President Trump’s recognition and declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was ridiculous. Ridiculous in the sense that such a recognition and declaration was even necessary. But in the decades-old climate of Arab denial of Jewish ties to something as obvious and important as Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, Trump was spot on to say, “Today we finally acknowledge the obvious. That Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality.”
Because of the Arabs’ attempts to rewrite history and wipe away any Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, Trump’s declaration was not only necessary but vital. It was the equivalent of declaring, “But the emperor has no clothes!” regarding the creeping Arabization of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and most of the world staying mum about it.
(And note, when using the word “Arabization” I refer to the process that Kurdish Senior Mullah Abdullah Saeed Aloisi referred to when he pointed out to author Stephen Mansfield that too often traditional Islam is a process of Arabization. A process in which there is no separation between mosque and state and rather than spreading life-enhancing teachings, often Islam is used to subjugate people for political purposes. In this kind of Arabization, tolerance for any other religious beliefs or cultural preferences is vehemently cast aside.)
For decades, Arabs have tried to revise history to reflect that Jews have no indigenous connection to the Land of Israel, and more specifically to the heart of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount. This revisionist history went into overdrive mode when PLO leader Yasser Arafat told President Clinton at Camp David that there never was a Jewish Temple. While negotiating for a Palestinian state, Arafat said, “I am a religious man, and I will not allow it to be written of me [in history] that I have confirmed the existence of the so-called temple.” In a 2002 interview, he added, “For 34 years they [Jews] have dug tunnels . . . They found not a single stone proving that the Temple of Solomon was there because historically the Temple was not in Palestine at all.”
After the Oslo Accords, revisionism and Temple denial gained momentum. One of the terms that began being used regarding the Jewish Temples was “al-Mazum,” an Arabic term for “the alleged.” From Nablus to Yemen, from Cairo to Saudi Arabia – throughout the Arabic world – Arab leaders began undermining the historical Jewish connection to the Temple Mount. Temple denial became a central tenant of the Palestinian cause, therefore, the rest of the Arab nations adopted the narrative. The denial spread on television, in schools and universities, and in mosques.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, seen as a moderate, continued Arafat’s propaganda by stating, “[The Jews] they claim that 2000 years ago they had a temple. I challenge the assertion that this is so. But even if it is so, we do not accept it, because it is not logical for someone who wants practical peace.”
The PLO’s National Affairs Department even issued advisories and warnings to journalists to replace the term “Temple Mount” with “al-Aqsa Compound” and “al-Haram al-Sharif.” The media has dutifully followed such advisories and warnings.
The United Nations has also played a significant role in undermining a Jewish connection to the land of Israel and especially to the Temple Mount. In April 2016 a resolution drafted on behalf of the Palestinians by seven Muslim countries was adopted by UNESCO. The resolution essentially erased the Temple Mount’s Jewish history, referring to it only as “al-Aqsa Mosque/al-Haram al-Sharif and its surroundings” and to the Western Wall as the “al-Buraq Plaza” (in reference to the Islamic tradition that Mohammed’s horse, Buraq, was tethered there when he ascended to heaven from the Temple Mount.) The resolution also accused Israel of Judaizing Jerusalem through the “planting of fake Jewish graves” in Muslim cemeteries and “the conversion of many Islamic and Byzantine remains into the so-called Jewish ritual baths or into Jewish prayer places.” And it condemned Israel for exercising security measures on the Temple Mount, demanded that Israel cease its own excavations in eastern Jerusalem, and cease any oversight of the Wakf’s construction on the Temple Mount.
Another UNESCO resolution passed in October 2016 on behalf of the Palestinians, called for the Wakf’s “exclusive authority on al-Aqsa Mosque/al-Haram al-Sharif” and called for using only Muslim terms to describe the Temple Mount compound and referred to Jerusalem as the “occupied capital of Palestine.” It also called for an immediate end to all Israeli construction in the Jewish Quarter and Western Wall plaza while at the same time demanded that unlimited Wakf construction take place without any restriction or oversight by the antiquities authority.
It is noteworthy that unrestricted construction and no oversight by antiquities authority was included in the resolutions. These conditions make it easier for a Jewish connection to the Temple Mount to literally be thrown away as happened in one of the biggest archaeological crimes in history.
I was fortunate to attend a lecture recently by Hillel Richman, an archaeologist who works for the Temple Mount Sifting Project in Jerusalem, who talked about this crime that occurred in 1999. His lecture was both informative and motivational. But just as Trump’s statement was, it was ridiculous. Ridiculous that he, like other Jews, are having to “prove” that Jewish Temples once stood on the Temple Mount and that Jews have both a historical and spiritual connection to the Mount. As the renowned archaeologist, Dr. Gabby Barkay once said, “Proving Jewish ties to the Temple Mount is like proving water is wet.” But because Temple denial has not only become en vogue, but has become another way to delegitimize Jewish sovereignty in Israel and an excuse to wage jihad against Jews, it is necessary to prove Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
Underneath the Temple Mount was a massive hall known as Solomon’s Stables. It was the place where the Crusaders, including the Knights of the Temple, kept their horses. After the infamous dividing of the Temple Mount as part of the Oslo Accords, in which Clinton gave rights atop the Mount to the Arabs and rights underneath the Mount to the Jews, an Arabization of what was underneath the Mount took place.
In total disregard to everything other than a sudden “pressing need” for a subterranean mosque, the Arabs, without municipal or archaeological permission, removed 9000 tons of dirt at night and transported the dirt to dumps. Thousands of years of history was unceremoniously treated like garbage in an effort to thwart a Jewish presence, or any other presence other than an Arab presence, under the Mount.
In an attempt to save the history dumped in the dirt, Dr. Barkay and Zachi Dvira, began a massive project of sifting through the dirt, in which Richman played a pivotal role. Richman talked about all the artifacts that have been reclaimed over several years of sifting through the dirt. Among many other objects, they have found and catalogued to date the following:
Pottery from the Bronze Age / Egyptian influenced pottery / Many idols such as figurines of the goat-god, Pan / Pottery and weaponry from the 1st Temple Era / Babylonian arrowheads / Flint sling stones and archer stones / Coins from the 2nd Temple Era – which include the first coins to be minted in Israel while under Persian rule / Coins from the time of Ezra and the Hellenistic Period / Wine jars used to import wine from the Island of Rhodes in 168 BCE / Maccabean coins – which were the first coins minted under sovereign Jewish rule / A Jewish half-shekel coin reproduced as an act of deviance and sovereignty against Roman rule / Jewish “Great Revolt” coins against Rome which said, “For the freedom of Zion” / Jewish purity objects used in mikvahs / Jewish Purity vessels / Roman 3-bladed arrowheads used in catapults / Roof tiles from 10th Roman Legion who destroyed the Second Temple / Game pieces, such as dice, used by Roman soldiers / Fire starters / Islamic coins and jewelry / Gilded glass and inlays of Mother of Pearl used in the original Dome of the Rock / Horseshoe nails from Crusaders / Crusader gold coins which depict the Dome of the Rock which was turned into a church / Ottoman glazed wall tiles used in renovations of the Dome of the Rock after an earthquake / Seals from Ottoman officials / Seals from the Wakf during the Ottoman period / Military insignias from WWI / Ammo from a Russian 38 / Led from musket balls / Ammo from 50 caliber projectiles / Ammo from the Six Day war including a 9mm Uzi sub-machine gun
None of this history mattered to the Arabs who threw it away, though. As Abbas made clear, “even if it is so, we do not accept it” because it does not fit their political agenda or narrative.
Along with archeological evidence of Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, there are published official guidebooks distributed by the Islamic Wakf in 1925 and 1950 which describe the First Temple built by King Solomon and land that would become the Temple Mount that was purchased by King David. The guidebook gives reference to this purchase by citing II Samuel 24:25. However, the guidebooks of 1954 and 1965 do not include any history of the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount. It is another example of history being revised to support a desired narrative and political agenda.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has coined the attempt to change history and wipe away a Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount as “diplomatic jihad.” And regarding the attempt to revise history and delegitimize a Jewish connection to Jerusalem, Israeli Ambassador to UNESCO, Shama-Hacohen, said, “This is no longer an Israeli-Palestinian struggle, but an Arab struggle against the entire Jewish world.”
I will go one step further and say that it represents an Arab struggle against the world. What happens on the Temple Mount will reverberate not only through Israel, but through the world. If delegitimization, revision, and ultimately, Arabization of the Temple Mount, which has such an obvious Jewish connection, is successful, then anything or anywhere in the world can be Arabized.
As Netanyahu stated, “Militant Islam wants to destroy our common civilization. They try to destroy us, but also they try to destroy you. We must stand against them together; we must remain strong against them together; and we must defeat them together.”
The “Palestinian” cause which has made the status of Jerusalem a central tenant of its cause, is the latest rallying cry for Arabs around the world to not only delegitimize Israel, but also to rage against Jews worldwide and any country which supports a Jewish state. Arab leaders such as Palestinian Authority President Abbas, Iranian President Rouhani, and Turkish President Erdogan gathered at an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation with other Arab leaders to address the “crisis” created by Trump recognizing that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel. Incensed by the “crisis” Erdogan said, “Those who think they own Jerusalem had better know that tomorrow they will not even be able to hide behind trees.” His statement is a veiled threat in reference to an Islamic text regarding Jews having to hide behind trees so that they won’t be killed by Muslims.
In a speech given in Jerusalem in 2008, Geert Wilders spoke of the importance of Israel winning the battle against Arabization. Wilders said: Israel’s security situation is not unique, and neither is its enemy. Samuel Huntington writes so aptly, “Islam has bloody borders.” Israel is located precisely on that border. This tiny country is situated on the fault line of jihad, just like Kashmir, Kosovo, the Philippines, Southern Thailand, Darfur, Lebanon, and Aceh in Indonesia. Israel is simply in the way of Islamic advance. Israel is simply receiving the blows that are meant for all of us. If there would’ve been no Israel, Islamic imperialism would have found other places to release its energy and its desire for conquest. Therefore, the war against Israel is not just a war against Israel. It is a war against the West. It is jihad.
According to MEMRI, on November 17, 2017, the al-Qaeda media wing al-Sahab released a video by Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri calling upon Muslims to form a “jihad-based alliance” that consists of Muslims from all over the world in order to strike the U.S. which he calls “the head of unbelief,” and said, “we should focus on attacking the U.S. in particular and make it a top priority.”
There are so many calls for jihad coming from various Islamic sects that it is mind-reeling. But currently, one of the main focuses of jihad is Jerusalem and more precisely, the Temple Mount. And at least for the time being, Trump was bold enough to shine a spotlight on the diplomatic jihad being waged against it.