: Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has turned around Palestinian Authority efforts to erase evidence of Jewish roots of the Temple Mount and accuses Israel of trying to remove Jerusalem’s Arab and Christian character.
He spoke at the Arab League-sponsored Jerusalem International Conference in Doha, Qatar, whose ruler kicked off the conference by saying that Israel’s Jewish development in and around the capital threatens the capital’s Arab identity.
Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani called on the United Nations to investigate what he called Israeli settlements, and he pledged support for unity between Abbas’s Fatah party and the rival Hamas terrorist organization.
The U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, is scheduled to address the three-day conference.
Abbas charged Israel with “using the ugliest and most dangerous means to implement plans to erase and remove the Arab-Islamic and the Christian character of east Jerusalem,” according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.
He charged that Israel’s alleged apartheid wall has isolated Arabs from Jerusalem and said that Arabs find it “almost impossible” to enter because of the lack of permits. In fact, thousands of Arabs from Judea and Samaria enter Jerusalem every day.
Abbas’s call for an Arab march on Jerusalem follows a campaign the past several years of trying to remove artifacts that would show the origins of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, as recorded in the Bible.
Dozens of Palestinian Authority clerics have denied any Jewish connection to the holy site, and the Muslim custodians at the Temple Mount have used backhoes and tractors tor remove tons of dirt that might contain Jewish artifacts.
Abbas said, “Jerusalem belongs to all of us and no one can stop us from accessing it.”
Jewish archaeologists have retrieved hundreds of priceless artifacts with the aid of volunteers who patiently sift through the tons of dirt that was discarded by the Muslim construction workers. Many of the artifacts have repeatedly provided proof of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem during the period of the Second Temple, more than 2,000 years ago.
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