Aug. 27, 2009
Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST
The Palestinian Authority's chief Islamic judge, Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, said on Wednesday 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.
Tamimi's announcement came in response to statements made earlier this week by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who said that Jerusalem "is not a settlement," and that "the Jews built it 3,000 years ago."
"Netanyahu's claims are baseless and untrue," said Tamimi, the highest religious authority in the PA. "Jerusalem is an Arab and Islamic city and it always has been so."
Tamimi claimed that all excavation work conducted by Israel after 1967 have "failed to prove that Jews had a history or presence in Jerusalem or that their ostensible temple had ever existed."
He condemned Netanyahu and "all Jewish rabbis and extremist organizations" as liars because of their assertion that Jerusalem was a Jewish city.
Tamimi accused Israel of distorting the facts and forging history "with the aim of erasing the Arab and Islamic character of Jerusalem." He also accused Israel of launching an "ethnic cleansing" campaign to squeeze Arabs out of the city.
"By desecrating its holy sites, expelling its Arab residents and demolishing their homes and confiscating their lands and building settlements in Jerusalem, Israel is seeking, through the use of weapons, to turn it into a Jewish city," he said. "This is a flagrant violation of all religious, legal, moral and human values."
Complete story here