Bari Weiss, writing for The Wall Street Journal reports that Sheik Tamimi has said that Jerusalem “is solely ‘an Arab and Islamic city and it has always been so.’” Here are two excerpts from the article:
Jews have no history in the city of Jerusalem: They have never lived there, the Temple never existed, and Israeli archaeologists have admitted as much. Those who deny this are simply liars. Or so says Sheik Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, chief Islamic judge of the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian leaders insist that Jews are transplants in the region, nothing more than white European colonialists. This denial has formed the foundation for their argument that Jerusalem should become Palestine's capital. This is why the previous mufti of the Palestinian Authority, Sheik Ikrama Sabri, dismisses the Western Wall as "just a fence." Yasser Arafat classified it, bizarrely, as "a Muslim shrine." As Saeb Erekat, Arafat's chief negotiator, said to President Clinton at Camp David in 2000: "I don't believe there was a temple on top of the Haram [holy site], I really don't."
Another Palestinian, Shamekh Alawneh, a lecturer in modern history at Al Quds University, said that “the Jews invented their connection to Jerusalem. It has no historical roots.” According to Alawneh, “the Jews are engaging in an attack on history, theft of culture, falsification of facts, erasure of the truth, and Judaization of the place.”
Jews today who live in the modern state of Israel have a strong connection with Jerusalem through the early Israelites who lived in that place. From the days David conquered the city 3,000 years ago until now, ancient Israelites and modern Jews have declared that Jerusalem is “the City of the LORD, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 60:14).
This is the reason Israelites of old and modern Jews can say with confidence:
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither! Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy! (Psalm 137:5-6).
The fact is, that both Palestinians and Israeli Jews have roots in Jerusalem. Palestinians lived in Jerusalem before the formation of the state of Israel and many Jews lived there even before Israel became a nation. The issue facing Palestinians and Jews is how to live together and still allow Jerusalem to be a holy place for Jews, Moslems, and Christians.
As long as this animosity between the two groups exists, there will be no peace in Jerusalem. The Jewish people are willing to recognize the national ambitions of the Palestinians but Palestinians must also recognize that Israel exists as a nation and that it also has a claim on Jerusalem. This is easier said than done, as the many years of hostility between Palestinians and Jews have demonstrated.
A prayer for Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels. For the sake of family and friends, Peace be within you” (Psalm 122:6-8).
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
Tags: Jerusalem, Zion