« Greenway's Fading Memory | Main | New Six-Day War Resource »

May 30, 2007

"What temple?"

Temple Mount archeology.jpe
Columns from the Middle Ages damaged by Palestinian construction on the Temple Mount/photo by Zachi Zweig

In the Los Angeles Times today, Walter Reich remarks on the Palestinians' ongoing denial of archeological finds relating to ancient Jewish life in the holy land:

But [the King Herod tomb] episode of [Palestinian] archeological denial pales in comparison with the decades of denial in the case of Jerusalem's Temple Mount, which is known to Arabs as Haram al Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary.

In 1930, when Britain administered the area, the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem noted that the Temple Mount's "identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute." But at the Camp David summit in 2000, Yasser Arafat insisted that a Jewish temple had existed not on the Temple Mount but in Nablus. And an Arafat aide, Saeb Erekat, said, to President Clinton's amazement, "I don't believe there was a temple on top of the Haram, I really don't." Mahmoud Abbas, the current Palestinian Authority president, later agreed with Erekat, as did the mufti of Jerusalem. Arafat later went further and denied the temple existed anywhere in Israel, the West Bank or Gaza, including Nablus.

Today, denial of the temple's existence has become a mainstay of Palestinian rhetoric. "They say that the temple was here," a Palestinian historian scoffed. "What temple …? What archeological remains?" And temple denial has turned into temple removal. During the last few years, Palestinians have discarded remains of the first and second temples.

Reich, however, then steps on shaky ground when he asserts:

This absurd Palestinian denial of Jewish roots in the land has been matched on the part of Israelis who deny that there was a large and long-indigenous population of Arabs in Palestine when the Zionist movement vastly expanded the number of Jews in the area more than 100 years ago. Fortunately, the denial of Palestinian history has been utterly discredited among nearly all Israelis.

So, while "nearly all Israelis" accept Palestinians' connection to the land, Palestinian "historians" and the highest level of Palestinian officialdom reject the Jews' ancient ties to the land. How exactly does one "match" the other?

The false parity is again apparent in the bland, equalizing sub-headline:

How Israelis and Palestinians put their own spin or archeology to claim an ancestral homeland

Posted by TS at May 30, 2007 05:24 AM


Ease up, fellas. It is a news feature,after all, and not a Zionist diatribe. And those medieval columns pictured post-date the Second Temple by centuries. Probably Byzantine. So Camera's point is what exactly? I also have heard many settlers in Samaria and Judea repeatedly deny the existence of any indigenous Arabs that were considered Palestinians. No such thing as a Palestinains here, they claim. It is an existential dilemma for all concerned.

Posted by: pondering jude at May 30, 2007 10:05 AM

No, not Byzantine but definitely Roman, just the style of Herod. And as one of "those", (settlers, you know), we don't deny the existence of any indigenous Arab population for after all, unlike our left-wing opponents, we really live in, around and among them so we know they are there. We do dispute the reality of a separate Palestinian nationalist identity that existed except as a reaction to Zionism. Take away the Jews, there are no Palestinians, just Arabs, or Druze, or Beduin, or any other minority which has lived in the Land of Israel on occupied land taken from the Jews.

Posted by: Yisrael Medad at May 31, 2007 12:36 AM

I appreciate hearing your thoughtful comments, pondering jude. I also feel you're not showing enough concern for the gravity of the situation..................You admit yourself, it's a "news" feature, not Sunday Styles. The writer deceived, and he did so blatantly. When reporting on the wrong and immoral behavior of one of the parties, he declares there to be parity. He then contradicts himself, and all for the sake of some faux parity to maybe sound more intellectual than he really is, or what the reporting required...............Do you think it'll be under or over a million LA Times readers who read this and feel that Israel commits just as many dastardly deeds as their foes? I think it'll be under a million, but it'll still be a lot. How can the fellas at CAMERA or anywhere be put at ease about this news?...............Did you mean to type "anti-" before Zionist diatribe?...............If you're right about the columns, then you'd be validating the CAMERA staff who published the caption along with the photo...The "probably Byzantine" is cute...............CAMERA's point is restated in their last line. The "false parity" and disintellectual "equalizing sub-headline" a major American newspaper no less...That's pretty decent media analysis, especially when conventional thinking is that mainstream Amemrican press don't tarnish Israel's image................There's a difference between denying the existence of any indigenous Arabs in Palestine and denying the existence of any indigenous Arabs in Palestine that were considered Palestinians...............There's some nuance, especially if you know some history...............Also, "repeatedly"? If I heard many settlers say such things the first time, I wouldn't have stuck around for the encore. I'd grab my nikon and high-tail it back to the tour bus...............Just to wrap up on your final points. The nomenclature of "Palestinian" is a verboten topic in the mainstream press, and even in most fringe press, where both would consider it un-PC and an invitation for trouble. It makes for good debate among intellectuals, though...............Though you meant something different with your words, there's very much an existential dilemma among many Palestinians today. It's very complicated and it will likely be unspoken of for several generations.

Posted by: Maven at May 31, 2007 04:33 AM

You might want to contact Dr. Asher Kaufman in Jerusalem about documenting Palestinian destruction of the Temple site. Dr. Kaufman has researched the Temple Mount for the last 46 years, and has been able to precisely place the exact location of the Temple. His slides, taken over a period of several decades, show indisputable evidence of Palestinian tampering with historical evidence.

Posted by: Marvin Koch at March 31, 2013 04:33 PM

Guidelines for posting

This is a moderated blog. We will not post comments that include racism, bigotry, threats, or factually inaccurate material.

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)