive rats; and systematic distribution of addictive drugs to its Arab population. They claim that Arab Jebusite king Malkizedeq built Jerusalem, as the most glorious place in the world, the closest to the kingdom of Allah, that it was always populated by pure Arab Palestinians. There is nothing Jewish in the city whatsoever. Moreover, they claim that any mention in the Bible to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a deliberate falsification.
Furthermore, archeological relics are said to deny Jewish history in Palestinian Jerusalem. Not only is there refutation of the Jewish Temple from an archaeological perspective, but Jerusalem as a whole is denied any Jewish roots. Dr. Marwan Abu-Khalaf, director of the Archaeological Institute at Al-Quds University argues that:
“The archaeological treasures in Jerusalem emphasize the depth of the city’s heritage and history; they emphasize its Arabness and refute the Israeli claims that it is a Jewish city… It is known that perhaps under every stone and in every corner, on every street and at every turn in Jerusalem there are relics. These relics say, ‘We are Arab, we are Muslim, we are Christian.’”
Another Palestinian scholar made the following claims:
“Israel not only steals the land, but also the history of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the capital of Arab civilization… Jerusalem is the religious, historical, cultural and scientific capital of the Palestinian people in particular and of the Arab nation in general. It is the pinnacle of civilizations of the entire world. When the Arab Jebusite king Malkizedeq built the city of Jerusalem, naming it Jebus and designating it the capital of his country six thousand years ago, none of the world’s capitals existed yet… The invaders who steal the city’s geography, are trying to also steal its history.”
He, who wishes to realize how Muslim scholars twist scientific truths and invent legends, is encouraged to read Dr. Marwan Abu Khalaf:
“The fadā’il al-Quds literature may have existed from the time of the Prophet and continued to be transmitted in the Umayyad and later Islamic periods… The Islamization of Jerusalem occurred in the first year A.H. (620 A.D.), the year when Allah ordered Muslims to face the city as their first Qibla, and when the night journey and ascension to heaven took place.”
Sheikh Kamal Rian of the Israeli Islamic Movement has taken an even more extreme approach, asserting that the al-Aqsa Mosque is more sacred than al-Medina’s because it is mentioned in the Qur’ān. It is the closest point between Earth and Heaven, providing the only direct connection and the entrance to heaven. The Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad in Mecca, and Muhammad ascended to Heaven in al-Aqsa.
Yet, the twisted facts reach the highest peak in the Palestinian claim that the al-Aqsa Mosque is the entire Jerusalem. Therefore, Jerusalem in its entirety is Islamic.
A collection of similar claims demonstrates the absurdity of the lies: Abraham was not a Jew; the Jews never lived in ancient Israel; the Jews never had any connection to Jerusalem; Jerusalem was never a Jewish city; there never was a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem; the Western Wall is not a Jewish holy site; the Tombs of Rachel and Joseph are actually Muslim sites.
Recently, a new trend cherishes Jerusalem’s (made up) place in the Palestinians’ collective national memory, thus imitating the two-thousand-year-old Jewish affirmation of allegiance to Jerusalem: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, O Jerusalem, let my tongue cleave to roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” (Psalms, 137:5-6).
To better indoctrinate the Arab/Muslim population, Palestinian television has produced a video clip saying: “Forget I my right arm; forget I my left arm; forget I the light of the eye and the cries of the songs — if I forget Jerusalem.” It is followed by the Friday sermon of the Palestinian minister for religious affairs: “Without Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, as it was along the entire history, there will be no peace.”
The Legendary Jewish Temple
Palestinian propaganda has always aimed at denying the Jewish Temple’s location in Jerusalem. The PA’s Mufti, ‘Ikrima Sabri, declared that the Jewish Temple was in Nablus or perhaps Bethlehem, and that al-Aqsa predates the Jewish antiquities. Arafat claimed that the Jews “consider Hebron to be holier than Jerusalem.” Indeed, Dennis Ross attributed much of the Camp David failure to Yasser Arafat, who not only repeated “old mythologies” but invented “a new one … [that] the Temple did not exist in Jerusalem, but in Nablus.” Arafat told Clinton: “I am a religious man, and I will not allow it to be written of me [in history] that I have … confirmed the existence of the so-called Temple underneath the mountain.” However, later on he went even further in his denial of Jewish history, saying that not only had the Jewish Temple never existed in Jerusalem, but that it had never existed anywhere in Palestine.
Sheikh Muhammad Husayn, the director of the al-Aqsa Mosque, asserted that the Jews “claim that the al-Aqsa Mosque was built over the ruins of the alleged Temple … This meant to erase the Islamic culture and to replace it with their alleged culture … This is a place for Muslims, only Muslims. There is no Temple here, only al-Aqsa Mosque and the Qubat al-Sakhrā‘ (Dome of the Rock).”
This denial strategy is exemplified by Saleh Rafat of the PLO Executive Committee:
“We revive the Palestinian heritage and cling to it in order to counter all of the attempts by the Israeli occupation to steal the national heritage and to falsify it with the claim that it is their heritage… Every part of our heritage in our land, they claim is their heritage – even the tunnels they are trying to dig beneath the al-Aqsa Mosque… The Israelis claim that they are seeking an alleged Temple.”
The denial of the Jewish Temple is typically expressed through the use of the word al-Maz’ûm (alleged). The main argument is that no proof of the Temple’s existence has ever been found. An editorial in al-Hayat al-Jadidah in December 2011 is indicative of this theme that the “Jewish Temple” is a big lie, a pure Jewish invention. Mahmud Abbas and all the heads of the PA leadership used the term “Alleged Temple” almost 100 times in the years 2011-2, with their ongoing campaign to deny and to reject any traces of Jerusalem’s Jewish history. Abbas has declared:
“Israel’s purpose is to achieve its black goals: destroying the al-Aqsa Mosque, building its ‘Alleged Temple,’ taking over the Muslim and Christian holy sites, and destroying Jerusalem’s institutions in order to empty it, uproot its residents, and continue its occupation and Judaization… all of Israel’s archeological digs and tunnels… will not change the reality of the city… and will not create a Jewish right based on fantasy and legends… There will be no peace, security, or stability unless the occupation will be evacuated from our holy city and the eternal capital of our state.”
On many other occasions he stated:
“Jerusalem only has Islamic and Christian history; Israel’s ‘Judaization’ is stealing Jerusalem’s cultural, human, and Islamic-Christian religious history… Israel is creating artificial heritage with a Jewish spirit at the expense of Jerusalem’s true and authentic identity, as an Arab, Islamic and Christian city.”
Likewise, Jamal Amar, an archaeologist at bir Zeit University, has denied the existence of an ancient Jewish Temple, calling it “myth” and using the word “the alleged temple.” He emphasized the occupation’s feverish attempts to find antiquities, as architectural testimony, or any other sort of proof to support their hectic efforts to rebuild the alleged Temple, but claimed that all of their findings were from the Arab and Islamic periods, especially the Umayyad and Abbasid period, up to the Ottoman period.
Similarly, PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habbash announced:
“Jerusalem is the key to peace, and Jerusalem can ignite a thousand and one wars. Unless the issue of Jerusalem is solved, so that it returns to its owners; unless Jerusalem will be Palestinian, as it was throughout history, the capital of the Palestinian state and the capital of the Palestinian people, there is no peace. There is no peace without Jerusalem… The term ‘war’ cannot be erased from the lexicon of this region as long as Jerusalem is occupied,… Jerusalem has to return to its owners. And we are its only owners.”
And Walid Awad, former Director of Foreign Publications of the PA Ministry of Information, stated: “The fact is that almost thirty years of excavations did not reveal anything Jewish… Jerusalem is not a Jewish city, despite the biblical myth implanted in some minds… This is the greatest historic crime of forgery.”
The following propaganda is constantly promoted on Palestinian television:
“There is a view that where Masjid al-Aqsa stands was the Holy of Holies of the fictitious Temple. This is merely an illusion. There is no remnant of it. It’s a myth. A story of no value… after 60 years of digging, they have found nothing at all. Not a water jug, not a coin, not any earthen vessel, no bronze weapons, no piece of metal, absolutely nothing of this myth, because it is a myth and a lie. This digging has not left a single meter unturned, but it has achieved absolutely nothing.”
`Ikrima Sabri, the PA Mufti of Jerusalem, reiterated the notion: “There is not even the smallest indication of the existence of a Jewish Temple…in the whole city there is not even a single stone indicating Jewish history.” Jarar al Qidwa, former advisor on educational affairs to Arafat, concurred: “Solomon’s Temple, I believe, was built by the Canaanites… when our Canaanite forefathers came to Palestine; they built the Temple … in Jerusalem.” Taysir Tamimi, PA chief religious official also agreed:
“I know of Muslim and Christian holy sites. I don’t know of any Jewish holy sites in it… Israel has been excavating since 1967 in search of remains of their Temple or their fictitious Jewish history.”
The Western Wall
Not surprisingly, the Palestinians claim that the Western wall has nothing to do with Judaism, and that the Jews refer to the Western Wall in a “false and fraudulent way,” because it is the al-Buraq Wall only, located in the Mughrabi Quarter. `Ikrima Sabri, the PA’s mufti, described the Western Wall as “just a fence belonging to the Muslim holy site” and repeated the oft-heard declaration that “there is not a single stone in the Wailing Wall relating to Jewish history.” It is said that Jews have no connection to any part of the Temple Mount, including the Western Wall, and that the al-Buraq Wall and its plaza are Muslim religious property. As such, the Jews cannot legitimately claim this wall, either religiously or historically.
In a study published by the PA Ministry of Information in November 2010, al-Mutawakil Taha wrote:
“The Zionist occupation falsely and unjustly claims that it owns this wall, which it calls the Western Wall or Kotel… this wall was never part of the so-called Temple Mount, but Muslim tolerance allowed the Jews to stand in front of it and weep over its destruction… no Muslim or Arab or Palestinian had the right to give up one stone of al-Buraq Wall or other religious sites.”
Israel Wishes to Destroy al-Aqsa
Israel’s actions in Jerusalem and archeological excavation near al-Aqsa are viewed as part of a satanic plot, an increasing Israeli madness aimed at destroying the al-Aqsa mosque in order to establish the alleged Temple, claim the Palestinians. They go on claiming Israel digs tunnels beneath as part of “building a Jewish city underground at the expense of the old city, and its historic and holy sites… The occupation continues to pursue the excavations until it reaches its grand and dangerous goal of destroying the mosque… The al-Aqsa Mosque and the archaeological artifacts, religious structures and holy sites it houses are all under a serious threat of collapse at any moment.”
The Palestinians fabricate stories they use to accuse Israel of a deliberate effort to destroy al-Aqsa and to erect the Jewish Temple in its stead. They go on to claim that Israel is constructing a bridge in order to allow more than 5,000 soldiers in armored forces to enter the platform of the al-Aqsa Mosque in their failed attempts to look for their Temple, which they falsely claim existed. This bridge can hold hundreds of soldiers, police officers and vehicles, strategically placed to allow Israeli forces to raid the al-Aqsa Mosque. Moreover, “Israel is stationing missile launchers in the Old City in occupied Jerusalem for bombarding al-Aqsa mosque with missile attacks. The Occupation has closed the city’s gates to Muslims and Christians and is making the city into a Jewish stronghold.”
For the Palestinians, the result is clear, as put by Yasser Arafat: “I will not agree to any Israeli sovereign presence in Jerusalem, and “there is nothing to negotiate about and compromise on when it comes to Jerusalem.” In 2000’s Camp David Convention, Arafat demanded sovereignty over “Jerusalem in its entirety, entirety, entirety.” He reiterated that “al-Quds is in the innermost of the feeling of our people and the feeling of all Arabs, Muslims, and Christians in the world.” Jerusalem has become the center of the Palestinian cause, a casus-belli that “no Palestinian can give up.”
* David Bukay is Professor of Middle East Studies at the School of Political Sciences, University of Haifa. He is the author of Muhammad’s Monsters (2004); Yasser Arafat, the Politics of Paranoia (2005); From Muhammad to Bin Laden (2007); Crossovers: anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism (2010), and has published numerous articles, in referee journals, books and the internet. – See more at: https://acdemocracy.org/the-us-administrations-delusions-about-the-arab-spring/#sthash.2vW7yTJy.dpuf