Daily Israel Report

CNN, White House Falling for Palestinian Mythology?

A White House photo and a CNN article include "misleading" information about Jewish historic connections to Judaism's holiest site, the Temple Mount - playing into the hands of PA incitement.
First Publish: 5/24/2005, 12:58 PM / Last Update: 5/24/2005, 2:17 PM

A photo released by the White House
of First Lady Laura Bush's visit to the Western Wall Tunnel had no mistakes - but the caption had several.

The caption read, "Laura Bush tours the Western Wall in Jerusalem with Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, administrator of The Western Wall Heritage Foundation; Mosche Katsav, wife of Israeli President Moshe Katsav, center; and Mordechai "Suli" Eliav, manager of The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, May 22, 2005. The wall is a symbol of both Jewish worship and mourning for the Temple Mount, which was ordered constructed by King Herod the Great in 1500 A.D."

In fact, Rabbi Rabinowitz is the Rabbi of the Holy Sites, not the Foundation; the Israeli President's wife's name is Gila, not Mosche; the wall is not a symbol of worship, but rather a place of worship; and neither the wall nor the Temple Mount was constructed in the year 1500, but rather at least 15 centuries earlier.

In a related item, CNN's report on Mrs. Bush's visit described the Temple Mount as follows:

"The site she visited on Sunday is Islam's third-holiest, and is built on a hill in Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif -- or the Noble Sanctuary. The hill also is believed to contain the ruins of Judaism's holiest temple."

In fact, the site is Judaism's first-holiest site, where the First Temple was built by King Solomon and was destroyed in the year 586 B.C.E., and where the Second Temple stood from approximately 70 years later until the year 68 C.E.

A major feature of Palestinian Authority incitement against Jews and Israel is its claim that the Temple was never built on the Temple Mount. Palestinian Media Watch details many examples of this phenomenon, such as the following from PA Television on Aug. 2, 2004:

[Moderator Mohammed] Albaz: "Where did the story of Solomon’s Temple come from?"

Al-Qidwa: "Solomon’s Temple, I believe, was built by the Canaanites who were the neighbors of the Israelis, the Israelites... I want to state several words clearly: the Bible became an archival document, not representing what the Israelis and the first Jews were, but what they thought they were, what they imagined. The Temple is the fruit of their imagination. In any case, when our nation or our Canaanite forefathers came to Palestine, they built the Temple… a temple in Jerusalem"

Sissalem: "We, as the Palestinian nation fighting for its freedom and liberation, must not focus to much attention on these false [Biblical] legends. The history of our land continues more than ten thousand years. The land of battles and wars, [many] armies, tribes and commanders came through. I want to point out that we should not focus much on what is called the [Biblical] Hebrew tribes, who are in fact Bedouin – Arab tribes. There is no connection between them and these Khazar Jews [of Israel today]. Those [Hebrew - Arab] tribes were erased and ceased to exist and no traces were left of them… That group did not have a pure religion. They claimed that Solomon, may he rest in peace, built the Temple. Does the land testify to this? Solomon was a prophet and we see him as a Muslim and part of our [Islamic] heritage… There is no historical text that proves the existence [of the temple] or that it has a real history other than the Bible, and the Bible as we have previously mentioned… was written based on ancient legends."
… "The Quran came directly from the Prophet [Muhammad]... while supporting all that preceded it in the [Biblical] Prophetic inscriptions, that, as you noted, appeared in the Quran as Muslims believing in the one and only God, and these [the Hebrew prophets of the Bible] are part of our [Muslim] heritage. They have no connection to the Imperialistic – Settlement Jews [Israelis] and nor to those that were destroyed."

U.S. Congressman Eric Cantor (R.-Va.) introduced a bill in the House of Representatives on July 19, 2001 entitled, "The Temple Mount Preservation Act of 2001" (HR2566). It called for the suspension of U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority for as long as the PA continues its construction/destruction works on the Temple Mount. The bill states that the PA's excavation works on the Mount "threaten to eliminate all historical evidence of Jewish activity on the Temple Mount."

Rep. Cantor, in his introductory remarks to the bill, quoted a National Review editorial from October 2000 that read, "...the Waqf has devoted the past 33 years to an extensive campaign of excavation, systematically destroying any evidence of Jewish and Christian presence on the Temple Mount, so that they could argue - as they now do - that it has always been an exclusively Muslim place."