The Palestinian Authority (PA) recently said that all of Jerusalem, including the Western Wall, has never been used as a place of worship throughout history by anyone besides Muslims “until the ominous Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917.” This directly contradicts a myriad of Jewish and non-Jewish historical sources that indicate otherwise.
PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash said Jerusalem and the Western Wall are “the sole right of Palestinians,” according to Palestinian Media Watch, in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent statement regarding Jerusalem’s 3,000-year Jewish history during Hanukkah last month. Al-Habbash called Netanyahu’s words “worthless from a religious, historical, or legal point of view.”
The Western Wall is the last remnant of the Second Jewish Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. The famous Jewish historian from that era, Josephus Flavius, who lived in Jerusalem, documented the destruction of the city and wrote extensively about the history of Jews in the region during the Antiquities.
“So the Romans being now become masters of the walls, they both placed their ensigns upon the towers, and made joyful acclamations for the victory they had gained… they slew those whom they overtook without and set fire to the houses whither the Jews were fled, and burnt every soul in them,” Josephus wrote in The Wars of the Jews, according to Project Gutenberg.
The PA, however, teaches that no temple ever existed in Jerusalem as a way to claim that Jews and Israel have no right to Jerusalem or the Western Wall.
In 1871, Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William H. Seward, wrote that in Jerusalem, “the Jews are eight thousand, and have the southeast quarter.” But the PA minister’s statement is the latest of many from the PA denying such history.
“The superfluous [nation] in this region, and the one harming its security and stability, is the occupation (i.e., Israel) in all its shapes and stages, whether in the past or in the present, and whether in the form of military occupation, settlement, or fabricating Judaization that have no historical or legal basis,” stated an op-ed in the official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, in December 2012.