How important is the Temple Mount?
Ask Mahmoud Abbas. Elected leader in 2009, with no elections since then, of the Palestinian Authority that purports to be a state (but can’t even extend effectively its rule over Gaza).
According to the Haaretz version of his speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday last week, he said:
“And you might note, ladies and gentlemen, that the Israeli settlers and even the Israeli army on every single day; they are committing acts of blasphemy against our holy sites, especially Al-Aqsa mosque.”
The media supporting the P.A. regularly employs purposeful terminology so as to distort and demonize Jews. One recent headline published during the Sukkot holiday reads: “Over 500 Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa.” Indeed, “storm” is their preferred word-of-choice, intimating that Jews as Jews should not be there at all, and that they are somehow breaking in illegally. Another referred to “religious rituals” as if they were witches from Macbeth.
By the way, Jews do not, indeed cannot, enter the Temple Mount compound daily, unlike prior to 2000. Saturdays have been cancelled as a permitted days, and Fridays, the Muslim holy day, are also off-limits. Adding to that various Muslim holidays in addition to Ramadan, almost 160 days the Temple Mount are off-limits to Jewish visitors.
But that was but one part of Abbas’s litany of lies.
He also touched on the Law of Israel as a nation-state and declared:
“This racist law talks about what is called the ‘land of Israel.’ Can you ask the Israeli government what exactly constitutes the ‘land of Israel’? What are the ‘borders’ of the State of Israel? I challenge anyone to tell us what they are.”
If one reads the Basic Law of the Palestinian Authority, no exact borders of a proposed Palestinian state exist. Worse, all we are informed geographically is that “Palestine is part of the large Arab world.”
In another version, we read of another land mass undefined: “On the land of the fathers and forefathers, the land of heavenly Messages … ,” but then deeper into the document, we read, “Its territory is an indivisible whole with its boundaries, as they existed on the eve of 4 June 1967.” And yet, Judea and Samaria were part of Jordan, illegally occupied and annexed, and Gaza was under Egyptian military rule. We also need not forget that the U.N.’s Resolution 242 does not mention Palestine as a state or other political entity.
So, what is Abbas claiming?
Quite simply, he is engaged in national-identity negation.
The term Eretz-Yisrael (the Land of Israel), besides any biblical or talmudic references, is what the British Mandate for the creation of a Jewish homeland was called in the Hebrew translation between the years 1922-1948. That area originally was to include Transjordan (today, Jordan), and for sure, during the U.N. deliberations in 1947-48, this included all the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. At the time, British mandate district commissioners governed these areas. Moreover, the boundary delineations of the proposed 1947 partition mention the well-known Jewish regions of “Judea” and “Samaria,” which Abbas and cronies now decry, and refer to as the West Bank.
A bit later on in his address, Abbas notes that the Arabs of Palestine are “an indigenous people and our roots are deep across 5,000 years.” Arab collective identity within the general area of historic Palestine is 1,380 years old. Arabs may have been engaged in commerce or pilgrimage before 638 C.E. (and prior to them assuming an Islamic ethos), but to claim a 5,000-year history, even as Canaanites or Jebusites or even Natufians are false, ridiculous and outlandish suggestions.
What does Abbas mean when he said peace must include “an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and not some place in East Jerusalem as its capital, and with all of its holy sites?” Do all holy sites refer to just Islamic sites? What about Christian or Jewish sites, and the claim that one cannot be Palestinian if one is Jewish? Of course, since Abbas and company promote a form of reconstructionism that suggests the Western Wall is actually the Al-Buraq tethering post, and outright denies of the 800-year existence of two Jewish Temples on the Temple Mount—despite their explicit mention in the Koran—perhaps Abbas really does disavow anything Jewish about Jerusalem.
One last excerpt of reveals Abbas’s strategy of self-denial, on the one hand, and his assumption that all will believe him no matter how pejorative he is on the other:
“We resist this colonial, settler Israeli occupation through the legitimate means created by this international organization. Foremost among these is peaceful, popular resistance as we witness today in the Great March of Return in Gaza.”
Incendiary kites, terror tunnels, sniper fire, tossing of grenades, IEDs, infiltration and more at the Gaza border occur almost daily, not to mention mortars, rockets and missiles.
But Abbas knows that the United Nations is his playground, his theater. He can be elected, as he was just now, to the Group of 77 with impunity despite his words and his actions. And his stage is becoming increasingly immoral, malevolent and extremely hazardous, revealed by the applause Abbas received from that seemingly august, peace-loving body.
It is that applause that assign to his appearances the tragicomic label.
Yisrael Medad is an America-born Israel journalist and commentator.