Was the Annapolis Conference a gathering of moderate Arabs? The Arab/Muslim attitude toward Jerusalem provides a documented answer.
According to Dr. Mordechai Kedar, an expert on Islamic and Arab studies at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (Makor Rishon weekly, Nov. 23, 2007):
- Since the 7th century, Jerusalem has been a tactical means to achieve the strategic goal of Islam: subjugation of, rather than coexistence with, Christianity and Judaism. Islam has embraced Jerusalem, precisely due to Jerusalem’s centrality in Judaism, and Islam’s attempt to disrobe Judaism of its legitimacy. Islam proclaims that Mohammed ascended to heaven, joined by Abraham, Moses, Aharon and Jesus, who prayed behind him, thus accepting Islam’s suzerainty. Hence, the Moslem belief that Mohammed gained legitimacy and prophecy forfeited by Judaism and Christianity; hence the pattern of building mosques on top of synagogues, churches and monasteries, and hence the invalidity of any Jewish claim to Jerusalem.
- Currently, Jerusalem is a tactical means to achieve the strategic goal of the Palestinian leadership: undermining the legitimacy – and the eventual destruction – of the Jewish State, as a prerequisite to the attainment of Palestinian “national rights.” A sovereign Jewish entity on one hand, and Palestinian rights and Moslem principles on the other hand, constitute a Moslem oxymoron.
- Jerusalem was never a Muslim capital, not even a regional capital (a title reserved for Ramleh), was never visited by Mohammed, is not mentioned in the Koran and does not serve as the direction for Muslim prayers.
- Jerusalem has been a political tool, employed by Muslim leaders to excite followers, but then relegated to political marginality. Mohammed used Jerusalem, in order to attract support by the prominent Jewish tribes of Khaybar, and then shifted his focus to Mecca and Medina. The Damascus caliphs adopted Jerusalem as a pilgrimage site during the rivalry with Mecca. Saladin inflamed anti-Crusaders spirit by brandishing the cause of Jerusalem in the 12th century. Currently, the Arabs use Jerusalem as a dagger against the Jewish State.
Will US and Israeli policy-makers ignore the role of Jerusalem in Islam? Will they allow wishful-thinking to triumph – once again – over realism, thus jeopardizing the future of Jerusalem, and advancing the strategic goals of Islam and the Palestinians?