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PATV: Israel conspired to burn Al-Aqsa Mosque, Golda Meir "laughed"

1 January, 2005

The Palestinian Authority (PA) regularly invents and disseminates distorted versions of history that present Israelis as villains and Palestinians as victims. One of the most prominent examples, which receives great attention every year and has been featured on PATV this week, rewrites history by blaming Israel for a 1969 arson attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

On Aug. 21, 1969,  a non-Jewish Australian named Michael Rohan set fire to the podium of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israel arrested and tried the mentally deranged arsonist.
For years, the PA has been portraying this as a Zionist attack on the mosque. This week, a special program dedicated to the issue described the incident as a premeditated attack by the Israeli government. According to this broadcast, Israel conspired with the arsonist, then deliberately allowed the fire to spread by delaying the arrival of fire engines and cutting off water to the site.

The PA version of events -- this week and in previous years -- also states that then-Prime Minister Golda Meir referred to the fire as both the "hardest" and "happiest" day of Israel's history: the hardest because she feared the incident would lead to an attack by neighboring Arab countries, and the happiest because such an attack never occurred. One account from 2001 even claimed that Meir "laughed" when there was no attack.

The following are excerpts from this week's broadcasts and one from last year, demonstrating the systematic repetition of the libel:
Taissir Rajab Al-Tamimi, the Chief of Judges, and the chairman of the Islamic law high council in the Palestinian Authority:
"The Israeli government conspired and formed an alliance with this criminal -- who came from Australia, and is a Jew -- for the burning of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque. On August 21st, 1968, a year before the burning of the Mosque, he came to the Mosque and tried to burn it. He inserted the [flammable] substances to burn the Mosque, but the guards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque prevented it. The Israeli government expelled him to Australia."

Dr. Hassan Khater, founder of the Al-Quds encyclopedia: "This happened in '68?"

Taissir Tamimi: "In '68. A year later on the same date, on August 21st, 1969, this criminal arrived and set fire to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque. This is why we claim that the Israeli government is the planner and executer. The area burned by the fire, which included a large portion of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, confirms that the one who committed this catastrophic action is not [Australian] Michael Rohan, as claimed, but a number of people . . . There is a lot of evidence pointing to the fact that Israel is the one that planned the burning, [including] the delay of the fire engines to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque. If it were not [for the delay] of the fire engines from Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, and other cities in the West Bank, the fire would not have spread to the whole mosque. . . One piece of evidence that clarifies that the Israeli government participated in the event is that it shut down the water to the Al-Aqsa Mosque."

 [PATV special broadcast, Aug. 23, 2004]

Ibrahim Mudayris, a PA religious leader: "About 35 years ago the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque was set to burn by an oppressing Zionist terrorist."

[PATV Friday sermon, Aug. 20, 2004] 

Mudayris: "On this day the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque was subjected to the cursed fire by the treachery of the Zionist oppressors . . .  On August 21st, 1969, it was set afire by a Zionist gang.

[PATV Friday sermon, Aug. 15, 2003]

The following are fictitious accounts, from this week's broadcast and from previous years, of Golda Meir's reaction to the burning of the mosque:

Taissir Tamimi: "When the Al-Aqsa Mosque burned on August 21st, 1969, Golda Meir, the Israeli Prime Minister at the time, said that the hardest day that the Zionist Entity ever had was the day of the burning of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and that was also the happiest day. How is this? She assumed that the Islamic Nation would move the armies and they would all come to Israel... but in the evening the Nation turned to the Security Council . . . "

[PATV special broadcast, Aug. 23, 2004]

Ibrahim Mudayris:"When the accursed Golda Meir was asked what were the hardest days of her life, she answered, 'The day the Al-Aqsa mosque was burned.' And when asked for the happiest day of her life, she answered, 'The day the Al-Aqsa mosque was burned.' They asked her, 'How can this be?'  She said, 'The day the Al-Aqsa mosque was burnt I thought that [we have come to the] last day of the state of Israel, but when I saw the Muslim responses, I understood that Israel is safe in the region of the Arab world.'"

[PATV Friday sermon, Aug. 20, 2004]

Mudayris: When the Mosque burned, an old woman was prime minister of the Zionist Entity. Her name was Golda Meir. She controlled the Zionist Entity, and when she heard that a gang of Zionists dared to burn the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, she clapped her hands [in sorrow] and mourned the [bad luck] of Israel, for she assumed that the Muslims and Arabs would hurry instantly to liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the hands of the Zionist Entity."

[PATV Friday sermon, Aug. 15, 2003]

Dr. Ismail Radwan, lecturer at the Islamic University of Gaza: "The incident of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the burning of the Sallh [Al-Din] podium remind us of what Golda Meir did, Allah's curse be upon her, when she cried on the first day of the burning of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and laughed on the next. When asked about it she said,'I cried on the first day fearing that the Muslims will act, in fear of a worldwide Muslim action for Al-Aqsa. But when the Muslims did not act, and all I heard the next day were calls of condemnation, I laughed about it.'"

[PATV Friday sermon, Aug. 17, 2001]
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