In The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 25, 2009) Bari Weiss reported, “For the record: Jerusalem is the holiest city in Judaism, mentioned more than 600 times in the Hebrew Bible. Three times a day, religious Jews face eastward toward the city when they pray. At Jewish weddings, the couple’s joy is diminished as they shatter a glass to acknowledge Jerusalem’s still unfulfilled redemption. It is a widespread custom then to recite the 137th psalm (‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither, let my tongue cleave to my palate..’).”
Weiss goes on to state, “According to Jewish tradition, Jerusalem’s designation as Judaism’s most sacred city made it the obvious place for King Solomon to build the Holy Temple following the death of his father, King David. After the temple’s destruction by the Babylonians, it was rebuilt by King Herod before being destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.”
This is an expression of the traditional view held by millions around the world. But senior Palestinian political and intellectual leaders have gone on record with an alternative perspective.
Here are but a few of the many documented statements by important figures denying the Jewish people’s historic ties to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem:
The Jerusalem Post reported on August 27, 2009, “The Palestinian Authority’s chief Islamic judge, Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, said that there was no evidence to back up claims that Jews had ever lived in Jerusalem or that the Temple ever existed. Tamimi claimed that Israeli archeologists had ‘admitted’ that Jerusalem was never inhabited by Jews.”
The November 22, 1997 edition of the Palestinian newspaper, Al-Ayyam published a statement from the chief Muslim cleric of the Palestinian Authority, Mufti Ikrama Sabri, “The claim of the Jews to the right over [Jerusalem] is false, and we recognize nothing but an entirely Islamic Jerusalem under Islamic supervision...”
Shamekh Alawneh, a lecturer in modern history at Al Quds University, said on August 11, 2009 that “the Jews invented their connection to Jerusalem. It has no historical roots.” According to Alawneh, “the Jews are engaging in an attack on history, theft of culture, falsification of facts, erasure of the truth, and Judaization of the place.”
In an article for The Washington Post (July 30, 2000) Lee Hockstader wrote, “Saeb Erekat, Arafat’s chief negotiator at Camp David in 2000, took issue with Ben-Ami’s contention that Solomon’s Temple, the Jewish sacred site built 3,000 years ago, had really once stood on the Temple Mount. As the two negotiators debated, Clinton looked on amazed. Erekat then said to President Clinton: ‘I don’t believe there was a temple on top of the Haram [holy site], I really don’t.’ Clinton later said Arafat’s intransigence on Jerusalem was largely to blame.”
Islamic Movement chief Raed Salah declared in November 2006, “We remind, for the 1,000th time, that the entire Al-Aqsa mosque [on the Temple Mount], including all of its area and alleys above the ground and under it, is exclusive and absolute Moslem property, and no one else has any rights to even one grain of earth in it.”
In the midst of such quotes there stands an authentic piece of Muslim history that counters these and other similar declarations.
Authentic 1924 Temple Mount Guide Tells the Truth
The Supreme Muslim Council’s own words dating back to their 1924 Guide to the Temple Mount confirm the truth of the Jewish people’s unique relationship to these hallowed grounds dating back some three thousand years.
Irrefutable documentation of this fact comes from the well-researched, sixteen-page A Brief Guide to al-Haram al-Sharif, published by the Supreme Muslim Council. This Guide officially recognizes Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.
A 1924 first edition copy of al- Haram al-Sharif was recently obtained by The Simon Wiesenthal Center. On the fourth page the Historical Sketch of the Haram declares: “The site is one of the oldest in the world. Its sanctity dates from the earliest times. 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, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings” (2 Samuel 24:25).
Judaism’s unequivocal connection to the Temple Mount comes up again on the last page of the booklet (page sixteen), which discusses the “substructures” of the Dome of the Rock. Describing the area of Solomon’s Stables, which Islamic Waqf officials converted into a new mosque in 1996, the guide states: “...It dates probably as far back as the construction of Solomon’s Temple. According to Josephus, it was in existence and was used as a place of refuge by the Jews at the time of the conquest of Jerusalem by Titus in the year 70 A.D.”
The guide also refers on page sixteen to Christianity’s link to a small chamber in the vast subterranean structure, “which was believed in medieval times to have been associated with Jesus Christ’s infancy. This belief was prevalent long before the advent of the Crusaders…”
All editions of the Temple Mount Guide from 1924-1953 were published with the same wording by the Supreme Muslim Council. It is often said that diplomats sign treaties but only people can make peace. The Simon Wiesenthal Center shares this information with you in the hopes that it will inspire people of good will of all faiths to work together for a true and lasting peace that will emanate from Jerusalem – based on truth, tolerance and mutual respect.
Temple Mount Guide team