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PA Libel: Israel tried to burn down Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969

Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook  |
PA Libel:
Israel tried to burn down
Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969

by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
As Palestinians continue almost daily rioting in Jerusalem and other cities, claiming Israel is damaging places holy to Islam, the Palestinian Authority has chosen to rekindle another libel whose goal seems to be to increase the unrest and rioting.

This renewed libel is based on a rewriting of history by the Palestinian Authority, accusing Israel of assisting in the arson attack in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969.

The facts of the case were as follows: A non-Jewish Australian started a fire in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Aug. 21, 1969. The fire was extinguished and the damage was repaired.

More than ten years ago the Palestinian Authority initiated the lie that Israel was involved in the arson or that it was a Jew who started the fire with the Israeli government's help. The libel was revived this week with this slide broadcast on PA TV:

Text on top: "Israeli aggression against the holy places"

Text in middle: "And on Aug. 21, 1969, the Jew Dennis Michael set fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, with the support of the Jewish government, which cut off the water supply from the neighborhoods close to the Al-Aqsa Mosque with a view to delaying the operations to extinguish [the fire]."

Text on bottom: "Aggression against the holy places - the occupation: a long history of defiling and desecrating that which is sacred."
[PA TV (Fatah), March 5, 2010]

The following is one example of an earlier version of the PA libel from the year 2000:
"Preparations for this crime [of burning the mosque] were expressed in the statements of senior officials and rabbis who said that Al-Aqsa does not belong to the Muslims and that it may be destroyed... They tried to instigate people against those in charge of Al-Aqsa and threaten them... Rohan the Australian who burned Al-Aqsa had no idea what Al-Aqsa was. He was recruited by a number of people who trained him to do this dangerous and sinful task. The long-term goal was, as it was stated back then, a plot whose main goal was to attack the Muslim holy sites."
[PA TV Aug. 21, 2000]

Click here to see more examples from PMW's website of the PA's rewriting of the history of the Land of Israel.