In a new example of doublespeak that would make George Orwell blush, Islam’s top cleric in Jerusalem issued a religious edict saying the Western Wall of Solomon’s Temple is a Muslim site with no Jewish history. According to this latest version of the revisionist history of Jerusalem, the Western Wall was where the Prophet Mohammed tied his winged steed before ascending into heaven.
The newest version requires rewriting both Islamic and secular history. It also ignores the historical difficulty presented by the written record of 1,400 years of Jewish life in Jerusalem before the Prophet Mohammed was even born.
Recently, Ikrema Sabri, grand mufti of Jerusalem, raised the ante when he issued a religious ruling that forbade Jewish worshippers from even touching the Western Wall.
According to the latest Palestinian reasoning, “The Western Wall is part of the Al Burak Wall which is part of the Al Aqsa mosque so the Jews have no right to the place. … The whole problem is that the place does not relate to them so whatever they do with it — putting in papers, practicing their prayers, all these things are not the things we want,” according to Arutz-Sheva. Al-Burak was the name of Mohammed’s horse.
This latest attempt to rewrite history would be laughable if it weren’t being taken seriously by about half the global press corps. The Arabs have, in the last 50 years, rewritten history to make Israel an “aggressor” nation who “seized the traditional land of the peaceful Palestinian people.”
Despite the wars of aggression launched by the combined strength of the surrounding Arab nations in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973, the myth of Israel as the aggressor and the Arabs as the victims of that aggression persists. And it remains a myth without any basis in historical fact.
In her book, “From Time Immemorial,” author Joan Peters points out that as far back as 1948 the Arab leadership recognized that “The people are in great need of a ‘myth’ to fill their conscience and their imagination.”
Peters points out, accurately, that without this kind of historical mythology, the Palestinian claim would crumble to dust under the weight of historical fact.
The Western (or “Wailing”) Wall of Solomon’s Temple is a prime example of Palestinian mythology.
The Waqf also continues to claim the Temple Mount was never the site of a Jewish Temple. Period. By simply issuing the religious edict and then falling silent on the details, the debate is one-sided and is soon forgotten by everyone but a billion Muslims.
The Muslim claim to Al Aqsa is based on the account in the Koran of Mohammed’s ascent into heaven. Islamic tradition says he ascended from the site where Abraham was ordered to sacrifice Isaac (or, Ishamel, in the Muslim version). According to Islamic tradition, Mohammed rode his steed into heaven.
According to the current version, Mohammed ascended from the Al Aqsa mosque, which was the third holiest site in Islam. Except the mosque hadn’t been built yet. During Mohammed’s lifetime, a Christian church stood on the site. And the proclamation that Jerusalem was the third holiest site in Islam was issued by Faisal el Husseini, grand mufti of Jerusalem in 1917, not in the eighth century. Prior to that time, Jerusalem was just a dusty little backwater town of little importance to anyone except the Jews.
The question of where Mohammed tied his horse was debated in the 11th century. Scholars at the time placed the Al-Burak Wall at the Double Gate outside the Temple Mount’s southern wall. The location was reaffirmed in the 17th century. The debate was settled and the location set as the Double Gate. And so it remained for 400 more years. In the “Encyclopedia of Islam,” there is no mention of the Western Wall in relation to Al-Burak. In the entry under Hara al Sharif, the wall is called the “Wailing Wall” without any reference to it’s being sacred to Islam. Official guidebooks issued by the Waqf as recently as 1990 say nothing about the Western Wall being significant to Islam.
A British commission of inquiry into the riots of 1929 issued an official finding of fact that the Muslims never used the wall as a prayer site and it was “never sacred to Islam.”
A year later in 1930, the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem published a finding that the Western Wall’s identification with the Second Temple was “beyond dispute,” according to the Jan. 26, 2000, Jerusalem Post.
Seventy years ago, the official Muslim position was as follows, “The site is one of the oldest in the world. Its identity with Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which David build there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.”
Four hundred and fifty years ago, Suleiman the Magnificent, ruling Sultan of the Muslim Ottoman Empire that controlled the Holy Land at that time, issued an edict recognizing the rights of Jews to the Western Wall.
As it stands today, however, the Palestinian side has learned that the only requirement necessary to rewrite history is endless repetition of whatever version favors them. Then they rely on a strategy of anti-Semitism and political correctness to take care of the rest.
So far, it seems to be working.