I cannot believe I (and everyone else) missed this story in Al Arabiya last month:
A former Palestinian official involved in the Oslo negotiations affirmed that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had been assassinated because he was convinced that Solomon’s Temple, also known as The First Temple, was actually located in Yemen and not in Jerusalem.
Hassan Asfour added in his interview with the political program Political Memories, which will be broadcasted later this week on the Al Arabiya News Channel in a sit-down interview with Senior Anchor Taher Barakeh, that Arafat informed Israeli negotiators of his convictions when they demanded him to give the right of sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
Asfour said that Arafat rejected the demand and said to them: “For peace I could give you the right to build a temple in Nablus but not in Jerusalem since the Jews have been present in Yemen and not in Jerusalem”.
In the upcoming episode of the program, Asfour quotes Shlomo Ben-Ami and Amnon Shahak‘s response: “Arafat denied our history and culture, and whoever does this can no longer exist among us”.
He tells Al Arabiya that these words precipitated Arafat’s assassination and expressing his conviction that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s leader had been in fact assassinated, regardless of the means by which it was achieved.
According to Dennis Ross, Arafat denied that the Temple was in Jerusalem and said it was in Nablus.
The idea that ancient Jews lived in Yemen instead of Israel has popped up from time to time, including on Palestinian TV.
It is of course not only ludicrous to think that the Israeli negotiators would say that Arafat must die for saying something absurd, but to think that they said it within earshot of the Palestinian negotiators is insanity.
But Arabs love their conspiracy theories.
(h/t Bill P.)
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