For decades the Jerusalem Islamic Trust (Waqf) and their paymasters the Jordanian Government have carried out a concerted campaign to eradicate all remnants of Israel’s ancient history in the Holy City. The goal is to bolster the Palestinian’s political and religious control of the contested holy places by destroying biblical antiquities, cultural artifacts and archeological remains that evidence the centuries old Jewish connections to these sites. They believe that by systematically destroying these antiquities, scattering the remains, building over them and denying their existence they can obscure and erase Israel’s modern day claims to the Land.
When Israel retook the Old City in 1967, the authorities shockingly discovered its virtual destruction. Only one of the more than 30 synagogues that once stood there for centuries still remained, the rest of the buildings had been devastated. Hundreds of ancient Torah scrolls and thousands of sacred books had been burned. On the Temple Mount itself, the Arabs had utilized the years since 1948 to destroy all Jewish archeological remains, hoping to deny any proof that this was once the site of King Solomon’s ancient edifice.
In 1867, the famous American writer Mark Twain visited the Jerusalem Temple Mount compound, then built over with Islamic structures called the Mosque of Omar and the Al Aqsa Mosque, and wrote:
“Everywhere about the Mosque of Omar are portions of pillars, curiously wrought altars, and fragments of elegantly carved marble – the precious remains of Solomon’s Temple…see the costly marbles that once adorned the inner Temple…the designs wrought upon these fragments are all quaint and peculiar…one meets with these venerable scraps at every turn, specially in the neighboring mosque Al Aqsa, into whose inner walls a very large number of them are carefully built for
“These pieces of stone, stained and dusty with age, dimly hint at a grandeur we have all been taught to regard as the princeliest ever seen on earth; and they call up pictures of a pageant that is familiar to all imaginations – camels laden with spices and treasure – beautiful slaves, presents for Solomon’s harem – a long cavalcade of richly caparisoned beasts and warriors – and Sheba’s Queen in the van of this prison of Oriental Magnificence. These elegant fragments bear a richer interest than the solemn vastness of the stones the Jews kiss in the place of wailing can ever have
for the heedless sinner.
“Down in the hollow ground, underneath the olives and oranges trees that flourish in the court of the great mosque, is a wilderness of pillars – remains of the ancient Temple, they supported it. There are ponderous archways down there…we never dreamed we might see portions of the actual Temple of Solomon…”
Mark Twain saw these surviving ancient treasures with his own eyes and honestly reported about their existence and importance, but where are they today? Where are the protests and action of international bodies like UNESCO which turn a blind eye to Palestinian destruction of Israel’s antiqueties and biblical heritage? Who stands opposed to the radical and well-financed Islamization of Jerusalem? Where are the international human rights organizations, the religious authorities, the Vatican, the UN or the world tribunals?
The struggle to safeguard Israel’s biblical past and the archeological remains on the Temple Mount and other holy places must be legally protected. The Islamic Trust cannot merely erase the historic Jewish connection to Holy Land with its illegal devastation and crimes against humanity. They cannot conceal and destroy the biblical narrative and the historical events that were staged in the Holy City. Jerusalem must be legally defended and this wanton destruction and pillage of the world’s leading heritage sites must be stopped.