Is this the truth?
I have a book published in MDCCCLXIV (1864). This book written by a Christian Scholar says the following, about the Muslims in the Holy land in his time. In view of the present Intifada it seems little has changed.
"They seem to be wholly absorbed in their devotions, and manifest a power of isolation and abstraction quite surprising.
That is the result of habit and education; small children imitate it to perfection. There is certainly an air of great solemnity in their mode of worship, and, when performed by a large assembly in the mosques, or by a detachment of soldiers in concert, guided in their genuflections by an imaum or dervish, who sings the service, it is quite impressive. I have seen it admirably enacted by moonlight on the wild banks of the Orontes, in the plain of Hamath, and the scene was something more than romantic. But, alas! it was by as villanous a set of robbers as could be found even in that lawless region.
You think, then, that this solemn ceremony is mere hollow-hearted hypocrisy?
Not exactly that; at least not necessarily
so, nor in all cases. I would be glad to believe there was ordinarily any
corresponding moral and religious feeling connected with this exterior
manifestation of devotion. The Moslems themselves, however, have no such
idea. They are rather afraid of any one who is especially given to prayer
- their prayers, I mean. They have a proverb to this effect: "If your neighbour
has made the pilgrimage to Mecca once, watch him; if twice, avoid his society;
if three times, move to another street." And, certainly, no one acquainted
with the people will feel his confidence in an individual increased by
the fact that he is particularly devout."
"The Land and the Book" by W.M. Thomson. With wood cut illustrations in colour" Printed in 1864.
WOODCUT OF JERUSALEM FROM THE MOUNT OF OLIVES
Check out these photos. The first photo was taken in 1936 before the Eretz Israel (Land of Israel) was declared a State, and the national home of the Jews. After having been in the hands of the Ottoman Turks a muslim nation for hundreds of years. On December, 11th 1917 General Allenby made his official entry into Jerusalem by the Jaffa Gate. It was through this gate that in 637 CE, that the Caliph Omar entered Jerusalem after taking it from the western (Roman) world, and the muslims walked away without a fight.
It was not until 1948 that Israel was to become a State, so let us look at the false claim that Al Aqsa is the 3rd holiest site of Islam.
The photo below was taken in 1936
As you can see from this photo the
Aqsa Mosque is not in very good condition, the dome is in a state of
disrepair, despite having been in Muslim hands for centuries. From
1291 - 1517 CE the Temple Mount was in the hands of the Turks, this was
known as the Marmaluke period. This was followed by a period
from 1517 - 1917 when the Ottoman Turks were in control of the Temple Mount,
and the Dome of the Rock as well as the Al Aqsa Mosque.
This photo also taken in 1936
shows the Structures from the Marmeluke period, in front of the Moghrabi
Gate, near the entrance to the Temple Mount. You can see the
of the Rock in the background, also in a state of disrepair.
If these buildings had been so important to the Muslims, when they had control
over the area, one would have expected them to take care of them.
This photo of the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque taken in 1969 after the establishment of the Jewish State, the muslims suddenly began to show an interest in the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque which had previously been in a state of disrepair. You can see that both domes have now been given a silver coating. More recently the domes have been given a gold coat.
It is quite clear from these photos that the Muslims did not really take an interest in Jerusalem or the Temple Mount, and only began to call it Haram El Sharif, and Al Quds after the Jews began to return to the land and began to restore it.
On June 30, 1920, the very first British High Commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel, a Jew, arrived in Jerusalem to assume his duties. He was dressed in white from head to toe, even wearing a white helmet. Samuel became the first Jew to exercise any real political authority in the Holy Land for more than 2500 years, the last being King Zedekiah in 587 BCE.
In 1936, there was an outburst of fury led by the Arab leader of Jerusalem. Britain sent a Royal Commission headed by Lord Peel to study the Holy Land problem. The Peel Commission recommended the partition of Palestine between Jew and Arab. The Jews accepted their findings, but the Arabs would not hear of it. Finally Great Britain issued a White paper to appease the Arabs, who represented the vast majority of Middle East peoples May, 17 1939. The storm clouds of World War II were gathering very quickly over Europe, and England didn't want to fight both Nazis and Moslems.
The White Paper promised that Palestine
as it was then called would become an Arab state with a Jewish minority
limited to 30 percent of the population. Jewish immigration
and the right of Jews to own land in Palestine, would be limited, despite
the Balfour Declaration, which had been issued on November 2, 1917, which
"His Majesty's Government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this objective, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done that shall prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
This was approved by various allied leaders, including US President Woodrow Wilson.
In 1929 many Jews were killed by the Arabs at the western wall in Jerusalem. A rumour went out that the Jews were plotting to destroy the Dome of the Rock and the Mosque of Aqsa in order to construct their own temple. Also there were religious problems, and economic and social fears.
In 1939 the Germans invaded Poland and World War II began. In spite of their conflict with Britain, the Palestinian Jews determined to side with the allies against the axis. David Ben-Gurion declared: "We shall fight the White Paper as if there were no war; we shall fight the war as if there were no White Paper." And they did.
Over 130,000 Israelis enlisted in the army, many Jews served as spies behind enemy lines for Great Britain. Moshe Dayan lost his eye during British war activities against Syria in the forties. But the Arab leadership, which had been favoured by the White Paper sided with Hitler. Their Jerusalem leaders went to Germany to collaborate with the Nazis.
In 1947 the Exodus event took place. It began when a refuge ship, purchased in America and renamed Exodus 1947 headed toward Europe during the month of July. It arrived at the coast of France, the Exodus was a 4,000 ton wooden river boat, it picked up 4,554 Jewish refugees, and began the journey to Palestine. British ships soon spotted it and attempted to sink it for violating the White Paper law. However, the ship made it to the Haifa harbour. The 4,554 refugees were arrested by the British, put on three prison ships, and herded back to sea again, dropping an anchor back at a French harbour. But this time the Jews refused to leave the ship and they went on a hunger strike. This tragedy made world headlines. In desperation, Great Britain decided to scrap their White Paper policy and asked the UN to partition Palestine between Arab and Jew. This also marked the sixth and final aliyah returns, which prepared for the new State of Israel. Aliyah means "to go up". It can refer to one being called forward to read from the Torah in a synagogue, and it is also used as a term for those returning to Jerusalem in the holy land of Israel.
On Nov. 29, 1947 by a vote of 33 to thirteen (ten abstentions) the United Nations General Assembly passed the resolution to partition Palestine. The following day Arab hositilities broke out. At this time the Jews were regarded as Palestinians.
At sunrise on May 14, Great Britain's flag, the Union Jack, was hauled down from its staff over the Government House in Jerusalem. The presiding British High Commissioner, Sir Allen Gordon Cunningham, then left the Holy Land for the last time to a seventeen-gun salute. The thirty year British rule was ended.
At 4:00 pm on the fifth day of Iyar, 5708, the fourteenth day of May, 1948 Israel was declared a State. In Jerusalem, over 100,000 Jews listened by radio to the Tel Aviv ceremonies, unable to attend them, because they were cut off, and surrounded by Arab armies. At 5:00 pm on the same day in New York, a special emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly was held to consider the war clouds of the Middle East which would unleash their fury at 6:00 New York tie (midnight in Palestine). They had one hour to do something. Suddenly an amazing and totally unexpected news bulletin from Washington DC, was received at the UN. President Harry Truman had just recognised the new Jewish State. His message read as follows:
"This Government has been informed that a Jewish State has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the Provisional Government thereof. The United States Government recognises the Provisional Government the 'de facto' authority of the New State of Israel."On May 15, 1948, Israel was invaded by Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. This pitted against the tiny newly formed State, some 45 million Arabs against 64,000 Jews. They closed in from the north, south, and east, and Israel's back was to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. The Arab soldiers outnumbered the Jews 40 to one, in population, 100 to 1 in equipment, 1,000 to one, in area, 5,000 to one. Just prior to the war, British Field Marshal Montgomery visited Palestine and predicted that it would take the Arabs just eight days to drive the Jews into the sea. Their land was awkward and difficult to protect, it was long and narrow with 600 miles of land frontiers, all bordering on hostile Arab states.
Three days later, on May 18, Russia recognised Israel. So for the first time since September 8, CE 70, the Holy Land by official Gentile action belonged to the Jews.
The planned allied Arab attack was very simple. From the south, Egypt sent two 5000 man brigades to sweep up the Negev, one making for Tel Aviv, the other for Jerusalem. From the north Lebanese, Syrian and Iraqi armies would smash through Galilee, sweep into Haifa, and head straight for Tel Aviv. From the east, Jordan would send 10,000 men to occupy the West Bank, capture the Old City of Jerusalem, and lay siege to the New City.
The Israeli army had only 10,000 rifles, each with 50 rounds of ammo, 4 ancient artillery pieces, and 3,600 sub-machine guns. The situation seem hopeless for Israel. But the different attitudes of the opposing armies and not their size or strength determined the outcome. To the Arabs the name of the game was expansion and revenge, but to the very desperate Jews it was sheer survival. As the war continued Israel's goal first of defending every Jewish settlement in the path of the invading armies, second, to create a navy to lift the blockade and bring in men, munitions, and immigrants by way of the sea; third, to lift the siege of Jerusalem; and fourth, to take the offensive and save Israel. As the war continued, they were successful in accomplishing all four goals. Banners which contained the words of Psalm 137:5 "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning." were stretched across the jeeps used in the rescue of Jerusalem.
Israel launched a counter offensive. After intense fighting from May 15 to June 11, a four-week truce was effected by the United Nations. Israel was able to take advantage of a lull in the fighting to secretly purchase huge amounts of war weapons from Chechoslavkia. When hositilities broke out out again on July 9, Israel simply stomped the Arabs. On July 18, hostilities again ceased.
On October 15, the final phase of the war began, this time centering in the Sinai. Again the newly supplied Israeli troops simply over ran their Egyptian enemies. On February 24, 1949, the War of Independence ended. The tiny nation of Israel had not only survived, but found herself much strengthened. But a costly price was paid for the victory, the lives of 6,000 Jews, approximately 1 percent of the total population were lost.
As a result of her War of Independence,
Israel gained 23 percent more territory than had been allotted to her by
the 1947 partition plan. This territory was the spoils of war, the land which Israel
took back from Palestinian hands, was legitimately hers, by Divine Fiat, and by
purchase. The land on the so called West bank was not
only promised to Abraham, but it is legitimately part of the land of Israel, the deed
to all the land of Israel is found in the Torah. Gen. 23. Gen. 26. Gen. 28. Gen. 35. Gen. 49:30
Ex. 6. Ex. 32. Ex. 33. Lev. 26:42. Ezek. 33:23-25.
Three of the Holiest sites in the land of Israel, are coveted by the Muslims,
Machpelah Cave - Hebron, Joseph's Tomb - Shechem, and Jerusalem site of the Temple
Mount. All three were purchased. Abraham bought the Machpelah Cave at Hebron to bury his wife Sarah, Gen. 23:16-19. Jacob purchased the field at Shechem where Joseph was later
buried. Gen. 33:18, and David bought the threshing floor of Arunah/Ornan on Mt. Moriah, the
site of the Altar and the Temple in Jerusalem. 2 Sam. 24:24. 1 Chron. 3:1.
Three of the Holiest sites in the land of Israel, are coveted by the Muslims, Machpelah Cave - Hebron, Joseph's Tomb - Shechem, and Jerusalem site of the Temple Mount. All three were purchased. Abraham bought the Machpelah Cave at Hebron to bury his wife Sarah, Gen. 23:16-19. Jacob purchased the field at Shechem where Joseph was later buried. Gen. 33:18, and David bought the threshing floor of Arunah/Ornan on Mt. Moriah, the site of the Altar and the Temple in Jerusalem. 2 Sam. 24:24. 1 Chron. 3:1.
FOOTNOTE: Photos from the book "In the Shadow of the Temple - The Discovery of Ancient Jerusalem" by Meir Ben-Dov Published by Harper & Row, Publishers, New York. Translated from the Hebrew by Ina Friedman. Originally published 1982 by Keter Publishing House Jerusalem, Ltd. Translation of Hafirot Har ha-Bayit. ISBN 0-06-015362-8