So far, the ramp project has drawn reactions including the following:
“`The Islamic world`s reaction to this insulting move should make the regime occupying Quds (Jerusalem) regret (its action) ... Silence over this issue is not acceptable,` said Iran`s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the state radio. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also condemned the excavation.
"`The nature of the Zionist regime is to ruin and cause conflict,` Iran`s students news agency ISNA quoted the president as saying.The Syrians, in a statement by an `official in the Foreign Ministry,` according to the official Syrian news agency, said `aggression against Al-Aqsa is a blow to the holy places of Islam` and was against the sensibilities of Muslims the world over.
"Jordan`s King Abdullah on Wednesday released an unusual statement warning Israel against damaging the Al-Aqsa Mosque.'”
An editorial in the Jerusalem Post provides a concise summary of the dust-up:
In Gaza, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and elsewhere, Muslims are up in arms about what even a moderate like Jordan's King Abdullah called "a threat to the foundations of the Al Aksa mosque."
"What is happening is an aggression, we call on the Palestinian people to unite and protect Jerusalem," said Muhammad Hussein, the top Muslim cleric in Jerusalem. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called for the Islamic world to "retaliate" and make Israel "regret" what it had done.
What is Israel doing that has sparked such violent threats? Some years ago, the pedestrian ramp leading up to Jerusalem's Temple Mount fell apart. Now municipal authorities plan to build a permanent ramp to maintain access to this holy site, and are conducting, as required by law, an archeological salvage dig to make sure no artifacts are destroyed in the process.
All of this is completely outside the Temple Mount platform, and bears no relation or threat to that structure, let alone to the Aksa mosque. Why would Israel dream of undermining the Temple Mount, which is Judaism's holiest site? The claim that Israel is doing so is patently absurd, as anyone familiar with the area can immediately see.
Read the rest of it here.
When I started looking into this I found out two things of interest. The first is that Arabs in Palestine have been using phony claims of Jewish attempts to destroy the Al Aksa mosque for years, especially in 1929, when the Grand Mufti of Palestine called for the murder of Jews falsely claiming they had burnt down the Al Aksa mosque and were going to build a synagogue near the Wailing Wall.
But now we're finding out there's more going on than just lying to illiterate mobs about what's going on just outside their capacity to know any better. Now we are learning there's been a concerted effort by Muslims leaders to plant the idea into the heads of the faithful that the Jewish Temple, and the Jews who built two temples on the site, were never even there to begin with.
In his November 2005 article for Haaretz, "In the beginning was Al-Aqsa," Nadav Shragai explained how this has worked:
"The historian Dr. Yitzhak Reiter…has been collating for years thousands of publications, religious legal rulings, statements and pronouncements of Muslim clergymen, historians, public figures and statesmen on the subject of Jerusalem. His book (`From Jerusalem to Mecca and Back - the Muslim Rallying Around Jerusalem,`) draws in great detail a portrait of the great Muslim denial, a denial of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and to the Temple."
This sampling of quotes from 2003 is further evidence, including Yasser Arafat’s statement to his followers denying Jewish history on the Temple Mount:
"For 34 years [the Israelis] have dug tunnels [around the Temple Mount]…they found not a single stone proving that the Temple of Solomon was there, because historically the Temple was not in Palestine [at all]. They found only remnants of a shrine of the Roman Herod… They are now trying to put in place a number of stones so that they can say 'We were here.' This is nonsense. I challenge them to bring a single stone from the Temple of Solomon."
Yasser ArafatAl-Hayat (London), October 5, 2002[Trans. MEMRI and BBC Worldwide Monitoring]
"The claims being made by the rulers of Israel and its rabbis about the alleged Temple are pure fabrications without any base or foundation."
Statement by the Higher Islamic Authority of PalestineAl-Quds (PA), December 28, 2001[Trans. BBC Worldwide Monitoring]
"Sabri: There is not [even] the smallest indication of the existence of a Jewish Temple on this place in the past. In the whole city, there is not even a single stone indicating Jewish history. Our right, on the other hand, is very clear. This place belongs to us for 1500 years. Even when it was conquered by the Crusaders, it remained Al-Aqsa, and we got it back soon afterwards. The Jews do not even know exactly where their Temple stood. Therefore, we do not accept that they have any rights, underneath the surface or above it.
"Die Welt: It is agreed among archeologists that the Wailing-Wall is part of the foundation of Herod's temple. The Bible and other antique sources report about this place in detail. Why can't you respect the Jewish connection to this place?
"Sabri: It is the art of the Jews to deceive the world. But they can't do it to us. There is not a single stone in the Wailing-Wall relating to Jewish History. The Jews cannot legitimately claim this wall, neither religiously nor historically. The Committee of the League of Nations recommended in 1930, to allow the Jews to pray there, in order to keep them quiet. But by no means did it acknowledge that the wall belongs to them.
"Die Welt: Why don't you allow Israeli scientists to dig there to look for possible remnants and proofs for or against the existence of the Jewish temple?
"Sabri: We categorically reject all excavations under the Al-Aqsa mosque, because they would endanger the historical buildings on the site. Besides, they have already dug everywhere. All they could find were remnants of buildings from the Omayyad-period. Everything they excavated was related to Arabs and Muslims.
Sheikh `Ikrima SabriPA-appointed Mufti of JerusalemInterviewed by German magazine Die Welt, January17, 2001[Trans. MEMRI]
"As is known, the Jews have no religious shrines in the Palestinian territories, especially in Jerusalem, except this claim for which there is no religious or historical proof -- the claim that the Temple of Solomon or its ruins are buried under the foundations of the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque!"
Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia) editorialDecember 29, 2000[Trans. BBC Worldwide Monitoring]
"President Arafat said that no one can impose anything on us with regard to Jerusalem. He pointed out that there are attempts to usurp parts of Jerusalem, like the Armenian neighborhood. He added: I cannot accept that. I cannot betray the Armenians' property and churches, because these are integral parts of holy Jerusalem. He reiterated that the Wailing Wall [the Western Wall], as they call it, is Al-Buraq Wall which is an Islamic waqf religious endowment since the issuance of Umar's Covenant. He noted that it was the Shore phonetic Committee which allowed the Jews to pray in that place. He said that Al-Buraq Wall is the property of Islamic Awqaf. He added that even chief rabbis prevented prayers there, because it was not proven yet that the temple is located there."
Voice of Palestine (Ramallah) September 3, 2000[Trans. BBC Worldwide Monitoring]
"[The Israelis] claim that 2000 years ago they had a Temple [on the Temple Mount]. I challenge the claim that this is so. But even if it is so, we do not accept [current Israeli claims on the Temple Mount]."
Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) Kul Al-Arab (Israel), August 25, 2000[Trans. MEMRI]
"No stone of the Al-Buraq wall [the Western Wall] has any relation to Judaism. The Jews began praying at this wall only in the nineteenth century, when they began to develop [national] aspirations…"
Sheikh `Ikrima SabriPA-appointed Mufti of JerusalemKul Al-Arab (Israel), August 18, 2000[Trans. MEMRI]
"[The Israelis] are insisting on sovereignty over the Al-Aqsa mosque on the pretext that an Israeli Temple is buried beneath it and that, through their continued sovereignty, they can one day unearth it…Their claim was not substantiated by the excavations they carried out around and under the mosque. However, they insisted on their demand to pray in the courtyard of the mosque."
Nabil Sha'athPA Minister of Planning and International CooperationVoice of Palestine (PA), July 26, 2000[Trans. BBC Worldwide Monitoring]
"[Sheikh Yusuf Salamah, Undersecretary of the PA Awqaf and Religious Affairs Ministry] warned of the dangerous excavations which the Israeli Antiquities Department is carrying out under the [Al-Aqsa] mosque [on the Temple Mount]. He underscored that the holy city is Arab and Islamic and pointed out the failure of all Israeli attempts and claims with regard to the existence of the Temple."
Al-Quds (PA), July 15, 2000[Trans. BBC Worldwide Monitoring]
"As to what has been happening inside the Holy City, not only the Moroccan quarter has been seized and demolished, Your Majesty, as the two of us discussed previously, to widen the so-called Wailing Wall [the Western Wall]. To do this, the tombs of the Moroccan Muslim Imams would be affected. They removed them. Not only this, but [the Israelis] have also been trying to take over houses, shops, lanes and streets, either under the pretext of exploration or, as they recently did by closing the major gates of the mosque to conduct the so-called exploration operation of what they called the remains of the Solomon Temple when all the historical evidence, Your Majesty, proved that it was not there at all in another place far away from this spot. This is what historians had been saying."
Yasser ArafatAddressing the "Jerusalem Committee" in Marrakesh, MoroccoJanuary 25, 1992[Trans. BBC Worldwide Monitoring]
Yitzhak Reiter found “[t]he Islamic texts that relate to denial of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the holy places … at the annual Arab Book Fair held in Cairo, and in bookshops in Islamic communities in Europe, America and Asia. A large percentage of the texts are also accessible to readers of Arabic on the Internet. They gradually seep in and are becoming truth in the eyes of a large Muslim public around the world.”
There seems to be a lot of this kind of revisionism going around in the Islamic world. We know it works because polls of the Muslim world have consistently showed a majority do not believe Arabs had anything to do with 9/11. (For that matter, according to one Scripps Howard poll, more than a third of Americans "believe the U.S. government somehow assisted in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, or else took no steps to stop them from occurring, so the Bush administration could launch a war in the Middle East."
Combining Islam’s gargantuan capacity for scornful intolerance towards non-Muslims with the notion that Jews are not only hated occupiers, but alien invaders attempting to supplant a rightful Muslim holy site with one of their own is bound to produce the desired result: riots, violence, and civil unrest that pushes fatigued Western governments to follow the path of least resistance and appeasement.
But it's even worse than that. By attempting to exterminate the record of Jewish existence from history these Muslim leaders are committing a form of religious identity theft of the most diabolical kind. At least when my Irish ancestors were being hounded by Cromwell’s armies, who banned their native language and burned their churches, the British left the ruins standing.
Not satisfied with their goal to wipe Israel off the map, must Islam try to wipe the Chosen People out of the world's memory?
And just how successful do you think that's going to be?