Temple Denial and Abbas

Some fascinating manoevres are occurring at the UN – so far things have been working out reasonably well for Israel (incidently, don’t you love the way Fairfax’s Paul McGeough both reports and separately commentates on what’s happening).

One disappointing portent for peace has been Abbas’s rejectionist words.  A J Post article here makes some salient points:

“While Israeli leaders, including Netanyahu during his speech at the UN, consistently articulate an understanding of Palestinian yearnings, the Palestinians rarely voice any understanding of Israel’s – not its yearning, nor its fears, nor its connection to the land.
“Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people in the homeland and in the diaspora, to say, after 63 years of suffering of an ongoing Nakba: Enough. It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence,” Abbas said toward the end of his address Friday.
With that seemingly innocuous paragraph, Abbas revealed the glaring gaps between the sides.

If Abbas cannot even acknowledge that the Holy Land is not only the birthplace of Jesus and the location of the ascension of Muhammad, but also holds a certain allure for various reasons to the Jewish people, then peace is farther off than the 12 newly allotted months spelled out in the Quartet’s recent formula for restarting negotiations.

It has been said that for the Jewish people today, “Temple denial” – or the denial of a Jewish connection to Israel – is more pernicious even than “Holocaust denial.”

In the end, it is the Jews who will carry the memory of the Holocaust through the centuries, even with the deniers, while the rest of the world will forget, just as the Jews – rather than the rest of the world – has carried other tragic episodes of our history through the ages. That is our responsibility.

But denying the existence of the Temple, or the Jewish connection to the land, is to deny the basis of Jewish identity, because connection to the land is such a fundamental part of that identity.  


Genuine peace will only be reached when both sides recognize that the other side is there to stay, and has a historical right to be there. If one side believes the other is an interloper, with no rights to the land – then there can never really be peace, just an agreement until the interloper either fades, or is pushed, away.”

…………………   For perspective, Dore Gold’s book “The Fight for Jerusalem”, points out that Hajj Amin al-Husseini in the 1920’s and 30’s recognised the historical reality of the Jewish Temple.   He writes “Notably, during these disputes over the Western Wall Husseini did not adopt the tactic later embraced by Yasser Arafat of denying in total the religious history of the Jews. For example, the Supreme Muslim Council, which Husseini had headed since 1921, published an English language book in 1924 for visitors to the Temple Mount area titled “A brief guide to al-Haram al-Sharif Jerusalem.  The book’s historical sketch of the site related that “the site is one of the oldest in the world.  Its sanctity data from the earliest (perhaps from pre-historic ) times.  Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute.” (p151).

……….  Sadly, Abbas seems to be continuing in the Arafat denial mode.




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