The Israeli Declaration of Independence states:
THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
Israel has lived up to these values as well as – often better than – other countries espousing such beliefs. All countries miss the mark and so, of course, has the Jewish state. But few countries try so hard or feel so acutely and try to mitigate so thoroughly their failures.
Freedom of religion – and fidelity to universally accepted history – is not a strong suit of the Palestinian Authority. You remember the Palestinian Authority, right? The “moderate” governing authority in the West Bank?
Palestinian Media Watch has put together a list of 97 times in 2011 and 2012 in which Palestinian leaders and clerics have denied the historical existence of a Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount. And that’s just the 97 times they were able to document.
The goal is obvious: to read the Jewish people out of the history of Jerusalem. Of course, this also reads Christians out of the history of Jerusalem, as important parts of Jesus’ life would be necessarily untrue without a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
Whether you believe the biblical accounts of history or not, the Temple is simply not up for argumentation. It existed. Aside from the extensive archaeological record on and around the Mount itself (and elsewhere throughout Israel), documentation exists from other contemporaneous cultures.
The problem is that we’re left to argue fact and history with people who have no interest in either. Palestinian leadership has demonstrated multiple times – as with Mahmoud Abbas’ frequent denials of the Holocaust – that it is willing to tell any falsehood and deny any fact in pursuit of its vendetta against the Jewish people.
According to Palestinian leadership, there is no place in Jerusalem for anyone but Muslims. According to the State of Israel, all holy places are to be protected and worshippers to be accorded freedom to worship. You tell us: whose Jerusalem sounds better?