Re: U.S. to Reassess Status of Talks on Middle East

BATNA examples 2

Ari Bussel sent an email that was actually an email exchange in which the subject was a New York Times article on Secretary of State John Kerry’s high handed efforts to force Israel to concede to the wants and desires of the Palestinian Authority’s desire for a sovereign Palestinian State at the expense of Israel’s territorial viability. Of course the NYT did not present the article that but that is what is happening under the Obama Administration via John Kerry.


The difficulty I am having is in the arrangement of Ari Bussel’s email. Bussel’s reply to his friend is really a great stand-alone article, but then the reader misses some of the context to which Ari Bussel was responding to and also the context of Bussel’s friend’s query about the NYT article to Ari Bussel. So in the end I am going with Bussel’s arrangement, but just in case feel free to read this post backwards. Ari Bussel’s arrangement is his own thoughts, followed by the inspirer of Bussel’s thoughts in Edward Story who in turn was inspired the NYT article by Michael R. Gordon and Mark Landler.


JRH 4/6/14

Please Support NCCR


Re: U.S. to Reassess Status of Talks on Middle East


By Ari Bussel

Sent: 4/5/2014 9:54 PM


Dear Ed,


This was too good to pass; it deserves an answer.


A failure must be recognized for what it is.


One must fight the battles worth fighting.  At the very least, one must know history (and the lay of the ground as well).  A proper amount of strategy does not hurt either.  None was exhibited here.


Admittedly, there was no other choice.  Our President made up his mind, and since he is the Commander in Chief, we had to follow suit.  But at times, it takes courage to stand up and express a different opinion, to challenge a blind following in a wrong path; one that proved time and again (both Republican and Democrat administrations) it leads nowhere.


The only reason the US was involved in this process, whose end result-to-date one could have provided – as I did – with absolute certainty before (or as) it started, is that our President decided to add another Nobel Prize to the one he so richly already deserved (prematurely of course, to any real action to justify such a monumental recognition).


The President must be concerned with one thing, and one thing only – the wellbeing of the country he leads.  And when one positions the Israeli-Arab conflict of the past century on the forefront of the agenda, one misleads himself into a false reality.  The world understands there are more pressing issues.  Why can we not?


As the last few years under the Obama Administration have shown, we have a President who would rush to apply undue pressure on allies – from President Mubarak to the repented Kadafi.  It is the same president who stood idle in regard to the civil war in Syria, where hundreds of thousands were murdered, mutilated, raped, tortured and injured.  Many escaped from their country and are now real refugees (unlike the eternal refugees and their descendants ad infinitum that the United Nations and the family of nations are so focused on perpetuating, cultivating and supporting).  But Syria is not the focus of the US.


Our twice-elected President did wonders elsewhere – with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, for instance (how gratifying, refreshing, awakening and effective was the slap on our faces that the infusion of billions from Saudi and the Gulf provided).  And with Iran.  And better yet, with Putin.


While the world is busy focusing on the titans, from Putin to Rouhani, the US, under President Obama, is focused on bringing a final solution to the world’s imagined problems – a “peace” between Israel and those who call themselves “Palestinians.”  The false supposition we are given is:  If only there were peace in that region, all the world’s problems would miraculously disappear. 


Except, Israel is the only stable country in the Middle East, and the “Palestinian” issue that never before bothered its Arab brethren is unimportant to the Arabs now either.  Billions were spent on these “refugees,” and to what end?  Is there better infrastructure, maybe schools?  There is only the perpetuation of a myth, to one purpose:  harm Israel and bring her downfall.


Let us try to understand what it is we are promoting.  Israel needs to make “painful concessions.”  Israel needs to allow the cancer that has spread to conquer another organ, and another.  Here the liver, there the lungs, alas – the brain too! 


Has anyone fighting cancer ever “treated” the problem by allowing it to spread?  Yes, take over the kidneys, just leave me alone!  We will live, side-by-side, in peace, for ever and ever!  (If it sounds stupid, it is indeed.)


What is clearly needed is not yet another painful concession by Israel or the release of hundreds of murders or terrorists with much blood on their hands.


And America has failed in relaying this exact point.  The “Palestinians” do not want “Peace.”  They say so in their own words and they act accordingly.  They feel strength, of a weak world leadership falling into the ditch they dug, getting caught in the web of a thousand and one Arabian nights. 


Besides, who exactly are those “Palestinians?”  We chose a side, clearly the wrong side.  There is a democratically-elected government in Gaza that claims to truly and accurately represent the “Peoplehood,” “Nationhood” and the very being of this congregation of clans and tribes.


Possibly if we focused on Hamas, which we declared to be a terrorist organization, we would better serve everyone’s true needs.  We would crash the aspirations of those who live in an illusionary world, bringing them back to reality, and we would act – as we should have acted long ago – to crash anyone who promotes terrorism, targets civilians and has no value to human life – theirs, their women or anyone else’s.


This is what had to be done, and eventually it will happen.  We must face reality.  Israeli Arabs are part of the Jewish State of Israel.  The vast majority does not want to change the status quo.  The Arabs who for the past 20 years have cultivated an idea they can carve out parts of the Jewish State of Israel and then take over the rest are sorely mistaken, and one must correct them.  “Palestine” under British Mandate extended way beyond the Jordan River.  Today’s Jordan, with a majority “Palestinians” is indeed part of the same “homeland,” but a homeland to whom is it?


Those who today define themselves as “Palestinians” are descendants of immigrants from Egypt and elsewhere who came to improve their lives.  They came for better economic conditions.  They multiplied and expanded and became numerous as the grains of sand or the stars in the sky.  But that does not provide them ownership of the land or its three thousand year history.


They built huge structures in the air, but they have no roots.  This is why they are working to destroy and remove our own roots.  Temple Mount was never Jewish, they say, and the Jews have no connection to it.  Remove hundreds of truckloads of archeological artifacts and repeat the nonsense so often, one starts believing it.


Imagine our own illegal immigrants claiming that the United States of America does not belong to Americans, never did and that the world must fight with all its power against the very idea, the very evil thought, that Americans call the USA their home.  Well, we are not Mexico, nor do I think that we should ever go back to England because illegal immigrants decided that we have no claim here.  (I must admit, though, that my family has only lived here one century, so we should indeed go back to Europe!)


The difference is two-fold.  First, our history only goes back to 1776, and maybe a few more years, whereas Israel’s is millennia in the making.


Second, would any sane American ever raise his head up high and say, “Indeed, we must negotiate with the immigrants to allow them their own cities, rule of law, airports and highways, banking system and infrastructure?”


Will any sane American say “we must stop all construction of homes and apartments since the land is not our land?”


Or maybe there would be someone promoting the imperative that “all prisoners in our prisons must be released since they are ‘freedom fighters,’ held illegally in American prisons?”


Apparently what we are trying to force upon Israel is something we would not spent a fraction of a thought to apply to ourselves.


Our Secretary of State wanted to force feed Israel a recipe no one wants, needs or can digest.  So it was bound to fail from the start.  The guaranteed defeat is not “Power,” nor can anyone word-play it into an achievement.  And at times, it is quite healthy to admit a defeat, regroup, derive the lessons and implement a new strategy.


Let Israel and her enemies work a “peace” agreement among themselves.  No one in the neighborhood, or the world for that matter, trusts this superpower (us) any more.  Those on the ground will have no choice but to fight it out, until one side or the other gives up, or changes its approach.  Regrettably, I am not sure that Israel will have the upper hand in the immediate future, although I am certain we will survive and prevail as we have done for two thousand long years, for Israelis, too, brainwashed themselves with a notion of a “Palestine” and “Palestinian People.”  (All, incidentally, taken directly from the textbooks of propaganda taught to Arafat in the former Soviet Union.)


Our Secretary of State, out of “real” concern to Israel’s wellbeing and her growing “isolation,” came to the rescue.  A rescue that to me looked like an attempt to further drown the person than try to save her or to rape again the victim that was repeatedly and brutally raped out of true concern and care.


Everyone in the immediate neighborhood understands the weakness of the US of A.  The signals are clear:  We are weak.  We thrash our friends.  We are afraid and would not dare act against either bullies or enemies.  We are indeed a great, “Peaceful”-loving nation (like a “religion” that touts to be peace-loving).  In the Middle East, the former Soviet Union and apparently everywhere else around the world, no one would even piss on such a creature.


These are harsh words, so ask anyone who has ever been to a battlefield, say in Iraq or Afghanistan, how are we looked upon in the world, by our own doing.


As much as it aches, this is OUR US OF A.


So let us turn to MY ISRAEL.


Our (Israel’s) situation is not much better, at all.  For the past two decades, we have immersed ourselves in an illusion that if we only take parts of Israel and give them away, there will be peace.


What we should have done is quite different, and very simple.


Israel – between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean – is the only Jewish State in the world.  Judea and Samaria (including Jerusalem) should have been annexed.


Every country that has its embassy not in Israel’s capital – Jerusalem – should have received a clear, unequivocal message – we only have one capital, where we conduct business, nowhere else.


The minute we start taking ourselves seriously, so would the world.


And the world would like very much what it sees.  It is evident with Putin’s acceptance and the reaction to his actions.


One must learn a lesson from Israel’s experience (say of the last 65 years):  Being on the defensive can never lead to victory.  We have been on the receiving end for way too long.  Did we forget the benefits of going on the offensive?  Twenty some years is a generation, so today’s generation in Israel knows nothing different than capitulation.  But there are still two other generations alive and kicking – one that fought and survived, the other that grew when the wars were raging.  They know.  They have experience.  They should take the leadership.


America should have never approached “the process.”  We have further weakened our position by acting like a prostitute:  “Here, take Pollard, give Jerusalem and the Israeli Arab murderers who have been convicted in a court of law for multiple life sentences.”  Luckily, Pollard is the first (and one of the only ones) who stood up and said – never!  Do not use me!


Another lesson to learn about character, some would say from a most unexpected place.


In America, too, there must be a change of leadership.  From foreign affairs to domestic disasters, we seem to be proceeding in the direction our Founding Fathers would not have approved.




Ari Bussel


On Apr 5, 2014, at 5:15 PM, Edward Story wrote:


I have not always sympathized with Kerry, but in this case I do. He’s a courageous guy to even take on such a mountain of historical enmity, such an installed structure for continuance thereof, and such a multiplicity of parties – some visible, and part of the controllable process, and many, perhaps even most, not.


One can only hope that, by stepping away, the vacuum itself, will be persuasive to the sides. That said, it is an easy observation, although one that does have substance in many negotiations. Call it, as it often is: “walk away” power. Usually, it refers to one side or the other; in this case it refers to “the third party”: us.


And that moves the thought process toward the now classic term ‘BATNA’ [Blog Editor: Yup it is true. This editor was ignorant to the “now classic term ‘BATNA’. If you are like me you can understand HERE and HERE – Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement] or, as it has come to be described: “the best alternative to a negotiated agreement.”  I would posit, here, that the BATNA is too easy, too simple, too “less painful” than a negotiated settlement may be perceived to be by certainly the Israelis and most likely by the Palestinian power structure, too.


Indeed, the article below ends with:


“Insofar as we find fault here, it is in the inability of either side to make tough decisions,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser. “For us to continue to invest that kind of bandwidth in the process, we’d need to see some investment from the parties.”


I suggest that the benefits of “peace” (however currently perceived) are not great enough to either side to keep this process – at its current configuration – proceeding toward an agreement. The BATNA is too great – for each side or at least for one of the sides to stop or curtail what momentum may exist.


IF, that is the case, then, other than our symbolically (or actually), walking away from the process, we, if the we – the U.S. – sees real value in a “peace” between Israelis and Palestinians, if this element of peace in the Middle East is truly a “high value target” for U.S. diplomacy, then we would have to figure out how to make the NA (“negotiated agreement”) far more attractive to both sides than the BATNA.


See below and let me know if you come to the same conclusion.




U.S. to Reassess Status of Talks on Middle East


APRIL 4, 2014


RABAT, Morocco — With Israel and the Palestinians falling into a familiar cycle of tit-for-tat retribution, and a peace agreement more elusive than ever, Secretary of State John Kerry conceded on Friday that this week had been a “reality check” for the peace process.


But more than anything, it may be a reality check for Mr. Kerry himself. After eight months of diplomacy, more than a dozen trips to the region and endless late-night negotiating sessions with both sides, Mr. Kerry was forced to acknowledge that he may have hit a wall too high even for someone with his seemingly endless optimism and energy.


As he wrapped up perhaps the most grueling trip in his 14 months as secretary of state, Mr. Kerry told reporters he was flying home to Washington to meet with President Obama to reassess the peace negotiations and whether there was a path forward.


With this latest round of talks at risk of collapse, Mr. Kerry faces a setback familiar to many secretaries of state — the last dozen, to a greater or less degree, have tried and failed to broker a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians — but one that may sting even more, given the enormous personal investment he has poured into it.


There was an echo, in Mr. Kerry’s tone, of a frustrated outburst in 1990 by James A. Baker III, secretary of state under President George Bush, who read out the number for the White House switchboard at a congressional hearing and told the Israelis and Palestinians, “When you’re serious about peace, call us.”


Mr. Kerry is not about to give up on the process. But like Mr. Baker, he is dealing with two parties that are paralyzed by intransigence and fall back on provocations: Israel announcing new Jewish settlements and refusing to release Palestinian prisoners; the Palestinians, in response, applying to join international organizations and issuing a list of new demands.


Defying the failed efforts in Mr. Obama’s first term, Mr. Kerry has pushed the peace process toward the top of the administration’s list of second-term foreign policy priorities. Declaring at one point that his goal was to achieve a comprehensive peace accord within nine months, he pursued it with his own brand of personal diplomacy — and with a nothing-to-lose zeal characteristic of a defeated presidential candidate who views his current job as the pinnacle of his career.


But as he made clear on Friday, the peace process is just one issue on a crowded plate, from the Iran talks to Russia’s aggressive moves in Ukraine to the civil war in Syria — all of which are competing for the administration’s attention. On Saturday, Afghans go to the polls to elect a successor to President Hamid Karzai; in three weeks, Mr. Obama flies to Asia to try to revive his strategic shift to that region.


“We have a huge agenda,” Mr. Kerry said, adding that his commitment to the peace process was “not open-ended.”


Mr. Kerry’s hands-on approach, penchant for reworking his itinerary on the fly and legendary stamina have helped cement the accord to eliminate Syria’s chemical arsenal. But in the Middle East, Mr. Kerry has confronted a much tougher challenge.


With officials and analysts in the region preparing post-mortems on his efforts — and some finding fault with how he brokered abortive talks on Israel’s promised release of Palestinian prisoners — the White House rushed to signal its support for Mr. Kerry.


At a meeting with his national security team on Friday, Mr. Obama referred to reports suggesting that the White House had reservations about Mr. Kerry’s approach, according to an aide in the room.


“I see a lot of senior officials quoted about Kerry and Middle East peace,” the aide quoted Mr. Obama as saying, “but I’m the most senior official, and I have nothing but admiration for how John has handled this.”


Resume Video


Until recently, the White House had largely left the peace process to Mr. Kerry. But last month, Mr. Obama met separately at the White House with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, to urge both to sign on to a framework that would guide negotiations toward a final agreement.


When that effort fell short, the White House authorized Mr. Kerry to offer the release of Jonathan J. Pollard, an American convicted in 1987 of spying for Israel, whose freedom Israel has long sought. As part of a quid pro quo, the talks would have been extended through 2015, and Israel would have gone ahead with the release of Palestinian prisoners and slowed down building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.


Aaron David Miller, a longtime Middle East peacemaker who is now at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said the injection of Mr. Pollard into the negotiation complicated matters for Mr. Kerry.


Mr. Miller said Mr. Kerry was also handicapped by his success in keeping a lid on leaks about the details of the talks over the last eight months. “The zone of silence masks significant, substantial advances on the substance, but he can’t talk about them,” Mr. Miller said.


Analysts in Israel, however, also said Mr. Kerry failed to dispel a perception on the part of Mr. Abbas that Israel’s release of 104 Palestinian prisoners would include Palestinian citizens of Israel. Mr. Netanyahu never agreed to that, saying it would require a separate cabinet decision because it raised sensitive questions of sovereignty.


“The seeds of this were sown at the very beginning,” an official involved in the talks said, on the condition of anonymity for fear of angering Mr. Kerry. “The gap is, what did each side hear from Kerry?”


For all that, some experts said Mr. Kerry was so committed to his Middle East initiative that it was more likely he would push for a change in diplomatic strategy, perhaps by offering an American peace plan, instead of simply walking away from the negotiations.


Robert M. Danin, a former American official involved in the Middle East now at the Council on Foreign Relations, said such a plan would be the last card Mr. Kerry has to play. But given how hard he has pushed this process, Mr. Danin said, “That suggests to me that he may be contemplating a pause but not abandonment of his peace efforts.”


Mr. Kerry, in fact, was careful to leave open the possibility that the United States would seek a course correction, not a pullback. The months he spent nurturing serious talks, he insisted, were not wasted because the two sides had narrowed their differences on some key issues.


On Sunday, American diplomats plan to meet with both Israelis and Palestinians in the region. Even so, American officials said Mr. Kerry told the two sides on Friday that they must shoulder the responsibility of breaking this impasse. Over the coming days and weeks, they said, Mr. Kerry will discuss the prospects for a new approach with members of his team and the White House.


Still, Mr. Kerry also noted that the United States was facing an array of foreign policy challenges that were preoccupying senior administration officials. And the White House made it clear that Mr. Obama’s patience for peacemaking was not boundless.


“Insofar as we find fault here, it is in the inability of either side to make tough decisions,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser. “For us to continue to invest that kind of bandwidth in the process, we’d need to see some investment from the parties.”


Michael R. Gordon reported from Rabat, and Mark Landler from Washington. Jodi Rudoren contributed reporting from Jerusalem





© Ari Bussel

Edited by John R. Houk

Palestinian Myths: Jerusalem is Ours

Dr. Amos Orkan’s 1991 vision for the Third Temple, which was intended to rise on the Temple Mount plaza. Photo by 'Dreamscapes: Unbuilt Jerusalem'. Fantasies of reviving the Western Wall, the sole remnant of the wall that supported the platform on which stood the ancient Temple, began to flourish with the conquest of East Jerusalem in the Six-Day War. Various proposals for construction in the Wall’s plaza piled up on the Jerusalem city engineer’s desk during the ensuing six years.


The Palestinian Authority President and the Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman (terrorist organization) and the head of Fatah (principle terrorist organization within PLO umbrella) Mahmoud Abbas delivered a Christian message full of downright lies pertaining to Israel, Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple Mount area. Renowned scholar David Bukay refutes the Arabs that call themselves Palestinians leader by laying out the historical facts. You can believe a lie and be damned or you can believe the truth and blessed.



JRH 12/26/13 (Hat Tip: Beowulf – ccpa Yahoo Group)

Please Support NCCR


Palestinian Myths: Jerusalem is Ours


Posted by Rachel Ehrenfeld

By David Bukay

December 25th, 2013 @ 12:35AM

American Center for Democracy


In his preposterous Christmas greeting, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, claimed: “Jesus was a Palestinian messenger.” He also used the opportunity to deny the right of the Jews and their State of Israel, to their 3,000 year-old capital city Jerusalem. Carried away by his efforts to delegitimize the Jews and Israel, Abbas went on to say, “Our prayers are with the…mosques and churches (added emphasis) … of Jerusalem which remind the world of the Arab identity of our occupied capital.”


Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor, rebuked Abbas’s “outrageous rewriting of Christian history,” suggesting “He should have read the Gospel before uttering such offensive nonsense.” Strangely, the Vatican did not rush to condemn Abbas’s outrageous declaration that Jesus (the Christian God) was a Palestinian (i.e. a Muslim, not a Jew).


However, we wish you a very happy celebration of the anniversary of the birth of the only Jewish settler whose right to call Bethlehem, home, has been never protested throughout the world (until now).


Rachel Ehrenfeld     

_  ___   ____    ____   ___  ___

Palestinian Myths: Jerusalem is Ours- Part I

By David Bukay*


This latest attack is part of the Palestinian effort to delegitimize the Jews rights for Israel and their 3,000-year-old capital city, Jerusalem.


There is the common saying: “A grain of truth is needed to make a mountain of lies believable.” However, this saying does not apply to Palestinian claims. However, they rely on this saying to help sell the absolute fabrications and distortions of claiming Jerusalem as part their made up historical lore. For it is hard for average people, international media, world public opinion, and states’ leadership to grasp and internalize the totality of nothing relating the Palestinians’ claims and pretentions.


The Palestinian legends and myths, however, are tightly tied to the development of an intense propaganda machinery of denial of any Jewish sanctity for Jerusalem, as if “Jerusalem has always been under Muslim sovereignty from time immemorial.” The Palestinians do not have any historical, religious, political, or cultural connection to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is not and never has been part of their history. The mosques erected on the Temple mount during the Umayyad Dynasty did not achieve any importance in other Muslim dynasties until the 20th century.


Yet, two important facts combined together can be clearly discerned: first, that for the Jewish diaspora, from 135 AD onward, the Land of Israel has never become a politically independent entity with a distinct identity as a nation; and, second, that Jerusalem was never the capital city of any empire or any independent regime or nation, and was not even ever an important city to any of the empires that controlled it besides the Jews. There have been only three recognized national, politically independent entities in the history of the Land of Israel: the First Jewish Kingdom, from the conquest of Canaan (1400 BCE – 586 BCE); the Second Jewish kingdom, until the end of the Bar Kochva revolt (538 BCE – 135 AD); and the State of Israel, since 1948. This also applies to Jerusalem, which had been the capital of the First and Second Jewish Kingdoms, and now the capital of the State of Israel.


Never bothered by the facts and well trained to twist them, Abbas (Abu-Mazen), on February 26, 2012, in Qatar’s International Conference on Jerusalem, accused Israel of Judaizing al-Quds, while obliterating its Palestinian character. Moreover, he declared that Israel is robbing Jerusalem of its historical and religious Palestinian character and actively pursuing this goal on three fronts: First, by changing the character and architectural structure of al-Quds from its cultural and historical Palestinian roots. Second, by employing processes of ethnic cleansing of Palestinian citizens and sites, begun in 1967, with unprecedented acceleration in the construction of settlements and the demolishing of Palestinian homes with their historical symbolism. Third, by impoverishing al-Quds, because throughout history it has always represented a center of thriving of the Palestinian people.


Jerusalem in Palestinian Propaganda


This theme of an old historical Palestinian Jerusalem that belongs solely to the old historical Palestinian people is a central theme in the mythical propaganda, which is based on pure lies, total fabrications and factual distortions repeatedly released by the Palestinians. According the Mufti of Jerusalem, Israel forges and falsifies the basic facts and history of Jerusalem which belongs solely to Islam and the Palestinians. Israel is said to steal the original Palestinian identity of Jerusalem and its cultural heritage. This theme is reiterated in the Palestinian media which claims Jerusalem to be the religious, political, and spiritual capital of Palestine. As such, Israel has no rights to Jerusalem — not religiously, not legally, not politically, and not historically. Everything in Jerusalem is Palestinian in its purest origin. Jerusalem has been the historical, religious, cultural, and scientific capital of the Palestinians from time immemorial, the center of the Islamic world, and the focus of world civilization.



The Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Imams frequently use lies and venomous libel terminology to deliver inflammatory sermons to incite its people. Israel is accused of acting relentlessly to destroy the city’s culture and history by erasing the city’s Arab, Islamic, and Christian historical monuments. Other accusations against Israel, referred to as “the occupation authority,” include “ethnic cleansing”; “Judaizing” of Jerusalem—replacing its Arab population with Jews; infesting Arab neighborhoods with super aggressive rats; and systematic distribution of addictive drugs to its Arab population. They claim that Arab Jebusite king Malkizedeq built Jerusalem, as the most glorious place in the world, the closest to the kingdom of Allah, that it was always populated by pure Arab Palestinians. There is nothing Jewish in the city whatsoever.  Moreover, they claim that any mention in the Bible to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a deliberate falsification.


Furthermore, archeological relics are said to deny Jewish history in Palestinian Jerusalem. Not only is there refutation of the Jewish Temple from an archaeological perspective, but Jerusalem as a whole is denied any Jewish roots. Dr. Marwan Abu-Khalaf, director of the Archaeological Institute at Al-Quds University argues that:


“The archaeological treasures in Jerusalem emphasize the depth of the city’s heritage and history; they emphasize its Arabness and refute the Israeli claims that it is a Jewish city… It is known that perhaps under every stone and in every corner, on every street and at every turn in Jerusalem there are relics. These relics say, ‘We are Arab, we are Muslim, we are Christian.’”


Another Palestinian scholar made the following claims:


“Israel not only steals the land, but also the history of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the capital of Arab civilization… Jerusalem is the religious, historical, cultural and scientific capital of the Palestinian people in particular and of the Arab nation in general. It is the pinnacle of civilizations of the entire world. When the Arab Jebusite king Malkizedeq built the city of Jerusalem, naming it Jebus and designating it the capital of his country six thousand years ago, none of the world’s capitals existed yet… The invaders who steal the city’s geography, are trying to also steal its history.”


He, who wishes to realize how Muslim scholars twist scientific truths and invent legends, is encouraged to read Dr. Marwan Abu Khalaf:


“The fadā’il al-Quds literature may have existed from the time of the Prophet and continued to be transmitted in the Umayyad and later Islamic periods… The Islamization of Jerusalem occurred in the first year A.H. (620 A.D.), the year when Allah ordered Muslims to face the city as their first Qibla, and when the night journey and ascension to heaven took place.”


Sheikh Kamal Rian of the Israeli Islamic Movement has taken an even more extreme approach, asserting that the al-Aqsa Mosque is more sacred than al-Medina’s because it is mentioned in the Qur’ān. It is the closest point between Earth and Heaven, providing the only direct connection and the entrance to heaven. The Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad in Mecca, and Muhammad ascended to Heaven in al-Aqsa.


Yet, the twisted facts reach the highest peak in the Palestinian claim that the al-Aqsa Mosque is the entire Jerusalem. Therefore, Jerusalem in its entirety is Islamic.


A collection of similar claims demonstrates the absurdity of the lies: Abraham was not a Jew; the Jews never lived in ancient Israel; the Jews never had any connection to Jerusalem; Jerusalem was never a Jewish city; there never was a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem; the Western Wall is not a Jewish holy site; the Tombs of Rachel and Joseph are actually Muslim sites.


Recently, a new trend cherishes Jerusalem’s (made up) place in the Palestinians’ collective national memory, thus imitating the two-thousand-year-old Jewish affirmation of allegiance to Jerusalem:  ”If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, O Jerusalem, let my tongue cleave to roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” (Psalms, 137:5-6).


To better indoctrinate the Arab/Muslim population, Palestinian television has produced a video clip saying: “Forget I my right arm; forget I my left arm; forget I the light of the eye and the cries of the songs — if I forget Jerusalem.” It is followed by the Friday sermon of the Palestinian minister for religious affairs: “Without Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, as it was along the entire history, there will be no peace.”


The Legendary Jewish Temple


Palestinian propaganda has always aimed at denying the Jewish Temple’s location in Jerusalem. The PA’s Mufti, ‘Ikrima Sabri, declared that the Jewish Temple was in Nablus or perhaps Bethlehem, and that al-Aqsa predates the Jewish antiquities. Arafat claimed that the Jews “consider Hebron to be holier than Jerusalem.” Indeed, Dennis Ross attributed much of the Camp David failure to Yasser Arafat, who not only repeated “old mythologies” but invented “a new one … [that] the Temple did not exist in Jerusalem, but in Nablus.” Arafat told Clinton: “I am a religious man, and I will not allow it to be written of me [in history] that I have … confirmed the existence of the so-called Temple underneath the mountain.” However, later on he went even further in his denial of Jewish history, saying that not only had the Jewish Temple never existed in Jerusalem, but that it had never existed anywhere in Palestine.


Sheikh Muhammad Husayn, the director of the al-Aqsa Mosque, asserted that the Jews “claim that the al-Aqsa Mosque was built over the ruins of the alleged Temple … This meant to erase the Islamic culture and to replace it with their alleged culture … This is a place for Muslims, only Muslims. There is no Temple here, only al-Aqsa Mosque and the Qubat al-Sakhrā‘ (Dome of the Rock).”


This denial strategy is exemplified by Saleh Rafat of the PLO Executive Committee:


“We revive the Palestinian heritage and cling to it in order to counter all of the attempts by the Israeli occupation to steal the national heritage and to falsify it with the claim that it is their heritage… Every part of our heritage in our land, they claim is their heritage – even the tunnels they are trying to dig beneath the al-Aqsa Mosque… The Israelis claim that they are seeking an alleged Temple.”


The denial of the Jewish Temple is typically expressed through the use of the word al-Maz’ûm (alleged). The main argument is that no proof of the Temple’s existence has ever been found. An editorial in al-Hayat al-Jadidah in December 2011 is indicative of this theme that the “Jewish Temple” is a big lie, a pure Jewish invention. Mahmud Abbas and all the heads of the PA leadership used the term “Alleged Temple” almost 100 times in the years 2011-2, with their ongoing campaign to deny and to reject any traces of Jerusalem’s Jewish history. Abbas has declared:


“Israel’s purpose is to achieve its black goals: destroying the al-Aqsa Mosque, building its ‘Alleged Temple,’ taking over the Muslim and Christian holy sites, and destroying Jerusalem’s institutions in order to empty it, uproot its residents, and continue its occupation and Judaization… all of Israel’s archeological digs and tunnels… will not change the reality of the city… and will not create a Jewish right based on fantasy and legends… There will be no peace, security, or stability unless the occupation will be evacuated from our holy city and the eternal capital of our state.”


On many other occasions he stated:


“Jerusalem only has Islamic and Christian history; Israel’s ‘Judaization’ is stealing Jerusalem’s cultural, human, and Islamic-Christian religious history… Israel is creating artificial heritage with a Jewish spirit at the expense of Jerusalem’s true and authentic identity, as an Arab, Islamic and Christian city.”


Likewise, Jamal Amar, an archaeologist at bir Zeit University, has denied the existence of an ancient Jewish Temple, calling it “myth” and using the word “the alleged temple.” He emphasized the occupation’s feverish attempts to find antiquities, as architectural testimony, or any other sort of proof to support their hectic efforts to rebuild the alleged Temple, but claimed that all of their findings were from the Arab and Islamic periods, especially the Umayyad and Abbasid period, up to the Ottoman period.


Similarly, PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habbash announced:


“Jerusalem is the key to peace, and Jerusalem can ignite a thousand and one wars. Unless the issue of Jerusalem is solved, so that it returns to its owners; unless Jerusalem will be Palestinian, as it was throughout history, the capital of the Palestinian state and the capital of the Palestinian people, there is no peace. There is no peace without Jerusalem… The term ‘war’ cannot be erased from the lexicon of this region as long as Jerusalem is occupied,… Jerusalem has to return to its owners. And we are its only owners.”


And Walid Awad, former Director of Foreign Publications of the PA Ministry of Information, stated: “The fact is that almost thirty years of excavations did not reveal anything Jewish… Jerusalem is not a Jewish city, despite the biblical myth implanted in some minds… This is the greatest historic crime of forgery.”


The following propaganda is constantly promoted on Palestinian television:


“There is a view that where Masjid al-Aqsa stands was the Holy of Holies of the fictitious Temple. This is merely an illusion. There is no remnant of it. It’s a myth. A story of no value… after 60 years of digging, they have found nothing at all. Not a water jug, not a coin, not any earthen vessel, no bronze weapons, no piece of metal, absolutely nothing of this myth, because it is a myth and a lie. This digging has not left a single meter unturned, but it has achieved absolutely nothing.”


`Ikrima Sabri, the PA Mufti of Jerusalem, reiterated the notion: “There is not even the smallest indication of the existence of a Jewish Temple…in the whole city there is not even a single stone indicating Jewish history.” Jarar al Qidwa, former advisor on educational affairs to Arafat, concurred: “Solomon’s Temple, I believe, was built by the Canaanites… when our Canaanite forefathers came to Palestine; they built the Temple … in Jerusalem.” Taysir Tamimi, PA chief religious official also agreed:


“I know of Muslim and Christian holy sites. I don’t know of any Jewish holy sites in it… Israel has been excavating since 1967 in search of remains of their Temple or their fictitious Jewish history.”


The Western Wall


Not surprisingly, the Palestinians claim that the Western wall has nothing to do with Judaism, and that the Jews refer to the Western Wall in a “false and fraudulent way,” because it is the al-Buraq Wall only, located in the Mughrabi Quarter. `Ikrima Sabri, the PA’s mufti, described the Western Wall as “just a fence belonging to the Muslim holy site” and repeated the oft-heard declaration that “there is not a single stone in the Wailing Wall relating to Jewish history.” It is said that Jews have no connection to any part of the Temple Mount, including the Western Wall, and that the al-Buraq Wall and its plaza are Muslim religious property. As such, the Jews cannot legitimately claim this wall, either religiously or historically.


In a study published by the PA Ministry of Information in November 2010, al-Mutawakil Taha wrote:


“The Zionist occupation falsely and unjustly claims that it owns this wall, which it calls the Western Wall or Kotel… this wall was never part of the so-called Temple Mount, but Muslim tolerance allowed the Jews to stand in front of it and weep over its destruction… no Muslim or Arab or Palestinian had the right to give up one stone of al-Buraq Wall or other religious sites.”


Israel Wishes to Destroy al-Aqsa


Israel’s actions in Jerusalem and archeological excavation near al-Aqsa are viewed as part of a satanic plot, an increasing Israeli madness aimed at destroying the al-Aqsa mosque in order to establish the alleged Temple, claim the Palestinians. They go on claiming Israel digs tunnels beneath as part of “building a Jewish city underground at the expense of the old city, and its historic and holy sites… The occupation continues to pursue the excavations until it reaches its grand and dangerous goal of destroying the mosque… The al-Aqsa Mosque and the archaeological artifacts, religious structures and holy sites it houses are all under a serious threat of collapse at any moment.”


The Palestinians fabricate stories they use to accuse Israel of a deliberate effort to destroy al-Aqsa and to erect the Jewish Temple in its stead. They go on to claim that Israel is constructing a bridge in order to allow more than 5,000 soldiers in armored forces to enter the platform of the al-Aqsa Mosque in their failed attempts to look for their Temple, which they falsely claim existed. This bridge can hold hundreds of soldiers, police officers and vehicles, strategically placed to allow Israeli forces to raid the al-Aqsa Mosque. Moreover, “Israel is stationing missile launchers in the Old City in occupied Jerusalem for bombarding al-Aqsa mosque with missile attacks. The Occupation has closed the city’s gates to Muslims and Christians and is making the city into a Jewish stronghold.”


For the Palestinians, the result is clear, as put by Yasser Arafat: “I will not agree to any Israeli sovereign presence in Jerusalem, and “there is nothing to negotiate about and compromise on when it comes to Jerusalem.” In 2000′s Camp David Convention, Arafat demanded sovereignty over “Jerusalem in its entirety, entirety, entirety.” He reiterated that “al-Quds is in the innermost of the feeling of our people and the feeling of all Arabs, Muslims, and Christians in the world.” Jerusalem has become the center of the Palestinian cause, a casus-belli that “no Palestinian can give up.”


* David Bukay is Professor of Middle East Studies at the School of Political Sciences, University of Haifa. He is the author of Muhammad’s Monsters (2004); Yasser Arafat, the Politics of Paranoia (2005); From Muhammad to Bin Laden (2007); Crossovers: anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism (2010), and has published numerous articles, in referee journals, books and the internet.


Copyright © 2013 | The American Center for Democracy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.