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Debunking Israeli claim to Muslim holy site

Oct 15,2016 - Last updated at Oct 15,2016

A UNESCO draft resolution recognising Palestinian rights in Jerusalem was passed this week by a vote of 24 in favour, six against and 26 abstentions.

The UNESCO’s executive body will decide whether to adopt the draft text, but the Israeli education minister, Naftali Bennett, used usual scare tactics in advance, to abort the UNESCO body from taking a pro-Palestinian stand.

He threatened to freeze all ties with the world’s highest cultural body if it does not toe the Israeli line.

A Jewish connection to Al Aqsa Mosque has not been documented by historians or Biblical experts. Many rabbis admit openly that the Wailing Wall is not part of Solomon’s temple, and so it might have some historical significance but no religious sacredness according to the Jewish religion.

The stated aim of the UNESCO text was “the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Palestine and the distinctive character of East Jerusalem”.

It repeatedly denounced Israeli actions, including the use of force, and the imposition of restrictions on Muslim worshippers and archaeological work. 

Israel regards such criticism as politically motivated. The move was condemned by Jewish organisations around the world, including the World Jewish Congress, which called it an “inflammatory, one-sided decision”.

Palestinians, who seek an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, welcomed the measure.

“This is an important message to Israel that it must end its occupation and recognise the Palestinian state and Jerusalem as its capital with its sacred Muslim and Christian sites,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

A leading authority in this field is Rabbi Reuven Hammer, a scholar and a former head of the International Rabbinical Assembly. On July 4, 2016, he published in The Jerusalem Post an article accusing some religious groups of attempting to monopolise Jewish life in Israel and endeavouring to give sanctity to places that are not sacred in the Jewish religion.

Haredi groups that want to accelerate the return of the Messiah and to rebuild the Third Temple claim that the two Muslim sanctuaries, the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque, are built on the same site as Solomon’s Temple and should be demolished.

Such an action would result in an immediate religious war between Muslims and Jews, not only in Jerusalem, but all over Palestine.

In his lengthy article, Rabbi Hammer concludes: “As for the temple itself, since rebuilding it now would require demolishing the Dome of the Rock and would spark a terrible war, even to contemplate it is unthinkable and the height of irresponsibility.

 

“The temple must be a place of peace, the Holy Book says. And that they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks: Nation shall not take up sword against nation; they shall never again know war.” (Isaiah 2:2-4).

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