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PA to Israelis: “You must leave, because you have no history in our Jerusalem, and it is not your homeland”

Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Itamar Marcus  |

  • PA denies Jewish history in the land: “The occupier in our land has no memories. We remain here” 

Abbas and the PA are getting ready to meet US President Biden. Abbas will probably say to him what PA leaders and officials always say to foreign leaders: That they only want a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders, or 22% of the so-called “historical Palestine." Abbas will stress that they want their capital to be in East Jerusalem and to live side by side in peace with Israel. 

But that is not what Abbas and other PA/Fatah officials say in Arabic to Palestinians. 

Despite the abundant archaeological evidence that proves Jewish history in Jerusalem in particular and in the entire area in general, the PA adamantly denies any Jewish historical bond to either. This falsification of history becomes the basis of the PA’s rejection of Israel’s right to exist in any borders. 

A filler broadcast between programs by official PA TV since 2017 and continuing in July 2022 stresses this denial of Jewish history while it invents an imaginary Palestinian history prior to the modern period: 

Official PA TV narrator: “Our memories in this land are too long to be counted in years, and the occupier in our land has no memories. We remain here.” 

[Official PA TV, broadcast several times a week since Nov. 24, 2017  
- May 6, June 25, July 2, 2022] 

To further underscore the message that Jews and Israelis have no right to be anywhere in the land because they “have no history,” the PA and Fatah – both headed by Mahmoud Abbas – have recently broadcast and published another video that denies Jewish history in the land:

Narrator: “O coward, you must leave because you have no history in our Jerusalem, and it is not your homeland” … 

Crowd: “With spirit, with blood, we will redeem you Al-Aqsa Mosque… 

Allahu Akbar (“Allah is greatest”)” 

[Official PA TV, June 30, 2022] 

The PA’s Prime Minister, Muhammad Shtayyeh, reiterated this in a recent speech in which he referred to “the narrative war,” stating that Israel has invented the entire Jewish history in Jerusalem: 

Shtayyeh: “Israel is falsifying the facts and history in the most despicable manner – not just at the [Al-Aqsa] Mosque, but also at the Church [of the Holy Sepulchre] and in the city [of Jerusalem] – and is working to falsify its history, change the facts on the ground, and determine new facts, as if the Palestinian has no history… 

We know that throughout history, [despite] all the excavations that have been conducted underneath Jerusalem, Israel has not succeeded in proving that it has history in this city. Fifty-five years of excavations and tunnels have not proven that there is a Temple in the city (sic.).” 

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 9, 2022] 

At the same event, PA Chairman Abbas spoke to Palestinians of “our defense of our religious and historical narrative against the defunct and false narrative of the occupation, which has no base, neither in the history, nor in reality, nor in international law.” He further added: 

“I say, Jerusalem and Palestine are not for sale, and we have foiled all suspicious projects to liquidate the Palestinian cause, particularly the deal of the century… We will hold on to our positions, our struggle, and our popular resistance until the State of Palestine is established with East Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the State of Palestine.” 

[Wafa, official PA news agency, English edition, June 8, 2022] 

These statements by the two top PA officials and the messages above denying Jewish history published by the PA and Fatah join the other strong PA/Fatah statements documented by Palestinian Media Watch that completely deny Israel’s right to exist in any borders, as “Palestine” stretches “from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.” 

When President Biden sits down with Abbas to discuss the PA’s desire for a state in the so-called “1967 borders,” “side by side with Israel” and its capital in “East Jerusalem,” his response to Abbas should be to demand that Abbas acknowledge in Arabic on official PA TV that Jews have thousands of years of history in the land and that Israel has a right to exist.  

The following are longer excerpts of PA Chairman Abbas’ and PA PM Shtayyeh’s speeches: 

Headline: “President Abbas at a conference: Jerusalem is not for sale” 

“President Mahmoud Abbas stressed today that Jerusalem, the capital of the state of Palestine, is not for sale and that all Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem are Palestinian. 

In a speech delivered over the phone at the conference "Property Documentation and the Historical Status of the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque", which is being held at the headquarters of the Red Crescent Society in the city of al-Bireh, President Abbas stressed that “we will not allow nor accept any changes to this legal and historical status quo (of Al-Aqsa Mosque), regardless of the circumstances.” 

He said, “our conflict with the occupation is essentially a political conflict and not a conflict with a particular religion.,” stressing that “Jerusalem and Palestine are not for sale,” and “we have foiled all suspicious projects to liquidate the Palestinian cause, particularly the deal of the century.” 

Following is an unofficial translation of the President’s speech: 

Greetings to Jerusalem and the people of Jerusalem. Greetings to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and those keeping vigil (al-Murabiton) there. Greetings to the Holy Sepulcher and its steadfast people, and special greetings to you, the participants in this conference, the conference on Documentation Property and the Historical Status of Al-Aqsa Mosque, which comes in the context of our defense of our religious and historical narrative against the defunct and false narrative of the occupation, which has no base, neither in the history, nor in reality, nor in international law. 

All the historical evidence and documents confirm the identity of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque and all the Islamic and Christian holy sites in our holy capital. We have the divine document in the verse of Al-Isra in the holy Quran which proves the identity of Jerusalem and its Al-Aqsa Mosque: “Glory be to Him who took His servant by night from the Al-Masjid al-Haram to Al-Aqsa Mosque, which we have blessed.” 

Your conference that you are holding today acquires great importance from its subject and outcomes in order to consolidate the Palestinian national, religious, legal and historical right while emphasizing that our conflict with the occupation is essentially a political conflict and not a conflict with a particular religion. 

Today we stand in our land and our sanctities, defending our inalienable right with our respect and commitment to the historical “status quo” in the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem with all its sanctities. We will not allow nor accept any changes to this legal and historical status quo, regardless of the circumstances. 

Brothers and sisters, I have now listened to the speech of His Highness Prince Hassan, and how we wished that he would be with us in person at this conference. We and the brothers in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan are in one trench in defense of Jerusalem, emphasizing our pride in the Hashemite trusteeship that we established by the historical agreement, which we signed with My brother, His Majesty King Abdullah II in 2015. 

Finally, I say, Jerusalem and Palestine are not for sale, and we have foiled all suspicious projects to liquidate the Palestinian cause, particularly the deal of the century. We will not forget the blood of the martyr Shireen Abu Akleh and other righteous martyrs. We will hold on to our positions, our struggle, and our popular resistance until the State of Palestine is established with East Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the State of Palestine.” 

[Wafa, official PA news agency, English edition, June 8, 2022] 

Headline: “The [PA] president before the Deeds of Ownership conference: We will not agree to changing the legal and historical status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque” 

“The Deeds of Ownership and Historical Status of the Blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque conference was launched yesterday [June 8, 2022] under the auspices of [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas at the Red Crescent offices in El-Bireh… 

In his speech at the conclusion of the conference’s events, [PA] Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said that our people will stay loyal to Jerusalem, its residents, and its holy sites… 

The prime minister continued: ‘Thank you to the organizers of this important conference, which contributes to dealing with one of the main wars that Israel is waging against us – the narrative war. Therefore, when this conference convenes, precisely at a time when Israel is falsifying the facts and history in the most despicable manner – not just at the [Al-Aqsa] Mosque, but also at the Church [of the Holy Sepulchre] and in the city [of Jerusalem] – and is working to falsify its history, change the facts on the ground, and determine new facts, as if the Palestinian has no history.’ 

Shtayyeh added: ‘Every day that passes is a systematic falsification of the Islamic-Christian Palestinian narrative regarding Palestine, and all the historical facts prove to us day after day that we are rooted in this city. No one disagrees about the Palestinian presence since the Canaanites until this very day (sic., the Palestinians have no history prior to the modern period, and have no connection to the Canaanites).’ … 

He said: ‘We know that throughout history, [despite] all the excavations that have been conducted underneath Jerusalem, Israel has not succeeded in proving that it has history in this city (sic., an abundance of archaeological evidence proves Jewish history in Jerusalem). Fifty-five years of excavations and tunnels have not proven that there is a Temple in the city (sic.). Therefore, this conference is most important in order to strengthen the [Palestinian] narrative and fight the narrative of the other regarding Jerusalem and the systematic falsification of our history and the Islamic-Christian Arab presence in the city.’”  

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 9, 2022] 

“Division according to areas and times” refers to a submission of a “private bill” by Israeli MP Uri Ariel in March 2003. The bill suggested ensuring freedom of religious worship by allowing both Jews and Muslims to pray on the Temple Mount - what the Palestinians call the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza. The bill sought to designate separate prayer times and areas of the site for Muslims and Jews. The bill never progressed past the initial legislatory stage. While there was additional discussion on the subject in 2012, no legislation was ever passed.  

In response to the incessant PA claims that the “division according to areas and times” of the Temple Mount is an operative Israeli plan, former Israeli PM Netanyahu stated on many occasions that the Israeli government has no intention of ‎changing the so-called status quo on the Temple Mount, which de facto is interpreted to mean Jews are only allowed to enter the Temple Mount, but not to conduct individual or communal prayers there.  

In July 2021, Israeli PM Naftali Bennett said Muslims and Jews have freedom of worship at the Temple Mount, which was understood by many as a hint to changing the status quo at the site, but the following day his office backtracked and said he misspoke and did not mean Jews would have freedom of worship, but rather would have freedom to visit. “There is no change in the status quo,” a statement from PM Bennett’s office confirmed. 

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