A Palestinian academic has claimed that there is no archaeological evidence to back up the Biblical account of ancient Jewish sanctuaries on the Temple Mount.
Dr. Ghassan Weshah, head of history and archaeology at the Islamic University of Gaza, alleged there was no temple on the holy hill before the construction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 711 AD.
“One of the biggest lies of the Zionists with regard to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is that it was built on the ruins of the Temple, which was destroyed on August 21, 586 BCE,” he told Gaza-based newspaper Felesteen, as translated by Breaking Israel News.
“This is a false statement. There is no other building under the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
“Engineering scientists said that what is under the Al-Aqsa Mosque are sedimentary stones from the Canaanite period and they never talked about any rubble,” he noted, adding that the “Zionists” failed to find evidence of Jewish temples under the Al-Aqsa Mosque despite excavations.
“Facts refute all the promises mentioned in the Torah are proof that they are lies,” he said. “It affirms that Palestine is Arab land and is part of the Arabian Peninsula, where the [Palestinians] settled thousands of years before the Jews.”
The biblical account of the First Temple is contested to date, although archaeologists from the Temple Mount Sifting Project have discovered ancient Hebrew inscriptions and other artefacts dating back to the 10th century BC – suggesting that the temple did exist.
There is more consensus on the existence of the Second Temple; examples of surviving evidence are the Trumpeting Place inscription (1st century AD, discovered in 1968) and the Temple Warning inscription (1st century BC or 1st century AD, discovered in 1871).
Despite the fact that Quran also references both Temples, Palestinian scholars sometimes dispute the notion of their existence – or assume that they stood not on the Temple Mount.
The Temple Mount is a hill in East Jerusalem that is considered one of the holiest places in both Judaism and Islam. It is a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with both nations laying overlapping historical claims to the site.
It is under the autonomous administration of the Waqf, the Islamic religious trust. Only Muslims are allowed to pray there while non-Muslims are allowed to visit the site. Religious tensions frequently flare at the Temple Mount, and Israeli authorities sometimes restrict access to the location to prevent violent confrontations.