By STEPHEN KRAMER
October 2, 2009
Shamekh Alawneh, a lecturer in modern history at Al-Quds Open University (Al-Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem), says the Jews invented the connection to the Western Wall in Jerusalem for political purposes, to convince European Jews and Zionists to come to Palestine. "The [Jews'] goal in giving the name 'Wailing Wall' to this [Western] Wall is political . . . The Jewish Zionists had no choice but to invent an excuse [about Jerusalem] to spread among the Zionists or the Jews in Europe, to connect to something concrete from the past about Jerusalem. The Zionists made false claims and called the 'Al-Burak Wall' the 'Wailing Wall.' "
(The "Al-Burak Wall" is the site where, according to Islamic tradition, Ibrahim was ordered to sacrifice Ishmael and Muhammad rode his steed Burak to Heaven. Islam appropriated the Biblical tradition of Abraham and Isaac and adapted it for its own purposes.)
Tayseer Tamimi, PA chief religious justice opines: "I know of Muslim and Christian holy sites in [Jerusalem]. I don't know of any Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem."
The above quotes are from the Palestinian Media Watch website: www.palwatch.org.
Rabbi Joseph Katz has written: "The Arabic name for Jerusalem is 'Al-Quds' (The Holy), which is abbreviation for another Arabic name used for Jerusalem from the 10th century until the last century, 'Bayt al- Maqdes' (The Holy House). The name 'Bayt al-Maqdes' is a translation of the Hebrew 'Beyt ha-Mikdash,' which means 'House of Holiness' or 'Temple.' But Islam has no Temple, only the Jews did. Thus the Arabic name for Jerusalem makes no reference to Muhammad's alleged trip to Heaven, but rather refers to the Jewish Temple!"
In fact, significant Islamic interest in the Temple Mount dates only from the 20th century: Jerusalem doesn't even rate a mention in the Koran. It was only in 1917 that Faisal el Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem who later became Hitler's ally, proclaimed Jerusalem to be the third holiest site in Islam. In the 1960s Palestinian terrorist leader Yasser Arafat, with the full support of the Arab nations, echoed the mufti's declaration. After the Six-Day War of 1967, when Israel liberated the Old City, Muslim propaganda about the Jews, the Temple Mount and Jerusalem burgeoned.
Dateline August 9, 2009, the Sixth Fatah Conference: "President Mahmoud Abbas' ruling Fatah faction adopted a position paper that states that the Palestinian national enterprise will not reach fruition until all of Jerusalem, including the outlying villages, come under Palestinian sovereignty. 'Fatah will continue to sacrifice victims until Jerusalem will be returned [to the Palestinians], clean of settlements and settlers,' the paper states. . . . [it] makes no distinction between 'the eastern and western halves of the capital, nor does it distinguish between the territories within the Israeli side of the Green Line and the areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.' . . . The paper clearly states that no Palestinian leader is allowed to give up parts of Jerusalem." (www.poligazette.com)
"I think everyone knows what the basic outlines of an [Israeli- Palestinian final status] agreement would look like," President Obama opined while campaigning for the presidency, repeating what many others have said. But Arabs don't agree with this consensus view, which assumes that Palestinians will moderate their demands for Jerusalem and for the "right of return" of Palestinian "refugees" to Israel, and Israel will trade land for peace, including parts of Jerusalem. Fatah has proclaimed its red lines to the Palestinians and to more than a billion Muslims. It won't be easy for them to back down from their demands, even if they want to.
It's not just the Palestinians who want to limit the Jewish presence in Jerusalem. Israel has plenty of Jewish citizens who may not agree with all the Palestinian statements, but their actions implement our adversary's agenda and undercut Israel's legitimacy. For one example, take Ir Amim, which is an Israeli non-profit, (so-called) non-partisan organization that concerns itself with Israeli- Palestinian relations in Jerusalem and the political future of the city. Its main activity is to protest against Jews moving to mostly-Arab neighbourhoods in the Israeli capital.
"Bearing in mind the symbolic and actual status of Jerusalem as a city of two peoples and three religions, as well as the city's pivotal role in reaching a political agreement, Ir Amim aspires to a stable Jerusalem, equitably shared by the two peoples; a city that ensures the dignity and welfare of all its residents and that safeguards their holy places, as well as their historical and cultural heritages." (www.ir-amim.co.il)
Ir Amim's position illustrates the problem with well-intentioned but naive, supposedly non-partisan NGOs (nongovernmental organizations). Ir Amim wants to share Jerusalem with the Palestinians who won't even acknowledge that Jews have an historic connection with Judaism's most holy city. In fact, the Palestinians won't settle for less than all of Jerusalem.
Ir Amim director-general Yehudit Oppenheimer said on August 28, "The addition of 150 housing units for settlers in areas [of Jerusalem] that constitute the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is likely to thwart all future opportunities for a political solution. In a number of cases, these settlements have dissected Palestinian neighbourhoods, hurt the existing populations and are likely to incite this already sensitive area."
Many other supposedly non-partisan NGOs have views similar to Ir Amim. For the record, Jerusalem is not divided into "Arab east" and "Jewish west" sections: many Arab and Jewish neighbourhoods abut and sometimes dissect each other.
Israelis and Palestinians are engaged in a zero sum game. For example, if Israel builds in the E1 corridor - just east of Jerusalem - the Ma'ale Adumim suburb will be connected to Jerusalem. But if the Palestinians build there, connecting two Arab towns, Ma'ale Adumim will be cut off. Which group will lose out? Us or them?
The real problem is that even if all Jews are removed from all of Jerusalem, the Palestinians wouldn't reach a political solution with Israel. Plain and simple, the Palestinians insist on controlling all of Israel. Those Jews who might remain after a Palestinian takeover wouldn't be living in Israel, but would be "dhimmis" (infidels subservient to Muslim rule) in a Palestinian state from "the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea." Is that what Ir Amim and its cohorts (Peace Now, The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Rabbis for Human Rights, etc.) really want? Are they for us or for them? If they're for us, it's time to wake up!
Stephen Kramer resided and worked in the Atlantic City area until 1991, when he moved to Israel with his wife, Michal Langweiler, and two sons. He can be reached at Sjk1@jhu.edu.
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