Peace cannot be based on ignoring the truth, an Israeli government official said Sunday, in reaction to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's comments about the Arab-Islamic claims to Jerusalem.
Abbas was speaking at the International Conference for the Defense of Jerusalem in Doha, Qatar. Palestinian Ma'an news agency quoting him as saying, "The Israeli occupation authorities are using the ugliest and most dangerous means to implement plans to erase and remove the Arab-Islamic and the Christian character of east Jerusalem," making no mention of city's Jewish history.
The Israeli official pointed out that at the 2000 Camp David negotiations between then prime minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Arafat denied there ever was a Jewish temple in Jerusalem, saying this was the reason he was not willing to make any compromises on the Holy City.
"I hope the current generation of Palestinian leadership will not make the same mistake Arafat made," the official said. "If the Palestinian side continues with a position that denies reality, that totally negates Jewish rights, then there can be no basis for peace and co-existence."
Abbas called on Arabs
and Muslims to visit Jerusalem in the face of what he called Israel's
accelerated efforts to Judaize the city.
The PA president accused Israel of "surrounding Jerusalem with an
Apartheid wall and a band of settlements in order to isolate the city
from its surroundings in the West Bank."
Abbas slammed Israeli
authorities for setting up barriers preventing Palestinians from
entering Jerusalem without "almost impossible to obtain" permits.
implored Arabs and Muslims from other countries to visit Jerusalem if
they can. "This move will have political, moral, economic and
humanitarian repercussions, showing that Jerusalem belongs to all of us
and no one can stop us from accessing it."
He added that
visiting "occupied Jerusalem" would remind the Israelis that "Jerusalem
is the cause of every Arab, Muslim and Christian," and would not
constitute normalization with Israel.
Conference for the Defense of Jerusalem was taking place for the first
time Sunday. This followed a decision made by delegates to last year’s Arab summit in Libya
to hold an annual international conference that would include Arab and
foreign countries and civil institutions, to discuss defending Jerusalem
“against Israeli violation at all levels.”
List-Ta'al MKs Taleb a-Sanaa and Ahmed Tibi attended the conference,
prompting Likud MK Danny Danon to call for their ouster from the Knesset
as "enemies of the state."