Iran's "Religious Weblogs Office" wants all blogs to commemorate this day, so who am I to disagree?
Let's talk about how important Jerusalem was to the Arabs in the nineteen years the Old City was under Arab rule, from 1948-1967:
- Did Jordan, which annexed the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1950, move its capital to Jerusalem? Ummmm...no.
- Jewish families who lived in the Old City's Jewish Quarter for centuries were kicked out.
- Did the Arab Muslims who are supposed to be so committed to religious pluralism allow Jews to worship or even visit Jerusalem? Ummmm...no. (The 1949 Armistice Agreement specifically stipulated that Jews should be allowed to visit their holy places.)
- During Jordanian rule, more Palestinian Arabs moved to the East Bank than any who immigrated westward and into East Jerusalem. The population of Muslims in Jerusalem did not increase all that much in those 19 years.
- In 1951, the Jordanian king Abdullah I was assassinated - inside the Al Aqsa Mosque, by a Palestinian Arab who heard rumors that Jordan and Israel were considering a peace treaty.
- Christians in Jerusalem were also persecuted during that time period: their schools were forced to close on Fridays rather than Sundays, they were not allowed to purchase land.
- While the Dome of the Rock was accorded a measure of respect, the rest of Jerusalem was pretty much ignored throughout the Muslim world.
- Jordanian radio broadcast Friday prayers from Amman, not Jerusalem.
- No foreign Arab leader visited Jerusalem during those 19 years.
- The PLO's founding document does not mention Jerusalem. (last three from Daniel Pipes, h/t Soccer Dad.)
Thank God that will never happen. For centuries, Jews risked their lives to move to a Muslim-ruled Jerusalem that was thoroughly neglected by the Muslim world, and Christians made regular pilgrimages there as well. Jerusalem, under Muslim rule, was a filthy and disgusting ruin, not even a shell of how it looked before the Romans conquered it.
Three times a day for nearly two millennia Jews prayed for the restoration and rebuilding of Jerusalem. It was a beautiful city whose destruction was considered a tragedy beyond comprehension by all Jews.
For nearly two millennia others conquered Jerusalem but no one bothered to rebuild it. The only people to truly care about Jerusalem were the Jews. And the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 is considered a holiday for all Jews today.
So, I am happy to celebrate Qods Day this Friday, the last Friday of Ramadan, because when it comes to Jerusalem, the good guys won.