JERUSALEM (Christian Examiner) – Israel is preparing to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque – the third holiest site in Islam – in order to rebuild the Temple, the head of the Palestinian News Agency has alleged in a Nazi-style commentary on the Maan Network.
During the commentary on how the Jews will only enjoy security under Arab rule, Editor-in-Chief Nasser Al-Laham said the Jews prophetic expectations of salvation are to blame for recent tensions over the site. The allegation is not new on the Palestinian street, but it is less commonly voiced publicly among social and political leaders.
Al-Laham, however, said, "Now, they want to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to build a false temple, so they prepared nine red cows, four calves, a rabbi, a Maimonides, stolen gold and a scabies sricken goat, and said that they were looking for the Messiah's donkey. The have turned the stables of our horses into a (wailing) wall for their tears."
According to Muslim lore, Muhammad flew to Jerusalem in the middle of the night on a winged horse – called Buraq – described as smaller than a mule but bigger than a donkey. Muslims believe he tied up his horse at the Western Wall (Wailing Wall), making the site where Jews pray also sacred to Muslims. The area was allegedly used as a stable by Muslims after they conquered Jerusalem.
Muslims also believe Muhammad prayed at the site and taught others where the mosque now stands, but the mosque wasn't constructed until after Muhammad's death in A.D. 632 by Umar, the first caliph to succeed him.
Al-Laham said the Jews, however, see the Temple Mount as holy in their faith. They are still looking for a permanent home, he said.
"[They are] another wandering generation of Jews seeking an identity, seeking a savior and searching in our homes and under our feet for the remains of the shattered Menorah," Al-Laham said. "They have always had and always will have this security only under the protection of an Arab state. They tried and will try to establish a state for the Jews, and to hide behind the Wall, but in the words of the poet, 'life of eternity is unfeasible.'"
The news chief also went through a litany of claims from Jewish history about the Jews being expelled from each location where they have lived. He said they had wandered in the Sinai for 40 years and "it seems they are wandering even today north of Sinai; that is, in Palestine."
"They came like locusts and we fed them oranges and gave them fresh water, until they bit the hand that was extended to help them, and perpetuated massacres against their hosts. They came as guests, hungry and naked. They were sick with scabies, typhoid, measles and malaria," Al-Laham said.
"We treated them, and we gave them refuge near our children. ... In the words of the poet, 'the mud forgot that it is nothing but lowly mud, and got arrogantly out of control.'"
Claims that the Jews want to rebuild the Temple began in the 1920s when Haj Amin Al-Husseini was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Al-Husseini allied with Adolf Hitler during World War II.
Even today, however, the rebuilding of the Temple is feared by Palestinians. In September, for instance, flyers were distributed after evening prayers at a mosque in Hebron that showed the al-Aqsa mosque in flames and warning of its impending destruction by the Jews so the Temple could be rebuilt.
On October 15, Al-Jazeera, the Arab television network, launched a report on the futility of "messianic zealots" attempting to rebuild the Temple.
"The Temple Institute, largely funded by contributions from Jews abroad, has been preparing to replace the Dome of the Rock with a Third Temple to include barefoot priests, burnt offerings and even Internet connectivity. Designers at the organization's Old City office have hatched architectural plans — along with trumpets, lyres and a golden menorah — as part of what the organization's Chaim Richman describes as the fulfillment of the long-held Zionist dream and the coming of the messiah. The group aims to bypass religious rules against being in proximity to the Holy of Holies through an arcane purification ritual in which Cohanim (high priests) are doused in the ashes of a sacrificed heifer on which almost every hair was red," Al-Jazeera reported.
Another group, Har HaKodesh, has also posted a 3-D online rendering of how the Third Temple could appear in Jerusalem. If the rendering is accurate, it would cover both the site of the Al-Aqsa mosque as well as the Dome of the Rock, where the Temple was most likely located. It would also be significantly larger than the Second Temple.
The 3-D rendering also shows the footprint of the new Temple covering the Al-Aqsa mosque.
Many Palestinians also saw a recent interview with Tzipi Hotovely, Israel's deputy foreign minister, as a sign that the Jews were preparing to reclaim the Temple Mount. Hotovely told the Knesset Channel her dream "is to see the Israeli flag flying over the Temple Mount. This is the holiest place for the Jewish people."
Yoel Hasson, a member of the Zionist Union in the Kenneset said Hotovely, a "messianic deputy minister" with the "stubbornness of a donkey," was trying to incite the entire Middle East. Hotovely later said she was expressing her personal opinion and not official policy.