Saturday, June 20, 2009
*At the end of the day and after all the speeches, the Palestinian state - and with it the State of Israel - will rise or fall on Jerusalem, the most legitimate and greatest Israeli settlement ever. This is the field where the battle should be conducted. This is where our chances are good of explaining our right and its implementation, from King David's time to 1948 and the Six-Day War, without stammering and without apologizing.
When it comes to Jerusalem, there is no need to mention either natural growth or natural development; what is at stake is nature itself, the nature of our connection to this city and the realization of the right that is rooted in our religion, our history, and 2,000 years of memory and longing, during which the Jewish presence in Jerusalem never ceased to exist.
Half the work has been done for us in recent months by the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian media, which no longer have any sense of the absurd extent to which they have magnified their false claims about Jerusalem. It is possible, Palestinian television reported not long ago, that there will be an artificial earthquake that will cause the Al-Aqsa Mosque to collapse because the Israelis were considering carrying out a nuclear test in the Dead Sea. The mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, is sticking with conventional theories concerning "the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque," - whether by "explosives, dropping bombs from the air or from a distance," or "by means of the tunnels." Sheikh Jamal Mohammed Bawatneh, the Palestinian minister of Waqf, is also convinced that the occupation regime is seeking excuses to invade the mosque.
But it isn't only the "Al-Aqsa is in danger" scare campaign that is underway. The Jewish presence in Jerusalem is perceived these days as a desecration of the Muslim character of the city, so the Palestinian narrative is presented in response, with Dr. Marwan Abu Khalaf, the director of the Institute of Islamic Archeology at Al-Quds University, saying that "under every stone and in every corner, on every street and at every bend in Jerusalem there are remains that say: 'We are Arab, we are Muslim.'"
Mahmoud Habbash, the Palestinian Authority minister of agriculture and social affairs, has made it clear for the umpteenth time that the Temple was not located in the Holy City at all, while researcher Dr. Hasan Sanallah has gone back to the days of the 1929 riots, related to disputes over access to the Western Wall, and expresses criticism of the use of the term "Wailing Wall." According to him, "The occupation is falsifying the facts, and it has no right to the Walls of Al-Aqsa."
With such a narrative, it is no wonder that the Palestinian Authority - and not just Hamas - is defining Jerusalem as ribat land, meaning that Muslims are religiously mandated to fight for it and hold on to it, liberating the land for the sake of Islam. This, of course, comes on top of the Palestinians' denial of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and their revision of the city's history.
It is not difficult to undermine these lies. Indeed, according to many interpretations, the Al-Aqsa Mosque mentioned in the Koran - which many say appeared to Mohammed in a dream - was originally in the seventh heaven of Mecca and Medina, and not terrestrial. Suffice it to say that Al-Aqsa is not mentioned at all in the verses from the Koran that adorn the interior walls of the Dome of the Rock, that Muslims' journey to Jerusalem is always considered a visit rather than a pilgrimage, and that Jerusalem was never the capital of this land in the days of Muslim rule.
But while all this is correct, it is ultimately of negligible importance. The main thing is to tell the Jewish story of Jerusalem again and again - a story that is unequalled, and without which the Jewish people would not have undergone a revival here, in the Land of Israel - to tell it without tiring, without blinking and without getting confused, either by those among us who are mistaken or who mislead others, or by those who pose an external threat.