Documented Arab destruction of Jewish archaeological remains make a mockery of any thought of giving Palestinians any control of Jewish holy places
by Ezequiel Doiny
Until 1948 Jews were a majority of the population in Jerusalem. On December 11, 2017 Amb. Dore Gold wrote in the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs “By the mid-19th century, the British Consulate in Jerusalem made the following determination, according to this report, which I found in the Public Record Office in Kew, it states that Jews were a majority in Jerusalem, when? already in 1863 – that’s long before Theodor Herzl, before the Britt’s arrived, or Lord Balfour.
See the guy on the right, William Seward, he was Secretary of State of the United States during the American civil war, under President Abraham Lincoln.
When Seward’s term ended, he visited the holy land, he visited Jerusalem. And he wrote a memoir. And in his memoir, it is written, “There is a Jewish majority in Jerusalem.”
see William Seward, Travels Around the World (1873)
Jews were expelled from Jerusalem’s old city by the Jordanian Arab legion in 1948 through ethnic cleansing. Between 1948 and 1967 while Jordan occupied Jerusalem’s old city, dozens of synagogues were destroyed, thousands of tombstones were desecrated in the Mount of Olives Cemetery and Jews were not allowed to pray in the Western Wall.
The Jewish Virtual Library reports “Before the United Nations voted in favor of the Patition Plan on November 29, 1947, the Arab Legion of Jordan attacked Jerusalem. Their forces blocked Jerusalem’s roads and cut off the city’s access to water. After bitter fighting, the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City fell to the vastly superior arms and numbers of the Arab Legion. The surviving Jewish inhabitants fled to the “New City,” the four-fifths of the capital that Israel successfully held.
The Old City, including the Jewish Quarter, officially fell to Jordan on May 27, 1948. Nearly twenty years later, during the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel’s army liberated Jerusalem’s Old City, finding the area completely neglected and virtually destroyed.
… All but one of the thirty five synagogues within the Old City were destroyed; those note completely devastated had been used as hen houses and stables filled with dung-heaps, garbage and carcasses. The revered Jewish graveyard on the Mount of Olives was in complete disarray with tens of thousands of tombstones broken into pieces to be used as building materials and large areas of the cemetery leveled to provide a short-cut to a new hotel. Hundreds of Torah scrolls and thousands of holy books had been plundered and burned to ashes…”
Menachem Lubinsky, co-chairman of the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeitim (Mount of Olives Cemetery in Jerusalem) (ICPHH) declared “Despite signing an Armistice Agreement that was to allow Jews access to Har Hazeitim (Mount of Olives), the Jordanians not only banned Jewish burials and access but proceeded to build roads, housing, hotels and even latrines from tombstones they destroyed (1948-1967). “We know that if we do not protect our past, our future is also in doubt,”the ICPHH leader said. “It is unfathomable that these gravesites remain in such a state and after 50 years these holy neshamos (souls) still do not have headstones.” Mr. Lubinsky said
…The ICPHH recently announced that it was launching a worldwide campaign to fund the restoration of the desecrated graves. “We dare not allow our enemies to believe that we do not have the resolve to protect the resting places of our departed,” the organization said. “Anti-Semitism of all forms must be uprooted, but especially when it targets those who no longer have a voice and cannot defend themselves. This is especially true for Har Hazeitim, which is the historic cemetery of the Jewish people.”
But the Arabs not only destroyed tombstones at Mount of Olives and synagogues in Jerusalem, they also destroyed Jewish archaeological remains in Temple Mount. This is an excerpt from Mark Twain’s “The Innocents Abroad” describing his visit to the Mosque of Omar and the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in 1867:
“Everywhere about the Mosque of Omar are portions of pillars, curiously wrought altars, and fragments of elegantly carved marble – the precious remains of Solomon’s Temple…see the costly marbles that once adorned the inner Temple…the designs wrought upon these fragments are all quaint and peculiar…one meets with these venerable scraps at every turn, specially in the neighboring mosque Al Aqsa, into whose inner walls a very large number of them are carefully built for preservation. These pieces of stone, stained and dusty with age, dimly hint at a grandeur we have all been taught to regard as the princeliest ever seen on earth; and they call up pictures of a pageant that is familiar to all imaginations – camels laden with spices and treasure – beautiful slaves, presents for Solomon’s harem – a long cavalcade of richly caparisoned beasts and warriors – and Sheba’s Queen in the van of this prison of Oriental Magnificence. These elegant fragments bear a richer interest than the solemn vastness of the stones the Jews kiss in the place of wailing can ever have for the heedless sinner.
“Down in the hollow ground, underneath the olives and oranges trees that flourish in the court of the great mosque , is a wilderness of pillars – remains of the ancient Temple, they supported it. There are ponderous archways down there…we never dreamed we might see portions of the actual Temple of Solomon…”
If Mark Twain saw this archaeological remains in 1867 where are they now? The Jewish Temple was not only destroyed by the Romans 2000 years ago, it continues being destroyed by the Arabs today. If the Palestinians assume responsibility over the site they will have freedom to destroy much more.
Journalist Ilan Ben Zion reported in December 2012: “The Muslim authority managing the Temple Mount on Sunday dumped tons of unexamined earth and stones excavated from the holy site into a municipal dump, in violation of a High Court injunction, Maariv (Hebrew Daily, ed.) reported on Monday.”
Israel’s top court in September 2004 prohibited removal of earth from the Temple Mount and ruled that, should it be necessary [to do so], the Antiquities Authority must be notified a month in advance so it may examine the earth for artifacts.
Jews regard the Temple Mount as their holiest site, where the First and Second Temple were located. Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary and regard it as their third holiest site after Mecca and Medina. According to the existing arrangement, the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, or trust, administers the Temple Mount complex.
Despite the High Court of Justice’s ruling, the Waqf has reportedly removed large piles of dirt from the Temple Mount in recent years and dumped them in the valley east of the Old City walls, provoking an outcry from biblical archaeologists and Jewish groups.
Tzachi Dvira, the archaeologist managing the team that sifts through soil excavated from the Temple Mount, told Maariv that mounds of earth containing historic relics were carted off and dumped on Sunday without notification and before archaeologists could investigate them…
Soil from the Temple Mount that had been removed by the Waqf to the Kidron Valley in recent years has yielded “tens of thousands of finds, including signet rings from the First Temple era, painted floor tiles from the Second Temple era, ancient gold coins, and horseshoe nails and arrowheads belonging to the Knights Templar, who stabled their horses in Solomon’s Stables,” Dvira said.
Suzanne Singer, a contributing editor to the Biblical Archeological Review reported in September 2000 “Large-scale illegal construction on the Temple Mount and wholesale dumping of earth in the nearby Kidron Valley resumed this spring…”
“… The Temple Mount is, of course, sacred to three great Western faiths and is part of the world’s cultural patrimony. Here may lie remnants from the time of the First Temple of Solomon, the Second Temple built by Herod, the Byzantine period and the early Islamic eras. Israeli excavations around the exterior of the Temple Mount since 1967 have found remains from all these periods, but the Mount itself has been terra incognita, protected by an understanding between Israel and the Waqf that says no construction will take place there…
” …Last November, we reported that the Waqf, in the dead of night, had dumped hundreds of truckloads of earth from the Temple Mount into the Kidron Valley and municipal garbage dumps. About 6,000 tons of earth were removed …Despite the flagrant disregard by the Waqf of the requirement for IAA supervision, there was no serious response by Israeli authorities. Today the dumped earth is unprotected and is being covered with garbage, making it unlikely that the IAA will ever act on its announced intention to salvage artifacts by sifting through the piles.”
“…This spring and early summer, trucks and tractors returned to the Temple Mount, bringing building materials in and carting earth away through the Lions’ Gate, just north of the Temple Mount. For 200 yards along the inside of the Temple Mount’s eastern wall, from the al-Marawani Mosque’s new entrance to somewhat south of the Golden Gate, lie stacks of paving stones, scaffolding, wood and iron materials, along with large architectural fragments, such as pieces of ancient columns…
” …The construction on the Temple Mount is only the latest, albeit perhaps the most egregious, example of the Waqf’s disregard for the protection of antiquities. In 1993 Israel’s Supreme Court found that the Waqf had violated the country’s antiquities laws no less than 35 times, with many of the violations causing the irreversible destruction of archaeological remains.
” …Due to Prime Minister Barak’s concern for negotiations with the Palestinians, no effective archaeological oversight is taking place on the Temple Mount. No one halts the work so that potential damage can be assessed and prevented; as a result, heavy equipment is free to move about the Mount for projects that are neither approved nor supervised. The frequently heard view is that a tough stance by Israel will enflame the Palestinians and set back the peace talks…”
While Israel preserves Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock, Arabs have proven that they cannot be trusted to respect Jewish Holy sites. On December 15, 2017 Nadav Shragai wrote in Israel Hayom “King Herod’s grand Third Palace is being systematically destroyed by the Palestinians, who are stripping its stone and building homes around it. The site is in Area A, meters from Israeli-controlled territory, but the Israeli government can do nothing…Here is a lesson that teaches us how the Palestinians today treat remnants of the past…It is unclear how much of this beauty remains. Yaron Rosenthal, director of the Kfar Etzion Field School, who sometimes works with the Palestinians on environmental preservation projects, finds it difficult to hide his anger.
“Israel sees how one of the grandest palaces ever built in the Holy Land is being destroyed, and is standing by helplessly, because under the Oslo Accords the site, which is 30 meters from Area C, was made the responsibility of the Palestinians. It’s time for Israel to say, ‘No more.’ With all due respect to the Oslo Accords, we will not let you destroy important [archaeological] remains linked to the history of the Jewish people in their land, remains that are part of the cultural fabric of this country,” Rosenthal says…”
On Jan 6, 2018 Judith Abramson reported in Jerusalemonline “Hebrew University archaeology doctoral student Haggai Cohen Klonymus described to the Israel News Company (formerly Channel 2 TV) how Palestinian tractors and bulldozers arrived at an archaeological site where the ancient city of Archelaus once stood. The Palestinians completely leveled the compound in order to locate hidden archaeological treasures to sell in the antiquities market. “Just as ISIS destroyed sites in Iran and Syria that were thousands of years old, the same situation is occurring here,” he said. “This is a deliberate and systematic destruction of an archaeological site….It’s just a tragedy.”
In 2000 the Palestinians destroyed Joseph’s tomb. Sidney Brounstein wrote for the Los Angeles Times “Oct. 8: Where is the outrage? Imagine what would have happened if Jewish police stood by and allowed a Jewish mob to destroy a Muslim holy place! Does the destruction of a Jewish holy place by an Arab mob while Palestinian police stand by (after promising to protect it) deserve no more than inclusion in a list of other damage done by rioters? Is this an acceptance of attacks on Jews and things Jewish as a normal part of life?”
“It makes a mockery of any thought of giving Arabs any control of Jewish holy places. The destruction of dozens of such places in the Old City of Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967, along with the exclusion of Jews entirely from their most holy site, the Western Wall, was clearly of a piece with the current destruction.”
On June 17,2018 BIN reported “The Jerusalem Islamic Waqf took advantage of the final days of the holy month of Ramadan, when Jews were barred from visiting the Temple Mount, to eliminate from the compound piles of earth that were rich with archaeological treasures dating back to the Temple period, Makor Rishon reported Friday. The piles of earth were created initially by illegal renovations the Waqf carried out in 1999.
The soil that was now eliminated was dug up by the Waqf as part of its project of erecting a new mosque in the Solomon’s Stables area on the Temple Mount. At the time, 400 truckloads of ancient soil were unloaded in city dumps and in the Kidron Valley. Eventually, Israeli legal authorities became involved and banned the removal of the remaining piles of soil on the Temple Mount.
The Waqf was planning to get rid of those piles as well, but a court petition by the Public Committee for the Prevention of Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount was accepted by the High Court of Justice, which in 2004 issued an injunction against the removal of the piles of soil.
But the Waqf never agreed with the court’s decision, which stood in the way of its plan to pave over the eastern part of the compound, as they have done elsewhere on the Temple Mount. An Israeli archaeologist, Tzahi Devira, who runs the Sifting Project that has revealed tens of thousands of treasures in the dumped soil, has been keeping watch on the Waqf for close to two decades, to make sure they don’t sin again.
So the Waqf did what so many faithful Muslim officials do when faced with a legal prohibition: they cheated, using the Israeli gesture of closing off the Temple Mount to Jews on the last week of Ramadan to complete their heinous crime against history and culture, and recruited more than 1,000 men to remove the piles of soil – this time making sure to get rid of the pesky evidence of there ever being a Jewish Temple there.”
Ezequiel Doiny is author of “Obama’s assault on Jerusalem’s Western Wall”