The official Palestinian position – registered in the Palestinian National Charter posted by the United Nation – is that “the claims of historic and spiritual ties between Jews and Palestine are not in agreement with the facts of history or with the true basis of sound statehood.” At the Camp David summit in 2000, then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat unsettled President Clinton by denying that there had ever been a Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, has repeatedly and explicitly lashed out against suggestions that Jews have links to Jerusalem, a city mentioned by name 669 times in Hebrew scripture and which has had a Jewish majority at least as far back as the 1800s.
The Palestinian stance aligns uneasily with a number of recent archaeological finds supporting the theory that there is in fact a historical connection between Jews and Israel in general, and Jews and Jerusalem specifically. These finds include inscriptions and maybe even a palace from the time of King David.
Earlier this week archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar announced the finding of a treasure on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The find – which included a golden seven-branched menorah dating to the seventh century – was hailed by Israeli officials up to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
“This is a magnificent discovery. Nationally, it attests to the ancient Jewish presence and to the sanctity of the place; this is as clear as the sun and it is tremendous. It is interesting that even then, over 500 years after the destruction of the Second Temple, we see the menorah in an original illustration. This is historic testimony, of the highest order, to the Jewish People’s link to Jerusalem, to its land and to its heritage. This is very moving. This find is the essence of our heritage – menorah, shofar, Torah scroll. The essence of the Jewish People could not be any more succinct and clear. This is a wonderful gift to the Jewish People. Thank you.”