On Monday, a Palestinian media outlet claimed that Jews on the Tremple Mount, the holiest place on earth for Jews, were “desecrating” the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which was built on the spot where the ancient temples of Israel stood, by doing one thing:
Palestine Live, referring to Jews praying as performing “Talmudic rituals,” tweeted, “A group of Israeli Jewish settlers desecrated today the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied #Jerusalem to perform Talmudic rituals inside its courtyards.”
For the Palestinians, denying the historicity of the Temple Mount and the existence of the two ancient temples that stood on the Temple Mount is a consistent mission. The Jerusalem Post noted in October 2017, “…Wakf bulldozers illegally ascended the Temple Mount in 1999 to surreptitiously remove thousands of tons of ancient soil to make way for a subterranean mosque …”Archaeologist Dr. Gabriel Barkay noted, “Temple denial started in the 1990s, even though the Islamic Wakf itself in the 1920s and ’30s issued booklets which were given to visitors of the Temple Mount in which they said the existence of the Temples is beyond any doubt … It was accepted and in the Islamic literature through the generations there is a plethora of mentions of Solomon’s Temple and the Temple of the Jews in Jerusalem, so it is very strange that they deny it now.”
Mosaic Magazine reported in June 2018 that the Temple Mount Sifting Project, which attempts to recover artifacts from these areas, explained:
[T]he Muslim waqf [has] move[d] the remaining mounds of soil that were originally excavated in 1999 and the early 2000s, along with the material we have been sifting. This material contains a huge number of artifacts from all periods of the history of the Temple Mount, including the First and Second Temple periods. . . . Yet, . . . illegally, the waqf, with dozens of volunteers and workers, carried out excavation work [and] earth and stone clearance on the Temple Mount. . . .
Stones were collected [from the mounds] and used to build terraces and little walls to outline new walkways. . . . [T]here are four places where the waqf not only “cleaned” the mounds on the surface, but yet again dug into their interiors. This was clearly [done to] show who is in control, and a message from the waqf to the world that they don’t need permission from Israel to do anything on the Temple Mount, and that no one can stop them. The video from last week also showed ancient slabs being sorted and removed from the mounds. Who knows what else was discovered, and what else we won’t be able to study from this unsupervised work. . . .
As recently as December 2016, Barack Obama abstained from a United Nations Security Council resolution denying the Jewish claim to the Temple Mount. As The Washington Free Beacon noted, “The U.N. Security Council voted 14-0 on Resolution 2334 on Dec. 23, 2016, to demand a halt to settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, deeming both areas to be illegally occupied by Israel. East Jerusalem is home to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, a Jewish holy site.”
Because the United States did not vote against the resolution, it passed. David Keyes, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman, said on CNN:
Well, we have ironclad information, frankly, that the Obama administration really helped push this resolution and helped craft it, from sources internationally and from sources in the Arab world, and it’s really an unfortunate legacy, kind of last minute jab at Israel that actually distances peace . . . We have full confidence that the information is accurate. This resolution is shameful and actually pushes peace farther away.