JERUSALEM, Israel -- According to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Jews are "occupiers" of Jerusalem, with no historical connection to "the city that will forever be Arabic, Islamic, and Christian."
Abbas made his remarks in a statement marking an incident 43 years ago when a fanatic Australian named Denis Michael Rohan, who called himself "the Lord's emissary," set fire to the al-Aksa mosque on the Temple Mount.
In terminology borrowed from Israel's description of Jerusalem as the eternal, undivided capital of the Jewish people, Abbas warned there would be "no peace or stability before our beloved city and eternal capital is liberated from occupation and settlement."
So whose "beloved city" and "eternal capital" is Jerusalem? Is it a city that "will forever be Arabic and Islamic?" And what does "Christian" mean to Abbas? Does he have an understanding of God's heart as revealed in the Bible?
Herein lies the rub: the Jewish connection to Jerusalem is based on the Word of God, which has little bearing on anyone for whom the Bible is not historically true.
In the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament), Jerusalem is mentioned by name 623 times and in the Old Testament, 669 times, not including many references to the city using other terminology. Compare that with the Koran, Islam's holy book, which does not name Jerusalem even once.
The unbridgeable gap between the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and Islamic claims on Israel's capital undermine a potential two-state solution. Abbas' heated Islamic rhetoric on Judaism's holy city brings a prophetic word recorded thousands of years ago closer than ever to fulfillment.
About 2,500 years ago, the prophet Zechariah, whose name means "God remembered," said the day would come when Jerusalem would be the focal point of the nations of the world.
Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. (Zech. 12:2-3)
The Palestinian Liberation Organization has always had as its goal the "liberation" of Israel and its capital, Jerusalem, from the "Zionist occupiers." In some ways they can't help themselves because their religion teaches that once any land has been under Islamic rule, it must never be yielded to any other people -- Christians, Jews, or anyone else.
Some have called Islam the "ultimate replacement theology" -- and so it would seem. Christian replacement theology alleges that the Church has replaced Israel, while Islamic replacement theology teaches that Islam and the Koran replaces Judaism, Christianity and everything else.
The goal of Islamists is domination of every society they've infiltrated. Even a cursory look back over the past few decades show they've made considerable progress toward that goal in many European countries and even in America, which from its inception defined itself as a nation founded on Judeo-Christian ethics.
Successive Israeli governments have sought workable solutions that would bring peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs and there have been some real success stories.
But until the Palestinian Arab leadership accepts Israel as the modern nation-state of the Jewish people, with an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, the quest for peace will continue to be stymied.