TEL AVIV – Earlier this week, on a day that Jews worldwide fasted and mourned the destruction of their holiest site, the official Palestinian Authority newspaper reported on the “so-called destruction” of the “alleged” Jewish Temple.
On Monday, Jews commemorated Tisha Ba’Av or the Ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av. On that day, numerous tragedies befell the Jewish people, including the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, which occurred about 490 years apart on the same Hebrew calendar date.
The fast day started at sundown on Monday and ended Tuesday evening.
On Tuesday, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, an official PA newspaper, reported on the “alleged Temple.”
“Since Monday morning, groups of extremist Jews have been roaming the courtyards of Al-Aqsa mosque one after the other, under heavy police protection, on the occasion of the [week of the] so-called ‘destruction of the Temple’,” stated the report.
Continued the PA newspaper: “This Sunday, the occupation’s police handed the shop owners in the Market of the Cotton Merchants … which leads to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, an order forcing them to close their shops on Monday afternoon in order to facilitate the arrival of the settlers to the Market, for the sake of holding special Talmudic rituals on the occasion of the destruction of the alleged Temple.”
The article was translated from Arabic by Palestinian Media Watch.
The PA routinely denies the existence of the Temples as well as the Jewish historic connection to Israel.
Chief Palestinian justice: Temples never existed
In a previous WND interview, Chief Palestinian Justice Sheik Taysir Tamimi declared the Jewish temples never existed and Jews have no historic connection to Jerusalem. He also claimed the Western Wall really was a tying post for Muhammad’s horse, the Al Aqsa Mosque was built by angels, and Abraham, Moses and Jesus were prophets for Islam.
Tamimi is considered the second most important Palestinian cleric after Muhammad Hussein, the grand mufti of Jerusalem.
“Israel started since 1967 making archeological digs to show Jewish signs to prove the relationship between Judaism and the city, and they found nothing. There is no Jewish connection to Israel before the Jews invaded in the 1880s,” said Tamimi.
“About these so-called two temples, they never existed, certainly not at the [Temple Mount],” Tamimi said during a sit-down interview in his eastern Jerusalem office.
The Palestinian cleric denied the validity of dozens of digs verified by experts worldwide revealing Jewish artifacts from the First and Second Temples throughout Jerusalem, including on the Temple Mount itself; excavations revealing Jewish homes and a synagogue in a site in Jerusalem called the City of David; or even the recent discovery of a Second Temple Jewish city in the vicinity of Jerusalem.
Tamimi said descriptions of the Jewish Temples in the Hebrew Tanach, in the Talmud and in Byzantine and Roman writings from the Temple periods were forged, and that the Torah was falsified to claim biblical patriarchs and matriarchs were Jewish, when they were prophets for Islam.
“All this is not real. We don’t believe in all your versions. Your Torah was falsified. The text as given to the Muslim prophet Moses never mentions Jerusalem. Maybe Jerusalem was mentioned in the rest of the Torah, which was falsified by the Jews,” said Tamimi.
He said Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus were “prophets for the Israelites sent by Allah as to usher in Islam.”
Asked about the Western Wall, Tamimi said the structure was a tying post for Muhammad’s horse and that it is part of the Al Aqsa Mosque, even though the Wall predates the mosque by more than 1,000 years.
“The Western Wall is the western wall of the Al Aqsa Mosque. It’s where Prophet Muhammad tied his animal, which took him from Mecca to Jerusalem to receive the revelations of Allah.”
The Kotel, or Western Wall, is an outer retaining wall of the Temple Mount that survived the destruction of the Second Temple and still stands today in Jerusalem.
Tamimi went on to claim to WND the Al Aqsa Mosque , which has sprung multiple leaks and has had to be repainted several times, was built by angels.
“Al Aqsa was built by the angels 40 years after the building of Al-Haram in Mecca. This we have no doubt is true,” he said.
The First Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Second Temple was rebuilt in 515 B.C. after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. That temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in A.D. 70. Each temple stood for a period of about four centuries.
According to the Talmud, the world was created from the foundation stone of the Temple Mount. It’s believed to be the biblical Mount Moriah, the location where Abraham fulfilled God’s test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac.
The Temple Mount has remained a focal point for Jewish services for thousands of years. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition.
Al-Aqsa Mosque was constructed in about A.D. 709 to serve as a shrine near another shrine, the Dome of the Rock, which was built by an Islamic caliph. Al-Aqsa was meant to mark what Muslims came to believe was the place at which Muhammad, the founder of Islam, ascended to heaven to receive revelations from Allah.
Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible 656 times.
Islamic tradition states Muhammad took a journey in a single night on a horse from “a sacred mosque” – believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia – to “the farthest mosque” and from a rock there ascended to heaven. The farthest mosque became associated with Jerusalem about 120 years ago.
According to research by Israeli author Shmuel Berkovits, Islam historically disregarded Jerusalem as being holy. Berkovits points out in his new book, “How Dreadful Is This Place!” that Muhammad was said to loathe Jerusalem and what it stood for. He wrote Muhammad made a point of eliminating pagan sites of worship and sanctifying only one place – the Kaaba in Mecca – to signify the unity of God.
As late as the 14th century, Islamic scholar Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya, whose writings influenced the Wahhabi movement in Arabia, ruled that sacred Islamic sites are to be found only in the Arabian Peninsula and that “in Jerusalem, there is not a place one calls sacred, and the same holds true for the tombs of Hebron.”
A guide to the Temple Mount by the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem published in 1925 listed the Mount as Jewish and as the site of Solomon’s Temple. The Temple Institute acquired a copy of the official 1925 “Guide Book to Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” which 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 Lord.’”
No prayer zone
The Temple Mount was opened to the general public until September 2000, when the Palestinians started their intifada by throwing stones at Jewish worshipers after then-candidate for prime minister Ariel Sharon visited the area.
Following the onset of violence, the new Sharon government closed the Mount to non-Muslims, using checkpoints to control all pedestrian traffic for fear of further clashes with the Palestinians.
The Temple Mount was reopened to non-Muslims in August 2003. It still is open but only Sundays through Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and not on any Christian, Jewish or Muslim holidays or other days considered “sensitive” by the Waqf.
During “open” days, Jews and Christians are allowed to ascend the Mount, usually through organized tours and only if they conform first to a strict set of guidelines, which includes demands that they not pray or bring any “holy objects” to the site. Visitors are banned from entering any of the mosques without direct Waqf permission. Rules are enforced by Waqf agents, who watch tours closely and alert nearby Israeli police to any breaking of their guidelines.