Khaled Abu Toameh, Arab Affairs correspondent for The Jerusalem Post, reported that the Palestinian Authority’s chief Islamic judge, Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, has formally announced that that there was no evidence to back up claims that Jews had ever lived in Jerusalem or that the Temple ever existed.Tamimi claimed that Israeli archeologists have “admitted” that Jerusalem was never inhabited by Jews. Tamimi’s statement came in response to statements made earlier this week by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who said that Jerusalem “is not a settlement,” and that “the Jews built it 3,000 years ago.”

“Netanyahu’s claims are baseless and untrue,” said Tamimi, the highest religious authority in the Palestinian Authority. “Jerusalem is an Arab and Islamic city and it always has been so.”

Tamimi claimed that all excavation work conducted by Israel after 1967 has “failed to prove that Jews had a history or presence in Jerusalem or that their ostensible temple had ever existed.”

He condemned Netanyahu and “all Jewish rabbis and extremist organizations” as liars because of their assertion that Jerusalem was a Jewish city. Tamimi accused Israel of distorting the facts and forging history “with the aim of erasing the Arab and Islamic character of Jerusalem.” He also accused Israel of launching an “ethnic cleansing” campaign to squeeze Arabs out of the city.

“By desecrating its holy sites, expelling its Arab residents and demolishing their homes and confiscating their lands and building settlements in Jerusalem, Israel is seeking, through the use of weapons, to turn it into a Jewish city,” he said. “This is a flagrant violation of all religious, legal, moral and human values.”

In another development, Hamas on Wednesday rejected the political platform of the Palestinian Authority’s Prime Minister, Salaam Fayad.The platform, which was published on Tuesday, pledges that the Fayad government would work toward establishing a de facto Palestinian state within two years even if no agreement was reached with Israel. The platformtalks about peaceful resistance against Israeli “occupation.” The two Islamic groups said in response that the only way to establish a state was through “armed struggle.” They said that Fayad’s plan was unrealistic and unclear, adding that it would be impossible to establish a state “under occupation.”

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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