from October 1996
by Emanuel A. Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator
When Mohammed failed to convert the Jews to Islam, he ordered Moslems to turn their backs on Jerusalem and pray to Mecca. The Jewish city became a despised place for Islam. Neither Christians nor Moslems ever thought enough of Jerusalem to make it their capital../…until now.
Christianity, developed by Paul (Saul), and Islam, defined by Mohammed in the Koran in the 7th century both claimed supersedence over their Jewish root source. Both maintained that the Jews had abrogated G-d’s trust and, therefore in their opinion, did not deserve His Covenant. Both asserted that they were the rightful heirs to be G-d’s chosen and demanded the Jews disappear or merge with them. Not only did the Christians and Moslems NOT want Jerusalem as their holy city, but history demonstrates that they literally hated the very ground it stood on. This ground was steeped in holy Jewish history and could not be easily shed of its Jewishness, even through repeated conquest and murder of its Jews. David and Solomon, prophets and kings trod Jerusalem’s streets and such footprints are hard to erase.
Jerusalem was to be repeatedly captured, bound up and denigrated to obliterate the Jew’s right to the spiritual Covenant by these claimants. G-d’s judgement was to be set aside, according to the judgement of these two combatants who now demanded recognition as the (only) chosen people
Roman, Christian and Moslem Competition for Jerusalem
By 70 CE Rome had conquered Judea and Jerusalem, killed the Jews of fighting age, sold the women and children into slavery. Titus, the Roman Emperor ordered the Second Temple burned, destroyed all surroundings, and packed the soil with salt to prevent anything from growing and the return of the Jews. The state was renamed ‘Palestine’ (after the Philistines) to obliterate the Jew in Judea or the Israelite in Israel. Hadrian renamed Jerusalem ‘Aelia Capitolina’ after the defeat of Bar Kochba in 135 CE. Only the gods of Rome were to rule the ravaged land and Jerusalem’s holy status was to be no more for the Jews (the Hebrews).
In 610 CE Mohammed, based on his vision, offered his religious leadership to the Jews proclaiming he was the last prophet of G-d. For 19 months he ordered the direction of his followers’ prayers (the quibla) toward Jerusalem to woo the Jews. When they refused Mohammed’s offer, he and his army slaughtered the Jews of Medina. Mohammed used the trick of temporary truce, the Hudabaiya Treaty with the Jewish Koraish tribe, only to kill them all.
Recently, Arafat has told his people that he too was using Mohammed’s plan for the Koraish tribe as his (Arafat’s) plan for Israel. Mohammed turned the quibla of Moslem prayers to Mecca and insured that Jerusalem was not mentioned even once in the Koran. Jews speak of Jerusalem continually throughout the Bible and many times each day in prayer.
Mohammed died in 632 CE. Following Christian precedent, Moslems built a mosques and shrine on the Temple Mount, where the First and Second Jewish Temples stood, to show religious and secular superiority over the Jews. In 683 CE Caliph al Walid built an al Aqsa mosque (one of many called al Aqsa which mean ‘the farthest’) over a Christian church also built on the Jewish Temple Mount as a mark of supremacy. In 685-705 CE. Calif Abd-Malik of Damascus built the Dome of the Rock. Malik’s plan to acquire political/religious leadership of Islam as Mohammed’s heir failed as the Moslems continued face toward Mecca to pray, rejecting Jerusalem as Mohammed mandated. It was the construction of these buildings, as a sign of conquest in the 7th century that the Palestinians now claim as their third holiest site after Mecca and Medina.
The El Buraq Myth
After Mohammed’s death, a myth was created which was rejected by serious Islamic scholars. According to this myth, one night as he slept Mohammed flew on a white horse called el Buraq which had the face and breasts of a woman, the tail of peacock and great wings to the farthest place, al Aqsa, at the edge of Medina. (Al Aqsa in Jerusalem wasn’t built until 683 CE, 51 years after the death of Mohammed in 632 CE) He leaped skyward to Seventh Heaven on el Buraq where Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses and Jesus blessed him as the last prophet of G-d. Ostensibly Mohammed absorbed the older religions of Judaism (The Root) and Christianity.
He claimed descendance from the Jewish prophets, as the foundation for the new religion of Islam. This myth of his one second night ride to al Aqsa (where el Buraq was to have left a hoof print in the rock on the Jewish Temple Mount) is the basis for current Moslem Arab claims on the Jewish Temple of Solomon and the city of Jerusalem. As in the case with most religious based myths, the story grew in the retelling, finally to become unquestioned fact.
Only since 1967 have the Moslems averred that Jerusalem was their third holiest city. The Hamas Islamic Resistance Movement in their terrorist Leaflet #65, Oct. 11, 1990, uses the el Buraq story to urge their Moslem followers to violence in order to show the West their devotion to the very place that Mohammed could not abide. In 1099 CE Christian Crusaders captured Jerusalem after surging in religious euphoria across Europe and into the Middle East, slaughtering Moslem and Jew alike.
In 1189 CE Saladin, a Moslem Kurd, captured Jerusalem from the Christian Crusaders. Earlier the Romans had used Caesaria on the Mediterranean Sea as their administrative capital of Judea; the Christians favored Acre as their regional capital and Saladin chose Ramle as his Moslem capital of the region. None found anything religiously compelling about Jerusalem.
Today, seeing the Jews return to rebuild their only capital, is an intolerable offense to those who now lay claim as the new (and only) chosen people.
In 1249 the Moslem Sultan al-Kamil thought so little of Jerusalem that he gave it away as a “gift” to the Roman Emperor, Fredrick II as thanks for an alliance against the competing Moslem ruler al-Malik. The Sultan remarked, “I have ceded nothing but ruined churches and wrecked buildings.”
Frederick was excommunicated by the reigning Pope for accepting Jerusalem, demonstrating that the Church also had no interest in an earthly Jerusalem. Islam gave away nothing it valued to the Christians and the Holy See of Christianity rejected it as a gift of no value.
ISLAM’S “THIRD HOLIEST CITY” Only Since 1967
The idea that Jerusalem was Islam’s Third Holiest City would have enraged Mohammed as blasphemous. Giving away Jerusalem to Fredrick II is a statement that this was a place which Mohammed considered impure and not holy for Islam. However, the Koran mandates that all lands conquered and later lost by Islam must be retaken. It seemed that the consistent goal of both Christians and Moslems was to be “G-d’s newly chosen” via territorial facts by capturing and occupying the city of Jerusalem. Denied the right to petition G-d directly, they tried to create facts on the ground.
In 19 years of Jordan’s illegal Moslem rule of North , East and South Jerusalem from the 1948 War, only Pakistan and Great Britain recognized Jordanian rule. Jordan vented its hatred against the Jews by desecrating 58 synagogues, turning them into stables, using headstones from the Mount of Olives Jewish cemetery for urinals, building roads and the Intercontinental Hotel over graves. (An emergency recovery of the headstones was recently mounted before the area was to be turned over to Arafat as part of Oslo.)
Jerusalem, a city so beautiful in the times of King David and King Solomon it was said to have 9 parts of the world’s 10 parts of beauty, was repeatedly left in a ruins with destroyed churches and synagogues. In recent times no condemnation was heard from the West, as each competed to convince the Arab Muslim oil owners of their fidelity by betraying the Jewish State time and again. False claims against Jerusalem by Arabs are supported by the Christian West, history and facts notwithstanding.
When the Arabs saw that the propaganda of religious claims played well in the West, they re-wrote history as fast as the revisions could be thought up. Moslem scholars created the fictitious history of a non-existent ‘Arab’ Palestinian people where, until 1948, only Jews were known as Palestinians. Before the Jews came in with jobs and health benefits, the sparse Arab population was a mix of Jordanians, Egyptians, Syrians, Iraqis, with much of the land leased to peasant farmers by Arab absentee land owners. To be called Palestinian was a pejorative, as it previously applied only to the despised Jews.
In Arabic, their own tongue, they prove the Jewish claim to the land through their superstitious habit of NOT changing the name of a city, town or village. When asked, they will point out a village with an Arabized Hebrew name and claim ancient roots where there are none. The continually flowing migration pattern was clearly demonstrated when oil became pricey and Moslems went on the move in the millions to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the other Gulf Emirates for high paying jobs.
After the Gulf War another migration began. This time the ‘new’ Palestinians were ejected from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia into Jordan as a dangerous element, a fifth column not to be trusted. So again a flood of Arabs were transferred mostly into Jordan. The present Arab claim against Jerusalem is merely the part allowed to show, for the real struggle is much deeper. While neither Christianity nor Islam can storm the heavens petitioning G-d to change His will, neither can they allow the Jewish religion to re-establish itself in Israel. A thriving Jerusalem flaws the claim that the Jews have been abandoned by G-d. The mere existence of a flourishing Jerusalem again under Jewish law and religion diminishes the claims and status of both Christianity and Islam to be the rightful heirs to G-d’s Covenant.
In 1967 Moslem clerics, the Waqf, were given control of the Temple Mount by Moshe Dayan. They built cement prayer pads over foundations of Jewish origin to separate them from the Jewish essence beneath – which they consider unholy and impure. From 1948 to 1967 few Islamic religious leaders of high status visited Jerusalem. A pilgrimage to Mecca is called a haj allowing the sojourner to put the honorific Haj before his first name. Not so Jerusalem. A visit to Jerusalem was called a zira, a place for a traveler to stop on his way to somewhere else.
September 23, 1991, Yasser Arafat, who calls himself the President of Palestine, demanded Jerusalem for a capital of a yet to be established state shown on PLO and PNC (Palestine National Council) maps to be encompassing all Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The major TV networks interviews continually exalt this man who supported Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, calling him a “man of peace”.
September 13, 1993, immediately after signing the Declaration of Principles on the White House lawn, Yasser Arafat proclaimed, “We will have a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital.” He has repeated his intentions many times since in print and on television. May 10, 1994 in Johannesburg, South Africa he was secretly tape-recorded while speaking in a Moslem mosque. He declared in Arabic: “The Jihad Islamic Holy War] will continue. Jerusalem is not for the Palestinian people, it is for all the Muslim people. You are responsible for Palestine and for Jerusalem before me [applause], the land which had been blessed for the whole world. Now after this agreement you have to understand our main battle../.. Our main battle is Jerusalem. The cherished shrine of the Moslems. ../…for this I was insisting before signing [the May 4 Cairo Agreement] to have a letter from them, the Israelis, that Jerusalem../..has to be under discussion and not to say the permanent State of Israel! No! It is the permanent State of Palestine! [applause] ../…In this letter I had insisted to mention the Christian holy sacred place before the Islamic holy sacred place because I have to be faithful to the agreement between Caliph Omar and the Patriarch Sophronius [In 638 Sophronius, the Christian bishop of Jerusalem, surrendered Jerusalem to Omar, the 2nd successor to Mohammed. A condition of that treaty was: no Jews would be allowed to live in Jerusalem! and Omar referred to the city as “Aelia” for the old Roman name of “Aelia Capitolina”] ../…./..You have to come and to fight and to start the Jihad to liberate of Jerusalem. ../…I was hesitating [referring to the May 4 signing in Cairo of the Gaza/Jericho withdrawal agreement], because I was insisting to mention Jerusalem. I want this promise from the co-sponsors [U.S. Sec. of State] Christopher and [Russian Foreign Minister] Kozyrev and [Egyptian President] Mubarak. And this has been done. ../…./..This capital is not their capital. It is our capital. It is your capital. It is the first shrine of the Islam and the Moslems../…./.. Sooner or later we will pray in Jerusalem together. This agreement [the Hudabaiya Treaty] (is not) more than the agreement which had been signed between our prophet Mohammed and Koraish. [The 10 year agreement called the Hudabaiya Treaty, with the Koraish allowed Mohammed to pray in Mecca. When Mohammed grew stronger, two years later, he abrogated the agreement, slaughtered the Koraish and conquered Mecca.] Onward to victory, onward to Jerusalem! We will enter the mosque as they have entered it before.”
When in power, Prime Minister Rabin, Foreign Minister Peres and Deputy Foreign Minister Beilin excused Arafat’s bald statements of intent, denied secret agreements, lied about the Jerusalem letter, and have since been exposed signing away portions of the Jewish patrimony to the Arabs and to the Vatican. Yossi Beilin arranged to have Arafat fly the Palestinian flag over the Temple Mount. They have placed Jerusalem on the negotiating table for the first time ever in Oslo 1993. The lie has since been exposed, although the present Likud government is being pressed by Clinton to keep the Peres agreement.
To say the Arabs want Jerusalem merely because the Jews have it, would be simplistic but true. The Catholic Popes have long denied Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a city of peace, except for those who seek to conquer and divide. History shows Jerusalem’s many conquerors sought only to dominate, and thereby demonstrate their military, political and religious superiority over the Jews and their capital. When either Islam or Christianity had military control of the city, they denied the other religious freedom../…and both denied it to the Jews.
Sadly, the two branches which spring from the root stock of Judaism feel it is necessary to destroy their own parent so that one or the other may claim the Covenant. If the Jews cooperate in their own destruction, how will Christianity and Islam go about defeating each other for G-d’s Covenant?
Once having won, how will the winner manage to present his claim to G-d?
Revised and reprinted from The Jerusalem Post of 25 September 1996