Category Archives: Jerusalem

End Propaganda Myth That Jerusalem Is Holy to Muslims

by Morton A. Klein and Daniel Mandel

It’s time to end the propaganda myth that Jerusalem is a holy city to Muslims.

The Muslim fixation and clamor on Jerusalem is actually a very recent historical development, a product of political conflict, not historical truth.

Jerusalem rates not a single mention in the Quran and Muslims face Mecca in prayer.

JUNE 8, 2017 4:48 PM
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In the seventh century, the Damascus-based Umayyad rulers built up Jerusalem as a counter-weight to Mecca. This is when the important Muslim shrines, the Dome of the Rock (691 CE) and, later, the Al-Aqsa mosque (705 CE), were intentionally built on the site of the destroyed biblical Jewish temples — a time-honored practice to physically signal the predominance of Islam.

However, references in the Quran and hadith to Muhammad’s night journey to heaven on his steed Buraq from the “farthest mosque” couldn’t mean Jerusalem because the Quran refers to Palestine as the “nearest” place. And it couldn’t have been a reference to the Al-Aqsa (“Furtherest”) mosque, for the simple reason that the Al-Aqsa mosque didn’t exist in Muhammad’s day.

With the demise of the Umayyad dynasty and the shift of the caliphate to Baghdad, Jerusalem fell into a long decline, scarcely interrupted by occasional bursts of Muslim interest in the city during the Crusader period and the Ottoman conquest. Mark Twain, visiting in 1867, described it as a “pauper village.”

It did, however, become a majority Jewish city during the nineteenth century. The 1907 Baedeker’s Travel Guide lists Jerusalem with a population of 40,000 Jews, 13,000 Muslims and 7,000 Christians.

So little did Jerusalem mean to the Ottomans that, during the First World War, they abandoned it to the British without a fight and even contemplated entirely destroying the city before pulling out.

Only upon the Arab confrontation with Zionism in the twentieth century did Jerusalem become a passionate Islamic issue.

It was Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem, a vociferous antisemite and later Nazi collaborator, who expended enormous energy to focus Islamic attention on Jerusalem. Seeking to foment a Muslim war on Palestine’s Jews, he fabricated a tradition that the wall to which Muhammad was held to have tethered his steed Buraq was not the southern or eastern walls, as Muslims had asserted for centuries, but the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site but for the Temple Mount itself, turning the site into a flashpoint.

The massive Arab assault on Jews across British Palestine in 1929, in which 133 Jews were murdered and hundreds more maimed, was triggered by orchestrated, false rumors that Jews had attacked, or were intending to attack, the mosques atop the Temple Mount.

Strangely, even under the mufti, the Temple Mount was still recognized by Muslims as the site of the biblical Jewish temples. Thus, the Jerusalem Muslim Supreme Council’s publication, A Brief Guide to the Haram Al-Sharif, states, on page 4, regarding Jerusalem’s Temple Mount: “Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute.” (After 1954, all such references to the biblical temples were excised from this publication).

During Jordan’s illegal occupation and annexation of the eastern half of Jerusalem (1948-67) Amman remained Jordan’s country’s capital, not Jerusalem, which became a backwater. Infrastructure, like water, electricity and sewerage, were scanty or non-existent. No Arab ruler, other than Jordan’s kings, ever visited. As Israeli elder statesman Abba Eban quipped, “the secular delights of Beirut held more attraction.”

Significantly, neither the PLO’s National Charter nor the Fatah Constitution, the latter drafted during Jordanian rule, even mention Jerusalem, let alone call for its establishment as a Palestinian capital.

Today, however, Palestinian Authority (PA) officials issue flat-earth denials that Jerusalem was the site of the Jewish temples, or indeed that there is any Jewish connection to the city. Muhammad Hussein, the PA mufti, sneers at the Jews’ “alleged Temple” and insists that “Palestinians have an exclusive right…which they share with no one” to the Temple Mount. Sheikh Tayseer Al-Tamimi, the former chief justice of the PA’s Religious Court, insists, “I don’t know of any Jewish holy sites in [Jerusalem]” and dismisses Jewish claims as “fictitious Jewish history.”

Today, the PA uses Jerusalem as a propaganda instrument, at once inciting violence and orchestrating anti-Israel campaigns. In 1996, Yasser Arafat used Israel’s opening of an archeological tunnel near the Mount to incite riots on the basis of the lie that the tunnel threatened the stability of the Al-Aqsa mosque. Twenty-five Israelis soldiers and a hundred Palestinian rioters were killed in the ensuing violence.

In 2015, Mahmoud Abbas urged violence over Jews visiting Temple Mount, borrowing from Haj Amin’s playbook fabricated claims of Jewish assaults on the mosques to instigate it. Over 30 Israelis were murdered and over two hundred Palestinians, the vast majority terrorists or rioters, were killed in subsequent attacks and clashes.

Far from aiding the cause of peace, according deference to the fabrication of Jerusalem’s importance to Islam and centrality to Palestinians actively impedes it and enables the instigation of bloodshed. As long as Palestinians have good reason to believe that violence over Jerusalem will reap rewards, like President Donald Trump recently reneging on his pre-election promise to transfer the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, expect no change.

Morton A. Klein is the national president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).  Dr. Daniel Mandel is the director of the ZOA’ s Center for Middle East Policy and author of H.V. Evatt & the Establishment of Israel (Routledge, London, 2004).

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On Jerusalem, President Trump Could Make Two Proclamations

A campaign promise by Mr. Trump was to support Israel by moving the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. President Trump should have acted on that campaign promise on Jan. 20, 2017. He did not.

To prevent post-campaign backsliding, two proclamations regarding Israel are presented herein, in proper format for issuance.

In one proclamation, the U.S. recognizes that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and declares that the U.S. embassy in Israel is to be located in Jerusalem. The other proclamation recognizes the territory which is subject to Israeli control.

Each proclamation is dated May 22, 2017, the day on which President Trump will be in Israel.

 

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Jerusalem, Capital of Israel

The Land of Israel has been the patrimony of the Jewish people for the past 4,000 years, ever since God promised the land to them, through their forefather Abraham.

David, King of Israel, captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites 3,000 years ago, and made the city his capital. Jerusalem has always been a unitary city, with one exception (1950–1967). In 1950, Jordan purported to annex the eastern part of the city. In 1967, Israel freed the eastern part from the unlawful grip of Jordan.

Jerusalem was the capital of the First Commonwealth (from King David through the First Temple period), and was the capital of the Second Commonwealth (from Ezra and Nechemiah through the Second Temple period).

During the long, Rome-induced exile of the Jewish people, no claimant (such as Umayyads, Abbasids, Mamluks, and Ottomans) of sovereignty over the Land of Israel designated Jerusalem as the capital of the claimant.

The United Nations partition plan of November, 1947, called for a Jewish state and an Arab state in the Land of Israel. There was to be a special international circumstance — corpus separatum — for Jerusalem. Meaning: the internationalization of Jerusalem under the control of the United Nations.

Neither then nor later was there a United Nations plan which called for a special international circumstance for Lambeth Palace, or which called for a special international circumstance for Vatican City, or which called for a special international circumstance for Danilov Monastery.

The 1947 partition plan came to nothing. The intended dismemberment, by the “international community”, of Jerusalem from the rest of the Land of Israel, through the instrumentality of the despicable United Nations, failed.

On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel, which is the Third Commonwealth.

Later that day (Washington time), President Truman recognized the State of Israel. National Archives, “U.S. Recognition of the State of Israel” (2006).

Since 1948, Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel. Wartime conditions, during the Israeli War for Independence, prevented the government of Israel from immediate establishment of itself in Jerusalem.

On December 5, 1949, the government of Israel declared that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Knesset, “Statements of the Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion Regarding Moving the Capital of Israel to Jerusalem” (1949).

On January 23, 1950, the First Knesset declared, “. . . with the establishment of the State of Israel, Jerusalem once more becomes the capital[.]” Center for Israel Education, “Knesset Declares Jerusalem Capital” (n.d.)

In 1980, the Basic Law: Jerusalem the Capital of Israel, became law.

Section 1 of that Basic Law declares, “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.”

On November 8, 1995, the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, Public Law No. 104-45, 109 Stat. 398, became law.

Section 2(1) of the Act declares, “Each sovereign nation, under international law and custom, may designate its own capital.” Section 2(2) declares, “Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.” Section (3)(a)(2) declares, “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel[.]” Section 3(a)(3) declares, “the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.”

Waivers of the operation of that Act prevented actualization of the congressional recognition that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. There will not be any further waiver.

No country is authorized to decide that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel, and to maintain an embassy there, and to maintain a consulate in Jerusalem, any more than a country is authorized to decide that New York or Philadelphia is the capital of the United States, and to maintain an embassy there, and to maintain a consulate in Washington.

NOW, THEREFORE, DO I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution of the United States, and by laws of the United States, proclaim that the United States of America recognizes that the capital of the State of Israel is the City of Jerusalem, unified now and unified forever. I declare that the United States embassy in Israel shall be located henceforth in Jerusalem.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I set my hand hereunto this twenty-second day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred forty-first.

 

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Boundary of Israel

The United States understands that the Oslo Accords are dead. The two-state “solution” is dead.

Each was folly. Unique folly. There was no road map, and there was no two-state solution, and there was no sonorous talk about independent countries living side-by-side in peace and Kumbaya harmony, and there was no equivalent of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), applicable to the numerous territorial disputes which beset various countries. Among them:

  • • China, regarding Taiwan and Tibet.
  • • India and Pakistan, regarding Jammu and Kashmir.
  • • Iraq and Turkey, regarding Kurdistan.
  • • Russia, regarding Chechnia.
  • • Canada, regarding Quebec.
  • • Cyprus, regarding the Turkish part of the island of Cyprus.
  • • Denmark, regarding Greenland.
  • • Georgia and Russia, regarding Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
  • • Morocco, regarding Western Sahara.
  • • Philippines, regarding Mindanao.
  • • Sri Lanka (formerly), regarding the Tamils.

The territory which is subject to the control of Israel should include the entirety of the Land of Israel, from north to south, and from east to west.

The United States recognizes that the territory of Israel includes the Golan Heights, Sheba’a Farms, Samaria, Judea, Aza (the so-called Gaza Strip), the Negev, and Jerusalem; and includes adjacent places and in-between places too numerous to mention.

The United States recognizes further that Jerusalem is inclusive of the Temple Mount and of City of David; and that, since the day on which Abraham and Isaac were on Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount has been the sacred place only of Jews.

The understanding of the United States is that some territory which is subject to the control of Israel is not subject to the sovereignty of Israel. The effect of a declaration of sovereignty on the citizenship of Arab residents in Judea, Samaria, and Aza is fraught with peril for Israel. Full Israeli sovereignty over the Land of Israel must await another day.

The policy of the United States is to resolve territorial disputes which affect Israel through the 22-state solution. Israel plus 21 Arab countries would participate in the 22-state solution. Thereunder, Arabs keep the 5,000,000 square miles of 21 of the 22 members of the League of Arab States (that excludes the square miles claimed by the “Palestinian Authority,” one of the members of the League). Jews keep the Land of Israel, and its 12,000 square miles.

NOW, THEREFORE, DO I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution of the United States, and by laws of the United States, proclaim that the United States of America recognizes that the territory which is subject to the control of Israel is as aforesaid.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I set my hand hereunto this twenty-second day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred forty-first.

Jordan official: US can move embassy to west Jerusalem

A former Jordanian Minister of Culture wrote in a controversial op-ed article for a leading Amman newspaper that there is no need for Arabs to oppose the potential move of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to west Jerusalem, according to a report by Algemeiner.

Writing for the government daily newspaper Al Rai, Tareq Al-Masarwa — in an article translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), claimed that: “The Americans can move their embassy to the new [part of] Jerusalem [i.e. the western part] without sparking any serious rage among the Arabs. This is for the simple reason that the Palestinians and Arabs demand the Old City [of Jerusalem] — which they lost in the 1967 war, known as the Six Day War — as the capital of their state. I have not heard anyone demanding the 1948 part of Jerusalem [i.e., West Jerusalem], neither Hamas, the PLO nor anyone else.”

Al-Masarwa also exhibited cautious confidence that PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas would have a “meaningful” visit with President Trump Wednesday and added that Trump “can play the game of ‘Jerusalem the capital [of Israel]’ without causing awkwardness for [either] US policy or his allies.”

Al-Masarwa’s comments are particularly timely as they come on the eve of a vote at UNESCO — the UN’s cultural agency — on a resolution that accuses Israel of violating international law in its capital city. Jordan is not among the Arab sponsors of the resolution, which include Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan.

The resolution states that “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the ‘basic law’ on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.”

US officials have expressed their concern that UNESCO is constantly being used as a tool to delegitimize Israel.