Once again demonstrating his penchant for theatrics, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas last month made an impassioned call to the Arab world to stop the insidious Jewish plot to rebuilt the Jewish Temple in its historic location - Jerusalem's Temple Mount.
In an interview with Saudi Arabia's Al-Watan daily newspaper, Abbas was asked to comment on the notion that "Jewish organizations are making frantic efforts, both visible and hidden, to complete the Judaizing of the Al-Aqsa [Mosque] and to take control of it, especially following the recurring invasions of Al-Aqsa and the attacks on worshipers."
It can only be assumed that the interviewer was referring to incidents of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount committing the hideous crime of saying prayers to anyone other than Allah.
But Abbas understood him to also be talking about what he called the "dangerous excavations Israel is conducting" in the vicinity of the Temple Mount, excavations that constantly bring to light further evidence of the city's and the holy site's rich Jewish history.
"All these actions indicate an evil and dangerous plot to destroy Al-Aqsa and build the alleged Temple," insisted Abbas. "Unfortunately, these dangers, which are clear for everyone to see, have yet to receive proper Arab, Islamic and international responses."
Palestinian Media Watch, which translated the interview, noted that Abbas' use of the term "alleged Temple" is part of an ongoing and systematic effort by the Palestinian Authority to erase Jewish history, and therefore claims to sovereignty, in Jerusalem.
Abbas is held aloft as a "moderate" leader by most in the West. His predecessor, Yasser Arafat, was not. In fact, one of the things that most convinced former US President Bill Clinton of Arafat's extremism was his open refusal to accept that the Temple Mount had once been home to the biblical Temple, and was therefore important to Jews.
One must wonder why Abbas is treated any differently when he holds the same extreme position?