U.N. Chief Sends Greetings, and an Envoy, to Israel-Bashing Conference in Qatar (CNS) CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE) By Patrick Goodenough 02/28/12)
CNS} CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE
CNS} CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-Top
(CNSNews.com) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent his Mideast
envoy to deliver a message on his behalf to a conference in Qatar
this week whose aims include “pointing out the weaknesses of the
Jew’s historical arguments backing their claims” to Jerusalem.
Co-hosted by the Qatar government and the Arab League, the two-
day “International Conference for the Defense of Jerusalem” brought
together politicians from across the Arab and Muslim world,
representatives of pro-Palestinian organizations, clerics and
Participants included Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an influential Sunni cleric
regarded as the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who has
drawn criticism for comments about Palestinian suicide bombings.
Ban’s Middle East envoy, Robert Serry, shared the platform with the
emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Arab League Secretary-
General Nabil Al-Arabi, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Palestinian Authority
chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
The organizers’ objective was to contest the “judaization” of
Jerusalem – the Islamic claim that Jews are trying to tighten their
grip on Israel’s capital by highlighting what Muslims say is an
invented Jewish heritage.
One of the aims of the event, according to the conference Web site,
was “pointing out the weaknesses of the Jew’s historical arguments
backing their claims to the holy city. Of paramount importance is the
disclosure of Israel’s deeds at falsifying History and archeology by
means of destruction, omission, modification and fabrication of
historical and archeological facts.”
Qatar’s emir proposed to the gathering that the U.N. Security Council
be asked to adopt a resolution setting up an international commission
to investigate actions taken by Israel in Jerusalem “to erase its
Islamic and Arabic identity.”
Ban’s message, delivered by Serry, described the conference as
an “important international forum.”
Ban did acknowledge Jerusalem’s significance to “Muslims, Jews and
Christians,” but reserved his criticism for Israeli actions and
policies, citing settlement activity, home demolitions, forced
evictions, the revocation of permanent residency, restriction of
access, and the forcible transfer of Palestinian lawmakers from East
Jerusalem to Ramallah.
He told Israel it was violating international law and pointed out
that “the international community does not recognize Israel´s
annexation of East Jerusalem, which remains part of the occupied
Ban’s only direct advice to the Palestinians was that they “should
remain constructively engaged. And he said that “both sides have a
particular responsibility to create a conducive environment for
The message made no reference to a sustained Arab-Islamic campaign
aimed at denying Jewish claims to the city.
Palestinian, Arab and Muslim figures have often challenged Jewish
heritage in Jerusalem, with the OIC’s Ihsanoglu, for example, having
called the site of the historical first and second temples “the
alleged Temple Mount.”
Abbas in his speech at the Doha conference raised the issue again,
accusing Israel of conducting a “war aimed to erase and remove the
character of the Arab-Islamic Jerusalem” and claiming that Israel was
plotting to rebuild the Temple “on the ruins of the al-Aqsa mosque.”
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a brief statement
described Abbas’ speech as “harshly inflammatory” and the al-Aqsa
claims in particular as “baseless and irresponsible.”
“The time has come for the Palestinian leadership to stop denying the
past and distorting reality,” he said. “For thousands of years
Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people.
Jerusalem, under Israeli sovereignty, will continue to be open to
believers of all faiths. There is freedom of worship for all and
Israel will continue to carefully maintain the holy places of all
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told a press briefing
Monday that “statements that serve to delegitimize the deep religious
links that Muslims, Jews, and Christians all have to Jerusalem are
not helpful. They’re not helpful to the process, not helpful from any
Asked whether the administration had raised those concerns with “the
parties,” Nuland said, without elaborating, that it had.
Israel claims historical links to Jerusalem going back 3,000 years,
when the biblical King David made it the capital of his kingdom.
Bible vs. Qur’an
The Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, marks the location of the
temple built by Solomon, David’s son, and destroyed by the
Babylonians in 586 BC; and later of the second temple, razed by the
Romans in 70 AD.
Muslims conquered Jerusalem in the 7th century and two mosques were
subsequently built on the site, which Muslims call Haram Al-Sharif
(Noble Sanctuary). Muslims revere one of the mosques, al-Aqsa, as the
third holiest in Islam, based on the belief that Mohammed stopped
there during his “night journey” – a trip from Mecca to heaven on his
legendary winged steed, al-Buraq.
Jerusalem is not mentioned by name in the Qur’an, and there is no
historical record of Mohammed having visited the city during his
lifetime. But the Qur’an’s sura 17 says that he traveled from “the
sacred mosque” in Arabia to “the farthest mosque” (al-Aqsa) en route
to heaven, and Muslim scholars generally contend that that refers to
The Temple Mount and surrounding Old City and eastern Jerusalem were
controlled by Jordan from 1948 to 1967, when Israel captured the area
during the Six Day War.
Israel’s government at the time took the decision to allow continued
Islamic control over the site. The overall area falls under Israeli
sovereignty, disputed by the international community.
The closest observant Jews can get to the Temple Mount most of the
time is the remnant of a retaining wall on the platform’s western
flank, which is often mistakenly described as Judaism’s holiest site.
Israeli governments of all political hues have declared Jerusalem to
be the “eternal, indivisible” capital of the Jewish state.
The P.A., backed by the Islamic world and the United Nations, wants
at least some of the city – including the area of greatest religious
significance – as its future capital.
The U.S. Congress in 1995 passed a law stating that “Jerusalem should
be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel and the United
States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later
than May 31, 1999.”
But a waiver was built in and presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama all
used it for consecutive six-monthly periods, citing national security
interests. (copyright 1998-2012 Cybercast News Service 02/28/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY