A Palestinian “expert” appeared on official PA television, repeating a libelous claim that has become the battle-cry of terrorists. The “expert” managed to fit several other false claims into his few minutes in the spotlight including misidentifying the Muslim building that stands on top of Solomon’s Temple.
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), a media watchdog that focuses on Palestinian anti-Israel propaganda, reported on the Arabic language program that was broadcast last month on the official Palestinian television network. The program was an interview featuring Expert on international law Dr. Ibrahim Al-Rabi, who was described as an “expert on international law.”
Official PA TV reporter: “There is construction work taking place under the Al-Aqsa Mosque to build the alleged Temple of Solomon…”
Expert on international law Dr. Ibrahim Al-Rabi: “Regarding this [Western] wall that the Jews claim is the remains of the Temple of Solomon – it must be understood that UNESCO has said that this wall has no connection to Jews, but is rather an Islamic heritage. In other words, it is subject to Palestinian rule and the Jews have no right to it.”
Unfortunately, Dr. Al-Rabi’s claim concerning the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is accurate. UNESCO has indeed passed several resolutions claiming that there is no connection, historical or religious, between the Jewish people and their holiest site.
Dr. Al-Rabi’s claim is, however, erroneous regarding a few points. The claim that the Temple Mount has any significance to Islam is inaccurate and deeply insulting to some branches of Islam. Jerusalem only took on any significance in Islam in the late 8th century when the Bedouin Muslims prevented the Damascus Muslims from making Haj (pilgrimage) to Mecca. As an alternative destination for Haj, the Damascus Muslims decided on Jerusalem, adding a Hadith (oral commentary) shifting the scene of Muhammad’s Night Journey to Jerusalem in order to justify their decision.
The source of the Muslim holiday of “Isra” (journey) and “Mi’raj” (ascension, literally ‘ladder’) and the entire Muslim claim to Jerusalem as a holy site is based on a story in the Quran. According to the Quran, Muhammad traveled from Saudi Arabia to “Al-Aqsa” (the far mosque). From there, he ascended to Heaven, returning to Earth the next day.
Dr. Al-Rabi is also mistaken about the Muslim structures on the Temple Mount. Al-Aqsa is the silver domed mosque on the southern end of the Temple Mount compound. The site of Solomon’s Temple is now covered by a shrine (not a mosque) with a gold dome, called Qubbat al-Sakhrah by the Arabs.
PMW described this claim of Israeli construction under the Temple Mount as “one of the most lethal recurring Palestinian Authority libels.”
“The PA regularly claims that Israel excavates under the Temple Mount, thereby endangering the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” PMW stated. “Many Palestinian terrorists who murdered Israelis have explained that they killed in defense of the Al-Aqsa Mosque…Palestinian Media Watch has documented the dissemination of this libel for more than a decade. Hamas too has repeated it for years.”