Once again, the Palestinian Authority denies that the Holy Temple ever existed – despite a Waqf pamphlet from 1925 boasting proudly that the Temple Mount once housed Solomon's Temple.
The latest denial came on Wednesday when the PA’s Chief Islamic Judge, Sheikh Taysir Rajab al-Tamimi, condemned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, as well as "all Jewish rabbis and extremist organizations,” for lying and asserting that Jerusalem was a Jewish city.
Al-Tamimi nearly caused an international incident this past May when he disrupted Pope Benedict XVI's interfaith meeting in Jerusalem with a vicious verbal attack on Israel.
In his latest rampage, the PA’s highest Islamic authority said – following Netanyahu’s remarks in London declaring the eternal Jewish connection to Jerusalem – that his claims “are baseless and untrue. Jerusalem is an Arab and Islamic city and it always has been so.”
This is a continuation of an Islamic-PA campaign to convince the world that the millennia-old natural association between Jerusalem and Jews is a myth. As Islamic Movement chief Raed Salah stated in 2006, "We remind, for the 1,000th time, that the entire Al-Aqsa mosque [on the Temple Mount], including all of its area and alleys above the ground and under it, is exclusive and absolute [emphasis added] Moslem property, and no one else has any rights to even one grain of earth in it."
However, this "absolute" Moslem claim is actually not all that absolute. Back in 1925, the Supreme Moslem Council - also known as the Waqf, which traditionally oversees Temple Mount activities on behalf of Islam - boasted proudly that the Temple Mount site was none other than that of Solomon's Temple.
The official 1925 Supreme Moslem Council Guide Book to Al-Haram Al-Sharif (the Moslem name for the Temple Mount) states, on page 4, "Its identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which 'David built there an altar unto the L-rd...'” The pamphlet cites the Biblical source in 2 Samuel XXIV,25.
The pamphlet also makes reference, on page 16, to the underground area in the south-east corner of the Mount, which it refers to as Solomon's Stables. "Little is known for certain of the history of the chamber itself," the guide reads. "It dates probably as far back as the construction of Solomon's Temple.”
Al-Tamimi further said on Wednesday that all of Israel’s archaeological work since 1967 has not proven “that Jews ever had a history or presence in Jerusalem, or that their ostensible temple had ever existed."
This assertion is factually incorrect. In 2005, for instance, researchers discovered a coin from the period of the First Revolt against the Romans, prior to the destruction of the Second Temple, bearing the phrase "For the Redemption of Zion.” They also found Hebrew letters on a jar fragment of the First Temple period, a Hasmonean coin inscribed with the words "Yehonatan High Priest, friend of the Jews," and more. Other finds over the years include seals inscribed with Hebrew and Jewish names – including of at least two people mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah.
Many other finds, including from recent weeks, also bear out the Jewish-Jerusalem connection. This did not stop Sheikh Al-Tamimi from accusing Israel this week of seeking “to turn [Jerusalem] into a Jewish city, in flagrant violation of all religious, legal, moral and human values."