Monday, January 10, 2011

What is behind PalArab demands for Jerusalem?

Ha'aretz has a very vague report:
East Jerusalem should be treated as the capital of the Palestinian state, according to a report compiled by the heads of European diplomatic missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah. The report includes several other unprecedented recommendations to the European Union regarding its attitude toward East Jerusalem.

The European diplomats, mainly consuls, also recommend that EU officials and politicians refuse to visit Israeli government offices that are located beyond the Green Line and that they decline any Israeli security in the Old City and elsewhere in East Jerusalem.

The report, which was completed last month, was sent to the EU's main foreign policy body, the Political and Security Committee in Brussels. It was apparently not released at the time due to the sensitivity of its content.

The diplomats' report also discusses the possibility of preventing "violent settlers in East Jerusalem" from being granted entry into EU countries. In the area of commerce, it recommends encouraging a boycott of Israeli products from East Jerusalem.
If this is true, it represents another major political gaffe by the government of Israel in putting forth its case.

Much of that is the fault of Israeli governments that have reportedly already offered significant parts of Jerusalem to the PLO, implying that somehow it really isn't as important to Jews as it is to Arabs.

Even so, the GOI should be doing what it can to stop this impression of inevitability that a Palestinian Arab state must have Jerusalem as its capital. When one looks at the issue dispassionately, it becomes clear that this is not a political need - but a form of blackmail.

It hardly needs to be mentioned that Jerusalem was never the political capital nor religious capital of any Arab entity. The demand for Jerusalem has always been the demand to strip the Jewish state of its spiritual center, not because of any objective value that is placed on Jerusalem by the Arab world or by "historic" Palestinian Arabs.

Decades of listening to the mantra, started by Arafat, of "an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital" has convinced gullible Westerners that somehow Jerusalem has inherent value to Palestinian Arabs, rather than tactical value as a means to weaken the emotional and spiritual hold that Jews have on Israel.

The Arabic press makes this clear. To give a minor recent example, the Al Aqsa Foundation was quoted favorably in the Palestinian Authority's official newspaper when it complained about the iPhone "iKotel" app - a simple app that shows a live video feed of the Western Wall. The reason for the consternation is that the app helps strengthen Jews' emotional connection to the Wall, and this is what frightens them most of all.

The unstated but nevertheless consistent policy of the Palestinian Authority is to strip any vestiges of Jewish connection to the Land of Israel. This is why they are most adamant about Jewish holy places in Judea and Samaria. This is why they created - out of whole cloth - a fake "historic" mosque in Rachel's Tomb. It is because an emotional connection to a place is much harder to fight against than logical or legal arguments. Places that throughout history were ignored by the Arabs have taken on brand-new importance only when Jews asserted control over them. (And during the 19 years of Arab rule over them, their importance again faded into virtual invisibility, to be resurrected in 1967.)

To gullible Westerners, the fake emotional connection that Palestinian Arabs assert consistently over holy places is much stronger than the cool-headed, logical connection that modern Israeli leaders have paid lip service to.

This was not always the case. Guess who wrote these words:
The city of Jerusalem-which became in the course of time, from the crowning of David until our own days, not merely the most precious and Holy City in the Land of Israel, but one of the most revered cities in the world is not mentioned at all in the Five Books of the Torah. Further, after the reign of David who captured the city Jerusalem from the Jebusites and made it the eternal capital of Israel and his son, King Solomon, built the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) within her. After Solomon died the people of Israel came to crown his son Rechavam, not in Jerusalem, but in Shechem. And of the forty years of David's reign, seven and a half he ruled in Hebron, while Jerusalem, though not mentioned at all in the Torah, was made by Israel's greatest king into the city of holiness.

However, don't forget: the beginnings of Israel's greatest king were in Hebron, the city to which came the first Hebrew about eight hundred years before King David, and we will make a great and awful mistake if we fail to settle Hebron, neighbor and predecessor of Jerusalem, with a large Jewish settlement, constantly growing and expanding, very soon. This will also be a blessing to the Arab neighbors. Hebron is worthy to be Jerusalem's sister.
It was staunchly secular and anti-religious David Ben Gurion.

In fact, the writings of all of the major early secular Zionist leaders showed a much deeper emotional connection to the land of Israel than we have seen from any prime minister since Menachem Begin.

And this is what frightens the Palestinian Arabs the most - because their ultimate goal is still to drive the Jews out of the land, one way or another. Jews who are emotional about their land are not likely to leave as those who look at Israel as just another Western country.

So Palestinian Arabs make Jerusalem a central issue (along with "return," something they have not wavered on.) And their repetition of its importance convinces Westerners against all reason.

Which brings up a bizarre situation where Western diplomats are apparently demanding that a city be divided, that thousands of residents be forced to leave their homes, and that Jews are estranged from their heritage - all in the name of "peace."

That "peace" has no relationship with reality. It is a form of Mafia-style blackmail. The Arabs are telling the world, almost explicitly, that unless they get their demands met - and Jerusalem is only an example - the result will be Arab-initiated violence. Both in Israel and worldwide.

This is the real reason the EU is caving to a demand that has no basis in history or logic. There is no real reason why "Palestine"'s capital cannot be Ramallah. It is incredible hypocrisy that the same countries that demand that Tel Aviv be the capital of the Jewish state also demand that Jerusalem be the capital of a state whose "people" simply did not exist as such a mere hundred years ago.

These two factors - Palestinian Arab demand to strip Israel of its Jewish soul, and EU fears of terror and "an end to peace"- are what causes insane developments like the one Ha'aretz is reporting to seem almost normal.

It is up to the Israeli government to understand this and expose it. They are failing, badly.