Palestinians often hear from their leaders that a Muslim holy site in Jerusalem, al-Aksa mosque, is in danger of collapse – and the Jews are to blame. Whether printed in cartoons, preached in mosques or taught in schools, the lie is accepted as common knowledge across the Arab world. Millions of Muslims accept it as truth. The message is clear: Jews seek to expel the Arabs from Jerusalem.
This lie is nothing new. For the past century, Palestinian leaders have told the “Al-Aksa is in danger” lie in order to incite their people to attack Jews. It is important to expose and counter this fabrication because it remains a spark that can lead to bloodshed.
Nadav Shragai, a veteran journalist and Jerusalem expert, has written the authoritative study on the history of the lie.
Below are five facts that you should know about al-Aksa:
1. Political cartoons in major newspapers throughout the Arab world accuse Israel of seeking to undermine and destroy the Dome of the Rock and al-Aksa Mosque.
2. In fact, Muslim construction in an area under the mosques, known as Solomon’s Stables, endangers the foundation and destroys archaeological treasures.
3. For the past century, Palestinian leaders have denied the existence of a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and accused Israel of planning attacks on the mosques.
4. The archaeological digs that Israel has conducted over the years near the Temple Mount, far from the mosques, are a laudable scientific and cultural endeavor.
5. Since liberating Jerusalem in 1967 from Jordanian occupation, Israel has protected religious sites of all faiths and ensured freedom of worship for all peoples.