GayandRight

My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (www.freethinkingfilms.com)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A primer on Jerusalem....

Mortimer Zuckerman writes in the Wall Street Journal...
President Obama's attitude toward Jerusalem betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the history of the city. After Israel was recognized as a new state in 1948, it was immediately attacked by the combined armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The attacks were repelled, but the Jordanians, who were asked not to join the Egyptian war effort, conquered East Jerusalem and separated it from its western half. In 1967, the Arab armies again sought to destroy Israel, but it prevailed in the famous Six Day War and reconquered East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip.

Under Jordanian rule, from 1948 to 1967, dozens of synagogues were destroyed or vandalized. The ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives was desecrated, its tombstones used for the construction of roads and Jordanian army latrines. The rights of Christians as well as Jews were abused, with some churches converted into mosques.

When Israel captured the eastern part of Jerusalem in 1967 it built, and has since continued to build, neighborhoods for its Jewish residents. Palestinian Arabs have also built in Jerusalem throughout this period. Incidentally, today there is more new Arab housing (legal and illegal) being built than Jewish housing according to a report by Middle East expert Tom Gross—without any criticism from the Obama administration.

But this is all recent history: Israel's claim over Jerusalem does not spring from 1948 or 1967. Rather, it signifies the revival of historic rights stemming from biblical times.

Jerusalem is not just another piece of territory on a political chessboard: It is integral to the identity and faith of the Jewish people. Since the city was founded by King David some 3,500 years ago, Jews have lived there, worked there, and prayed there. During the First and Second Temple periods, Jews from across the kingdom would travel to Jerusalem three times a year for the Jewish holy days, until the Roman Empire destroyed the Second Temple in 70 A.D. That ended Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem for the next 2,000 years, but the Jews never relinquished their bond.

Jerusalem is much less embedded in Muslim culture. When Muslims pray, they face Mecca, not Jerusalem. The Old Testament mentions Jerusalem, or its alternative name Zion, a total of 457 times. The Koran does not mention Jerusalem once. Muhammad, who founded Islam in 622 A.D., was born and raised in what is now Saudi Arabia; he never set foot in Jerusalem. And in the 1,300 years that various Islamic dynasties ruled Jerusalem, not one Islamic dynasty ever made the city its capital. Indeed, even the National Covenant of the PLO, written in 1964, never mentions Jerusalem. It was only added after Israel regained control of the city in 1967.

The reality today is that in the area referred to as East Jerusalem— that is, an area north, south and east of the city's 1967 borders—there are roughly a half a million Jews and Arabs living in intertwined neighborhoods. The idea of a purely Jewish West Jerusalem or a purely Palestinian East Jerusalem is a myth: Building in particular neighborhoods in no way precludes the possibility of a two-state solution.

Ramat Shlomo, the center of the most recent row, is a thriving community of over 100,000 Jews located between two larger Jewish communities called Ramat and French Hill. Its growth would in no way interfere with the contiguity of new Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. And in every peace agreement that has ever been discussed, these areas would remain a part of Israel.

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