JERUSALEM, Israel - Most world leaders have already forgotten the "spontaneous" speech by Palestinian Authority official Sheikh Taysir al-Tamimi, given May 11.
The sheikh unleashed a six-minute condemnation of Israel at an interfaith gathering of religious leaders meeting with the Pope.
With zealous passion, he spoke of the crimes against his beleaguered people, referring to Israel as "the enemy occupier of Palestinian land."
Al-Tamimi ignored half-hearted efforts by a few in the audience to stop him. Afterward, according to eyewitnesses, he took the Pope's hand before returning to his seat.
A True Voice for Muslims?
Some will think of the sheikh as a religious fanatic and not a true voice of the moderate Muslims in the Palestinian Authority.
Others will readily excuse him because he voiced the frustration of the Arab people, commonly referred to as Palestinians - a term coined from the name Palestine, which now refers to the portion of Israel envisioned as a separate Arab state.
Most of today's "Palestinians" are descendents of migrant Arab laborers who came to Israel from many surrounding Muslim countries, seeking work from Jews reclaiming the land in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Two Key Facts Ignored
Two important components of al-Tamimi's speech were, for the most part, buried by the media.
First, many of his facts were simply untrue.
"Israel destroyed our home, exiled our people, built settlements, ruined Moslem holy sites, and slaughtered women, children, and elderly citizens of Gaza," the sheikh said, in reference to the Israel Defense Forces' three-week military incursion in the Gaza Strip last January.
However, in April, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-General Gabi Ashkenazi released a full report of five investigative teams, which examined allegations of troop misconduct in the Gaza operation.
The terror infrastructure, both in Gaza and in Judea and Samaria (known as the West Bank), has always been strategically placed within residential areas.
In the Gaza Strip, Hamas forces fought from inside homes, schools, hospitals and mosques.
The mosques that came under fire by the IDF were doubling as explosive labs and weapons storehouses.
PA Government Official
Second, and perhaps more important, is that Sheikh al-Tamini is an officially sanctioned representative of the PA government.
He is the head of the PA's Sharia (Islamic) Courts, indicating that the PA sanctions Sharia law - the same law followed by other Islamic terror groups, including Hamas, the Taliban, and Hezbollah. (Read more here.)
The Pakistani government recently bartered with the Taliban to sanction Sharia law in certain provinces in return for laying down its arms, which never happened. The Taliban simply extended its control of Pakistan - now an estimated 40 percent of the country.
'Moderate' Palestinian Leaders
While world leaders call the leaders of the Palestinian Authority government "moderate," some may question if their credentials merit the term.
For example, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose doctoral thesis sought to disprove the efficacy of the Nazi Holocaust, served some 30 years at the right hand of the late Yasser Arafat.
Like his mentor, Abbas often says one thing to the English-speaking world and quite another to his constituency and colleagues in Arab League member nations.
Also, the PLO - the Palestine Liberation Organization - is the foundation upon which the PA was established.
Yet, the PA carefully presents itself as a moderate entity only wanting its due - an independent state carved out of Israel's biblical heartland - Judea and Samaria, renamed the "West Bank" decades ago, a term meant to separate the area from the rest of Israel.
Recognizing a Jewish State
Abbas has steadfastly refused to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, which might well make the two-state solution touted by world leaders an illusion.
Without recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, something even the UN recognized, does the PA envision, in the long term, "two states for two peoples living side-by-side in peace?"
Might Sheikh al-Tamimi's impassioned speech, translated for the Pope, offer a window into the heart of the PA government, evidenced at least in part by the round of applause given him by some of those present?
And could his diatribe represent a voice exposing the PA's real agenda, which is not peace with Israel, but Israel "piece by piece?"
Islam teaches that any land once conquered must never be returned to the infidels.
Thus in their view, Israel, having been ruled for centuries by the Ottoman Empire, must be reclaimed for Allah.
Is this then, the real agenda of the Palestinian Authority and what the nations of the world are demanding, irrespective of the facts on the ground?
And finally did the Pope realize what it might mean when he added his endorsement to the establishment of a Palestinian state?