Palestinians Reject Jewish History in Jerusalem, But Other Arab Leaders Don't

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 |  Ryan Jones

One of the reasons that Arab support for the Palestinian cause is starting to wane is the outlandish nature of key Palestinian Authority positions.

Western power brokers are no longer willing to swallow claims such as today's Palestinian Arabs being direct descendants of the Canaanites, or that the Jews have no history in this land.

Already in 2000, former US President Bill Clinton was critical of deceased Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for telling him the Jewish people had no connection to Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

And yet, Arafat's disciple, current Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, continues to peddle such assertions.

Speaking last week to a gathering of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Council in Ramallah, Abbas called Israel a "colonial project that has nothing to do with Jews."

Amid a rising sea of extremism, more moderate Arab leaders are starting to sound a more, well, moderate tone. And that includes on matters such as Jewish history in Jerusalem.

In the course of scolding visiting US Vice President Mike Pence over the timing of President Donald Trump's public recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Jordan's King Abdullah II nevertheless acknowledged the important Jewish connection to the city.

"Jerusalem is [as] key to Muslims and Christians as it is to Jews," Abdullah said, according to reports on the meeting that took place in Amman this week.

Twenty years ago, it would've been much more difficult to find a top Arab leader willing to publicly admit that the Jews had any connection to Jerusalem, let alone one that was at least as important as the Muslim connection.

Abbas is still denying it.

And that is to the detriment of all Palestinians. Because, as the region increasingly divides between the extremists and those fighting them, it appears more and more that the Palestinian Authority is on the side of the extremists, and nations like Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia don't want to find themselves guilty by association.

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