Palestinian ‘history’ is the real obstacle

Poll shows that two-thirds of Palestinians would only accept a two-state solution as a first step to an eventual unitary Palestinian state, supplanting Israel.

Camp David 521 (photo credit: Bloomberg)
Camp David 521
(photo credit: Bloomberg)
The recent Palestinian Authority report stating that the Western Wall has no religious or historical significance to the Jewish people is yet another attempt at historical revisionism.
Under most circumstances, we could dismiss this as a pathetic attempt to erase the history of another people.
Unfortunately, as the recent UNESCO report on Jewish sites in Judea and Samaria made clear, the Palestinian “narrative” is supported by an automatic majority in multilateral forums.
The recent “study” prepared by Al- Mutawakel Taha from the PA’s Ministry of Information, was, like all Palestinian lies, plucked from thin air. The PA Ministry of Information claims on its website that “according to the Jewish Encyclopedia, published in 1917, the Western Wall became part of the Jewish religious tradition around the year 1520 AD, as a result of Jewish immigration from Spain, after the Ottoman conquest in the year 1517.”
It is very simple to expose this outrageous assertion for the fraud it is. In fact, the entry in the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1917 provides historic references to the Western Wall from antiquity, and certainly from before the Arab invasion and occupation of the Middle East.
The recent UNESCO report that Rachel’s Tomb near Jerusalem is the Bilal ibn Rabah Mosque is an even greater scandal. Bizarrely, this claim also disposes of hundreds of years of Muslim tradition.
According to an Ottoman document found by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, in 1830 the Turks issued a firman (royal decree) recognizing Rachel’s Tomb as a Jewish holy site.
This historic denial has political ramifications. In 2000, talks between former prime minister Ehud Barak and PA chairman Yasser Arafat at Camp David in the presence of US president Bill Clinton broke down after Barak had made an overly generous offer to split sovereignty of the Temple Mount, and Arafat replied that he could not concede an inch of this “Islamic territory” because the Jewish Temple had never existed. This “Temple denial” wasn’t just distorting Jewish history but also Christian. Arafat was attacking the belief of more than a billion Christians worldwide.
Today the myth that Jesus was a Palestinian is told to anyone who arrives on a pilgrimage to Bethlehem or other Christian holy site under the PA.
However, the facts once again don’t add up. The Jewish province of Judea was destroyed by Emperor Hadrian in 135 CE, when the Romans quashed the Bar Kochba-led Jewish revolt. To sever the Jewish connection with the Land, the Roman emperor changed the area’s name to Syria Palaestina, which eventually became known as Palestine.
So Jesus was crucified somewhere between 26 and 36 – a full 100 years before the term Palestine had even been coined. Islam and the Arab occupation of this land were still six centuries away! While the Palestinians claim to be the original residents of our land, history and fact stand in their way. While the majority of the Jewish people had to endure a 2,000-year exile, the stones of our Temple, the burial sites of our forefathers, our ritual baths, ancient cisterns and synagogues remained.
Palestinians attempt to destroy historical memory just as they destroyed sites like Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.
As a result of the rejectionism in its media and education, the PA has become so brazen that it is now trying to sell its outright lies to the whole world.
Recent polls among the Palestinians have shown that almost two-thirds would accept a two-state solution only as a first step to an eventual unitary Palestinian state, supplanting Israel. This once again proves that the real obstacle to peace is Palestinian rejection of Israel.
The PA brainwashes its people and falsifies history – Jewish, Christian and Muslim – in the process. The international community needs to focus on this issue and condemn the PA for its actions. Palestinian hate and intolerance, more than all the other issues combined, will doom the region to many more years of conflict.
Peace can only arrive after acceptance of the other, not just a laying down of arms and weapons.
The writer is Israel’s deputy foreign minister.