Is Israel Forgetting Jerusalem?
Dr. Steve Carol
"If I forget thee,
O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not
remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth;
prefer not Jerusalem above my highest joy."
In July 2000, at Camp David, then
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, offered one-half of Jerusalem,
the Temple Mount, to the Palestinian terror master, Yasir Arafat.
Arafat said "no" and launched the second intifada.
Under the concept of "limited liability war" the
Arabs waged war, the intifada, basically lost, and now "return" to
negotiate, with increased demands, knowing that the Israelis
have already offered half of sacred Jerusalem to them. Now the
Arab demands have escalated.
As if to add gasoline to the already
burning fire, during an election rally in Khan Yunis in the
Gaza Strip, Ismail
Hania, the leading Hamas candidate in the Palestinian Authority
elections, called for Jerusalem to be a "united capital" —
not of Israel but of the future second Palestinian state. A second
Palestinian state that will extend from the River Jordan to the
Mediterranean Sea. In short the Arabs want the entire city of
Jerusalem and no Israel whatsoever!
Hamas candidate Hania also said
that if elected, the terror group would stick to its policy
of jihad, or holy
war against the Jewish state. Hania stated further that there
would be "no negotiations with Israel, just the barrel of
the gun, the only language Israel understands."
Hania, and members of Hamas, the
other terrorist groups, the PA and the Arab world in general,
believe that (his
words)"the Zionist enterprise is beginning to collapse.
The next phase is the disintegration and withdrawal of the occupation,
and the rise of eternal Islam and the eternal Islamic nation."
Add to all of this the repeated
threats of late, from the Iranian President Ahmadinejad to "wipe Israel off
the map!" and Israel faces grave and immediate existential
To make matters still worse, the US government,
led by the State Department, pressed Israel to allow Arabs in
Jerusalem to vote in the recent PA elections. Adding his voice,
President George W. Bush, not only urged Israel to allow the
Jerusalem Arabs the right to vote, but pressed Israel to allow
Al-Fatah to campaign in the city for their candidates. It should
not be forgotten that Al-Fatah was the chief component of the
Palestine Liberation Organization and its list of bloody violence
and murder is very long. The Israeli government bowed to these
THE U.S. State Department continue to press Israel for further
concessions? Why must
Israel allow terrorist
groups to vote in its own capital for another government in a
yet to be created state? It has been Israel that has been making
all the tangible concessions, including territory, since the
start of the so-called "Oslo peace process." Where
is the U.S. pressure on the Arab side to implement, a nearly
13 year old promise to "stop terrorism."? That has
not been done.
Despite all its claims of Jerusalem
being the "undivided
and united capital of Israel" actual deeds show that Israel
is conceding that the "Palestinians" have a claim to
part of that city. And the walls of division will go up again.
At the recent Herzliya conference
in Israel, there was a full-fledged attack on a United Jerusalem
launched by Israelis
of the left and their "Israeli" Arab supporters, who
claim that a division of Jerusalem is prerequisite for peace.
Ironically this is the same conference at which, two years ago,
Prime Minister Sharon declared his policy of pulling-out of Gaza.
Fatah, the perpetrator of so many
bloody attacks on Israel (directly or in its various guises
of "Black September," "Al
Aqsa Brigades," etc.) was legally allowed to campaign. Hamas
was supposedly barred from campaigning, but the Arabs voted for
it anyway. And Hamas won the election.
The current Israeli government pretended
that these were "absentee votes" but the Arabs in Jerusalem voted
in the post offices and cast their ballots into boxes at those
same post offices. Think of it, Arabs in Israeli Jerusalem voting
for a non-existent state’s "legislature"! International
observers witness this. Will they now claim it as proof that
Israel, de facto accepts an "Arab Jerusalem" as the
capital of the future second "Palestinian" state?
Will Jews again, be forbidden to go to the Western
Wall and other holy sites in Judea-Samaria (Temple Mount, Cave
of the Patriarchs in Hebron, the Tomb of Joseph and the Tomb
of Rachel, etc.) and face the same discrimination and desecrations
that they faced for nineteen years (1949-1967) under the Jordanians?
JULY 1970, I visited the Temple Mount. I freely moved about the
entire plaza, knowing
that this was
Holy ground for all Jews. I was neither bothered nor harassed.
Neither were the other non-Muslims who had entered freely from
the ramp leading up from the Western Wall to the Mount itself.
I saw the Tomb of King Abdullah I of Jordan, and visited both
Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The Waqf (who were given
the control of the Temple Mount by Israeli General Moshe Dayan,
in a "peace gesture") even granted me permission to
photograph inside the Dome of the Rock and I was given explanations
of the key parts of each, including the site where King Abdullah
I was assassinated by an Islamic extremist, while his young grandson,
the future King Hussein stood by his side. The Muslims were very
deferential, for they still respected Israeli military might
from the war three years earlier.
There was no real problem with the
Temple Mount until after the so-called Oslo "peace process" began.
Rock throwing (we speak of chunks of Jerusalem stone) from the
Mount down to the Western Wall below, began. Tourists were subject
to delay or being barred from access. All Jewish religious activity
was forbidden. And the Israeli government went along with that.
United Jerusalem was the biblical capital of the
first two Jewish states. It became the united capital of the
modern State of Israel, by two wars of liberation. Both wars,
in 1947-1949 and again in 1967 were launched by the aggression
of the Arabs. Israel merely defended itself. In the first, Israel
regained control of the western section of the city. It would
have gained total control but Jordan’s King Abdullah, listening
to his British advisers, agreed to an armistice before he lost
For nineteen years thereafter eastern Jerusalem
was under Jordanian occupation and illegally annexed. Jordan
violated (with the world silent) those same 1949 armistice agreements,
which provided for free access to all the Jewish religious sites
in the Old City, including the Western Wall, and beyond, including
the Mount of Olives Cemetery. The Old Jewish Quarter of the city
was totally desecrated and destroyed.
In June 1967, despite Israeli appeals, via three
different routes, the Jordanians attacked and lost the control
of the city that they illegally occupied in 1949. Thus the eastern
portion of the city was liberated in June 1967 only after Jordan
attacked Israel. It was then proclaimed on two occasions the
united capital of Israel.
It is unprecedented that the winner
of a defensive war against aggression would give the loser,
the aggressor, concessions.
Yet this is what was done, by the Israeli government, by granting
the Waqf the authority to run the Temple Mount. It was hoped
at the time that the Arabs would "pick up the phone and
finally agree to make peace." It proved to be a desert mirage.
No peace and with a concession in hand, the Arabs would demand
more. That has been the pattern ever since.
Contrast continual tangible Israeli
peace gestures, including the return of territory, to those
that attacked it,
with what happened to Germany, Italy, and Japan after World War
II. Germany, was stripped not only of its conquests, but also
reduced in size, with territory given to both the then Soviet
Union and Poland. Italy was shorn of all colonies, as well as
territory (the Dodecanese Islands). Japan was stripped of all
its empire as well as some of its "home territory," namely
the Kurile and Ryukyu Islands.
The Arab states who have launched
or provoked 6 major "big" wars against Israel, in
their continual 125 year war against the Jewish people in their
have suffered no such penalties — ever!
CLEARLY, ISRAELI CONCESSIONS have NOT brought peace
or anything approaching peace.
There should be no more concessions, and certainly
no retreat from Jerusalem. Jerusalem, all of it, is Israel’s
capital. Religious rights for all in the city yes, but not political
control by the Arabs. U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s
undivided capital is long overdue. The immediate moving of the
US Embassy (as already called for by the US Congress) from Tel
Aviv to Jerusalem should take place. This will send a clear signal
to the Arabs that the United States supports Israel’s position
in Jerusalem and that Jerusalem’s political status is NOT negotiable,
us remember the words of Psalm 137 and not forget thee "O
Steve Carol is author of "Israel’s Foreign Policy in East
Official Historian "Middle East Radio Forum",
and Senior Fellow, Center for Advanced Middle East Studies, Scottsdale, Arizona.