Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter and of "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books.. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary.
The Temple Mount, the place where Avraham came to sacrifice his son to God, the site of the first and second Jewish Temples, where the Jewish people worshiped for hundreds of years and the focal point of every practicing Jew’s prayers, is under assault from the Islamic-Christian Committee.
This relatively new Palestinian institution has been able to win the support not only of the entire regional Christian leadership, but also of leading Christian personalities from abroad.
The Islamic-Christian Commission has just warned that the Israeli authorities are working to impose “a false Jewish history” in Jerusalem, “the occupied city”, especially “on the area known to Jews as the Temple Mount”. The Commission warned of new “Judaization”. Such fabricated lies help the Palestinians to conquer a seat in the international agencies like Unesco and to excite the Muslims against the Jews.
The Vatican’s former archbishop in Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, who is involved in advancing Islamic-Christian alliance, promoted an appeal to the European Union and United States to “stop the Hebraization of Jerusalem”. The new Latin Patriarch, Fouad Twal, took part in a meeting in London with Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, in which the Vatican envoy denounced the “more than 550.000 Israelis living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank” and “the demography of Jerusalem changing rapidly with the sacred space being threatened”.
The Islamic-Christian Committee was founded by the former Greek Orthodox Archbishop Atallah Hanna and enjoys the participation of Catholic leaders like Claudette Habesch, Secretary General of Caritas Jerusalem for the last 25 years, which is the most important Vatican humanitarian arm in the world. Hanna called for the creation of an Islamic-Christian union that would “release Palestine from the river to the sea”.
He also supported the suicide attacks against the Israeli civilians: “The suicide bombers who carry out their activities in the name of religion are national heroes and we’re proud of them”, Hanna said.
Along with Hassan Khater, who wrote the Al Quds and Al Aqsa Encyclopedia, the Christian-Islamic Committee also enjoys the participation of Sheikh Tamimi, the most high profile Islamic judge of the Palestinian Authority, deported by Israel temporarily in 1980 after terrorists killed six Jewish students in Hevron and a self-professed anti-Semite.
“Perhaps one day the world will awake and realize that these Zionist elements are the bloodletters who hang on the peoples, sucking their blood and consuming their resources”, Tamimi has said.
This Islamic-Christian Committee was pivotal during the Second Intifada in raising the false alarm on the “holy sites” endangered by Israel. In May 2000, Yasser Arafat met Islamic and Christian clergymen, led by Tamimi and Archimandrite Hanna, at the presidential offices in Ramallah. A few weeks later, before the Camp David summit, Jerusalem’s Christian patriarchs backed Palestinian sovereignty over Jerusalem.
Among the clergymen, Diodoros I, patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church, Torkom II, patriarch of the Armenian Orthodox Church and Catholic Patriarch Michel Sabbah. Officials from the Custody of the Holy Land, a Franciscan-Vatican order with special authority over Christian sites, were also present at the meeting.
PA’s President Mahmoud Abbas is now following in Arafat’s path. Speaking at the International Conference for Defense of Jerusalem in Doha, Qatar, Abbas recently said that “the Israeli occupation authorities are using the ugliest and most dangerous means to implement plans to erase and remove the Arab-Islamic and the Christian character of east Jerusalem”. The conference’s purpose, under the auspices of the Islamic-Christian Committee, is to combat the “Judaization of Jerusalem”.
There were many Christian figures attending the event, like Elias Awad of the Catholic Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Patriarch Gabi Hachem of the Liqa Center and Bishop Georgi Panossian, Primate of the Armenian Orthodox Church.
The United Nations also sent several high profile officials, Robert Serry, UN Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, and Filippo Grandi, Commissioner General of Unrwa.
Abbas denied Jewish history on the Temple Mount and stated that Israel plans to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque, a lie designed to incite Muslims to rise up against Jews.
Recently, the World Council of Churches also incited against the “occupation”, “settlements” and Jewish rights in Jerusalem.
As historian Bat Ye’or explained, in a large number of documents going back to the 1970s, the Organization of the Islamic Conference recommended "cooperation with Churches in the fight against Israel”. This emerged from a conference held in Amman in 2004 as part of the Muslim-Christian dialogue. The official theme was the protection against Israel of Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem. At the Amman conference, the speakers emphasized the importance of “Muslim-Christian solidarity” in the fight to seize al Quds and to drive Israel out of it.
Their proposals included the adoption of the Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem by mosques, churches and monasteries, and by Muslim and Christian institutions worldwide. “Promoting al Quds would be done through films, television, songs, and festivals, under the supervision of a special Muslim and Christian cell that would be working with all the appropriate means”.
23 December, 1995, is the date of the turning point for the Islamic-Christian alliance against the Jews in Jerusalem. The Greek Orthodox patriarch of the holy land, Deodorus I, handed over the custody of Churches in Jerusalem to PLO leader Arafat. This was done in the presence of the Catholic, Anglican and Greek Orthodox archbishops.
The patriarch declared: “I am the heir of Sophronius and I am handing the keys (to Christian holy sites in Jerusalem) to the heir of Omar Ibn al-Khattab”.
Omar, the caliph who claimed Jerusalem from Byzantine rule in 638, gave then Patriarch Sophronius custody of Churches and a pledge to safeguard them. The move was meant to put Christian holy places under the custody of Arafat, a Muslim, and strengthening the Arab-Islamic claim to Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.
Why did Arafat desire the mention of this 1,300-year-old story? He saw himself as conquering Jerusalem a second time in history for the Muslims.
Any reference to Omar simply means, “Jerusalem must be Judenrein”.
The final goal of this Muslim-Christian dialogue is to erase any Jewish presence in the so called “holy basin”, an alliance of the mosques and the sepulcher which will exclude the Jews from the Temple Mount.
As the early Christians had left the Temple deliberately in ruins, it’s now the turn of the Islamicized Mount to keep it that way.
Will this new Islamic-Christian alliance able to convince the European Union, the UN and the US to baptize Jerusalem "Al Quds"?