Whither Jerusalem?

News Abroad

Mr. Cravatts, Ph.D., director of Boston University’s Program in Publishing at the Center for Professional Education, is currently writing a book about higher education, Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad Against Israel.

The stridency of the Obama administration’s attitude about Israeli settlements in the West Bank has stunned some observers, not the least of whom is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself. Even more troubling to the Israelis is the State Department’s recent scolding of Ambassador Michael Oren about a 20-unit apartment project financed by a wealthy American philanthropist who purchased the former Shepherd Hotel property in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, adjacent to a compound of Israeli government buildings. What is stunning about this latest U.S. policy is that the project in question is in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, in an Eastern Jerusalem neighborhood that, if the Palestinians have their way, ostensibly will be the capital of their putative state; more disturbing is the fact that U.S. diplomats have now decreed that Israeli construction in Jerusalem itself constitutes the forbidden settlement activity.  

Speaking to the Jerusalem Post in July, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly was clear that the U.S. considers building projects in East Jerusalem to be in violation of the settlement “freeze” that President Obama and Secretary Clinton have been calling for; Kelly said very pointedly that “We're talking about all settlement activity, yes, in the area across the line,” meaning that, henceforth, any territory beyond the 1949 Green Line is to be off limits to Jews. Mr. Netanyahu did not hesitate to immediately reject the U.S.’s suggestion to facilitate the redivision of the Jewish state’s sacred capital, tersely but directly asserting that Israel “cannot accept such a ruling on East Jerusalem.”

In characterizing East Jerusalem—or any part of Jerusalem, for that matter—as territory that Israel “occupies” but over which it enjoys no sovereignty, the Obama administration is misreading, once again, the content and purpose of 1967’s U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 that suggested an Israeli withdrawal “from territories” it acquired in the Six Day War. Critics of Israeli policy who either willfully misread or deliberately obscure the resolution’s purpose say that the Jewish State is in violation of 242 by continuing to occupy the West Bank and Jerusalem, including what is mistakenly now referred to as “Arab” East Jerusalem. But the drafters of Resolution 242 were very precise in creating the statute’s language, and never considered Jerusalem to have been “occupied” by Israel after the Six Day War. Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Arthur Goldberg, one of the resolution’s authors, made this very clear when he wrote some years later that “Resolution 242 in no way refers to Jerusalem, and this omission was deliberate . . . At no time in [my] many speeches [before the UN] did I refer to East Jerusalem as occupied territory.”

Along with their unwavering and various demands, including a “right of return” of all refugees and sovereignty over the Temple Mount, the Palestinians now insist that Jerusalem must be divided to give them a capital in its eastern portion as the location of their new state. But these have always been points for future negotiations, at least before the State Department gave public expression to its new view that East Jerusalem—a patchwork community where some 200,000 Jews and 270,000 Arabs currently live―has already been assumed to be the Palestinian capital, and that Jews should no longer build or live there. That view is troubling, and not just because of the settlement issue, Israeli security concerns, and the fate of the Shepherd Hotel project; it is troubling because it reveals a pattern in which Arabs endow Jerusalem with intense significance to serve purposes of political expediency. In fact, observed scholar of Islam and Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes, “An historical survey shows that the stature of the city, and the emotions surrounding it, inevitably rises for Muslims when Jerusalem has political significance. Conversely, when the utility of Jerusalem expires, so does its status and the passions about it.” When Jordan illegally annexed the West Bank and purged Jerusalem of its Jews from 1949 to 1967, for example, Jerusalem’s stature declined. But Israel’s recapture of the territory in 1967 changed the political landscape, including an Arab desire for Jerusalem, suggesting to Dr. Pipes that “the Muslim interest lies not so much in controlling Jerusalem as it does in denying control over the city to anyone else.”

Ever since the Camp David meetings in 2000 when Ehud Barak opened the door to a divided Jerusalem in his negotiations with Yasser Arafat, the Palestinians have been relentless in creating a false impression of how important Jerusalem is to them, while, at the same time, they have de-Judaized Jerusalem and tried to obscure the Jewish relationship with and continuing presence in the holy city, something Middle East scholar Martin Kramer has called their desire to effect “a reversal of history.”

Writing in al-Hayat al-Jadida,in March of 2009, for instance, Dr. Tayseer Al-Tamimi, PA Chief Justice of religious court and Chairman of Supreme Council of Islamic Law, absurdly claimed that "Jerusalem is the religious, political and spiritual capital of Palestine,” meaning a Palestinian Palestine, and that “the Jews have no rights to it." But the true danger of the Palestinian thinking about Jerusalem—and, indeed, about all of the Palestine that they covet, including Israel itself—was crystallized in Yasser Arafat’s own view that he expressed in a July 2000 edition of al-Hayat al-Jadida. “I will not agree to any sovereign presence in Jerusalem,” he wrote, referring to the thorny issue of who would have sovereignty of the Holy Basin, “neither in the Armenian quarter, nor in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, neither in Via De La Rosa, nor in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They can occupy us by force, because we are weaker now, but in two years, ten years, or one hundred years, there will be someone who will liberate Jerusalem [from them].”

“Liberating” Jerusalem, of course, does not mean transforming it into a pluralistic, open city where members of three major faiths can live freely and practice their religions openly. Liberating Jerusalem for the Palestinians would be more in keeping with the type of liberation that Transjordan’s Arab League effected when they burned and looted the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem in 1948, expelled and killed its hapless Jewish population, destroyed some 58 synagogues, many hundreds of years old, unearthed gravestones from the history-laden Jewish cemetery on the Mount Olives and used them for latrine pavers, and barred any Jew from praying at the Western Wall or entering the Temple Mount. That same predilection to destroy religious property was on display again shortly after Camp David when a crazed Palestinian mob took sledgehammers to Joseph’s Tomb, a Jewish holy site, and completely obliterated it as Palestinian policemen stood idly by and watched.

But false irredentist claims, Islamic supremacism which compels Jews and Christians to live in dhimmitude under Muslim control, and an evident cultural and theological disregard for other faiths— while troubling in the battle over sovereignty in Jerusalem—are not, according to Dore Gold, Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations, the most dangerous aspects of a diplomatic capitulation which would allow the Palestinians to claim a shared Jerusalem. In his engaging book, The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City, Gold points to a far more troubling aspect: in their desire to accede to Arab requests for a presence and religious sovereignty in Jerusalem, the State Department, EU, UN member states, and Islamic apologists in the Middle East and worldwide may actually ignite jihadist impulses they seek to dampen with their well-intentioned, but defective, diplomacy. Why? Because, as Gold explained, “In the world of apocalyptic speculation, Jerusalem has many other associations—it is the place where the messianic Mahdi [the redeemer of Islam] is to establish his capital. For that reason, some argue that it also should become the seat of the new caliphate that most Islamic groups—from the Muslim Brotherhood to al-Qaeda—seek to establish.”

When Arafat gave expression to the eventual “liberation” of Jerusalem as a sacred and unending ambition for the Palestinian cause, he defined it as a recapture of what had been, and should be, in his view, Muslim land, just as the eventual extirpation of Israel and the reclamation of all of Palestine would accomplish. The establishment of the Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem is the first important step in the long-term strategy to rid the Levant of Jews and reestablish the House of Islam in Palestine. “Jerusalem’s recapture is seen by some as one of the signs that ‘the Hour’ and the end of times are about to occur,” Gold suggested.  “And most importantly, because of these associations, it is the launching pad for a new global jihad powered by the conviction that this time the war will unfold according to a pre-planned religious script, and hence must succeed.”

So far from creating a political situation in which both parties—Israelis and the Palestinians—feel they have sought and received equal benefits, such negotiations and final agreements would have precisely the opposite effect: destabilizing the region and creating, not the oft-hoped for Israel and Palestine “living side by side in peace,” but a incendiary cauldron about to explode into an annihilatory, jihadist rage. Those in the West who are urging Israel “to redivide Jerusalem by relinquishing its holy sites,” Dore cautioned, “may well believe that they are lowering the flames of radical Islamic rage, but in fact they will only be turning up those flames to heights that have not been seen before.”  If the State Department and other Western diplomats are intent on mollifying the Arab street by pressuring Israel to divide Jerusalem as a peace offering to the Palestinians, it may well be setting into motion the exact opposite result: a jihadist, apocalyptic movement invigorated by the misguided diplomacy of the West that, once more, asks Israel to sacrifice its security and nationhood so that Islamists can realize their own imperial ambitions at the Jewish state’s expense.

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omar ibrahim baker - 8/23/2009

The distinction you make, Mr. Harper, is contrived ,facile and ultimately meaningless, and ,I contend, is only made to bring about a new stigma with which to categorize “suicide bombers” as ,morally, a sub group below “normal“ bombers while in the process implicitly implicating a certain religion to which kamikaze bombers did NOT belong .

Elliott Aron Green - 8/18/2009

jjb, re your intemperate, know-nothing screed.

1) if you think that Dr Cravatts is wrong, then why don't you point out his specific mistake/s/?? Do you think that you ought to just throw some defamatory, general charges against him without citing where he is wrong, according to yourself??

2) The Ottoman Empire was not a pluralistic state. This is a gross error on your part. Many religions and nationalities lived under Ottoman rule, including Jews. However, the empire was not a democracy and did not pretend to be. All power in the state was held by Sunni Muslims, including Arabs. To be sure, the central govt was weak for long periods and could not always enforce its rule in mountainous regions and places where rebellious peoples and tribes predominated. Yet, Muslim law, oppressive, exploitative, and humiliating [according to Quran 9:29] to non-Muslim subjects, called dhimmis, was in effect in most parts of the empire, except where geographic conditions, as on Greek islands and the mountains of Lebanon, Armenia, and Montenegro, facilitated an unofficial autonomy of non-Muslim peoples. Muslim tribes too enjoyed a measure of autonomy in the Arabian deserts and mountains of Kurdistan, etc. This situation more reflected geographic conditions and weak central govt rather than a desire or policy to be "pluralistic." One could both laugh and cry over your misunderstanding of that empire. You have heard about the Armenian genocide, haven't you??

3) It is a lie to impute "apartheid" to Israel, whether the lie is made by an ignorant, choleric internet surfer, or by an ignorant, malicious ex-president of the USA with the initials JC. I live in Jerusalem and I was in one of our indoor shopping malls last night. There were plenty of Arabs there too, happily spending money, trying on clothes and buying clothes, eating at cafes and buying ice cream from stands. In fact, they were on their good behavior and not rioting or stabbing, or the other violent things that you probably would like them to do.

Further, although jimmy Carter, the recipient of huge sums of money from Arab billionaires, wants to smear Israel as an "apartheid state," then you can come here to Jerusalem and see for yourself. But you should know that it's not always so easy to tell who is an Arab and who a Jew. There is no special skin color to Arabs --or Jews. There is a broad range of skin colors among both peoples. A lot of Arabs are no darker than I am, or lighter, so I can't distinguish them on that basis. I usually can tell who's an Arab by their speech [even Jews who know Arabic don't want to speak it] or by the head-wrappings and/or robes of some of the women or by their hand and facial gestures. To be sure, some Arabs "look very Arab." But quite a few look not so different from the Jews, if at all [albeit their gestures and speech might indicate that they are likely to be Arabs]. Some look rather European. So how could we practice South African "apartheid" here?? There are guards at the entrances to the shopping malls but they don't ask for ID cards to get in. They just check for hidden weapons and explosives. Do you think that that is unreasonable, by the way??

You somehow think that Jerusalem and Israel are not "open to all." Yet we have a couple of million tourists coming here every year from all over the world, from south Asia and east Asia, from Black Africa, from Europe, from North and South America. Where do you get all these lies about Israel that you regurgitate on HNN?? Do you have your own personal Arab propagandist who feeds you anti-Israel propaganda??

Then you somehow insinuate that Israel gets American support because of Jewish money. But many rich Arabs feed money to influential Americans, such as carter, such as Charles Freeman, whom Pres Obama almost appointed to a high post in US intelligence, etc etc.
Further, US support for Israel is often exaggerated. Could you explain just how the US supports Israel when the current President demands that Israel impose apartheid conditions on Jews in Jerusalem, a city where Jews have been the absolute majority since 1853 [see my other comment on this thread]??

Bob Harper - 8/17/2009

My final comment.

Taking your points in order:

1. The non-suicide bomber does what he does for the purpose of gaining political advantage, either by taking out his political opponents or by sowing terror.

The suicide bomber, by contrast, though he may be a tool of the non-suicide bomber, does what he (or, as in the case of the mentally retarded Iraqi ladies) she does for some non-terrestrial
'reward' having nothing to do with worldly political advantage. You are welcome to find that distinction "contrived, facile and ultimately meaningless". I don't, but:if you can't see the distinction, I can't help you.

2. Your second paragraph makes no sense as written. Personal vendetta has nothing to do with it. The point of the ETA and IRA bombings wasn't (except accidentally) personal vendetta; it was to gain political power, or at least to destabilize the existing order to their advantage.

3. It is a very dangerous thing to give suicide bombers any kind of moral standing simply because they spend their lives in the performance of their acts. It is the moral quality of the acts themselves that determine the morality of the actor. The suicide bomber who kills random, innocent, individuals has committed a gravely immoral act, and no mere political rhetoric can change that.

Bob Harper

Elliott Aron Green - 8/17/2009

Knowledge of the history of Jerusalem is essential. In fact, Jews have been the absolute majority of the population in Jerusalem since 1853, if not earlier. This was attested by the French diplomat and historian Cesar Famin in a book published in 1853. Marx pointed out the Jewish majority in the Holy City in a paraphrase of Famin in an article in the New York Tribune of 15 April 1854. At that time, the Old City was the whole city. The Old City was under Jordanian rule from 1948 to 1967. That is, it was part of Jordanian-ruled eastern Jerusalem then. In that period, eastern Jerusalem, which had had a Jewish majority in 1853, was Judenrein [from 48 to 67].

Now since Jerusalem's meaning for the world, and for Christianity and Islam as well, is rooted in Jewish history and religion, and since the city has had a Jewish majority since 1853, then I submit that it ought to be part of Israel by rights. The area of Jerusalem under dispute now, where the State Dept doesn't want Jews to live, had Jewish residential quarters, Shimon haTsadiq, Nahalat Shimon, and Siebenbergen Houses, that were adjacent to the wealthy Arab Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood where both the Nashashibi family and the Husseinis had homes and land. The Shepherd Hotel mentioned by Dr Cravatts was formerly owned by the Husseinis, particularly Haj Amin el-Husseini, the British-appointed mufti of Jerusalem and Nazi collaborator. Indeed, one plot of land in the area was called Karm al-Mufti in recognition of Husseini's ownership. The Arab nationalist historian/propagandist George Antonius [author of the Arab Awakening] rented a home on the Karm al-Mufti property [also spelled Karm el-Mufti].

What is probably most significant for the ongoing dispute over moral issues in the Arab-Israeli conflict is that the Jews living in the Shimon haTsadiq Quarter [next to the Tomb of Simon the Just] were driven out of their homes by Arab irregular forces in late December 1947, and thus were the first refugees in Israel's War of Independence who could not go home after the war, whereas Jews who fled their homes in south Tel Aviv in the same period were able to go home after the war, in cases where the homes were still inhabitable. This was because Jewish forces had suppressed Arab attacks from Jaffa, whereas British forces prevented the Haganah from retaking the Shimon haTsadiq and Nahalat Shimon quarters after the Jews had fled or been evacuated. In fact, British forces disarmed the Jews in Nahalat Shimon who had successfully repelled an armed Arab attack. Then, the British came back in mid-January 1948 with trucks and told the Jews to get on the trucks since they would not protect them from Arab attack in the future.

For the Arab-Muslim oppression of Jews in Jerusalem from the Arab conquest up to the end of Ottoman rule, see my article here at HNN below.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/15/2009

Your depiction: " to be around to observe and benefit from that political change. " would fit better the act of “political assassination” that would target a specific person than “bombing” which targets certain people indiscriminately.
As to the “reward” both “normal” and “suicide bombers” are after a “reward” whether it will be in this life (political change for a “normal” bomber) or in this life (political change) and in an after life (for some suicide bombers) is immaterial since it would then become a question of the nature and magnitude of the reward and not the nature of the act and its perpetrator.

As a matter of historical record had the ETA, IRA etc bombers been fighting a personal fight then " to be (personally/individually ) around to observe and benefit ( and gloat) from that political change. " could make sense.
However since none of the above were indulging in personal vendetta (s) their personal/individual presence " to observe and benefit from that political change " is immaterial since it is, they believe, their respective "causes" that would
“ benefit from that political change."

If any thing at all suicide bombers are less "selfish" than "normal" bombers in that they also pay with their own lives and not only with other people’s lives .
Suicide bombers are not unlike "kamikaze" pilots /bombers in that they are ready to sacrifice their own lives in what is , to them, their “cause”.
The distinction you make, Mr. Harper, is contrived ,facile and ultimately meaningless, and ,I contend, is only made to bring about a new stigma with which to categorize “suicide bombers” as ,morally, a sub group below “normal“ bombers while in the process implicitly implicating a certain religion to which kamikaze bombers did NOT belong .

(None of the above should be construed as a defense of any kind of bombing/bombers.)

Bob Harper - 8/15/2009

Is this a serious question? If not, then it's just obfuscation. If it is, I'm not sure we can actually communicate in any real sense. But I'll try.

'Normal' bombers are attempting to effect political change. They intend to be around to observe and benefit from that political change. That they usually don't is beside the point.

The 'suicide' bomber has no such objective. He believes, or has been convinced, that he will be 'rewarded' for his act of violence by some condition of eternal bliss. What he will most certainly be is dead.

This seems to me to be a real distinction. If it doesn't to you, then there's nothing I can do and nothing more that I can say.

Bob Harper

omar ibrahim baker - 8/15/2009

"The other examples you cite are bombers, but not ....*suicide* bombers--a crucial distinction. "
Pray elaborate on the "crucial distinction"!

Bob Harper - 8/14/2009

Sorry, but I'm not buying. Suicide bombers are overwhelmingly, nay, almost exclusively, Moslems, motivated by an admittedly fanatic, but still largely uncondemned, so far as I can see, version of Islam. The other examples you cite are bombers, but not (with the possible exception of the Tamils, about which I don't know) *suicide* bombers--a crucial distinction. And none of them enjoys much support within the community, or at least benefits from the fear of saying something, as do Islamic suicide bombers, as far as I can tell. So no, your analogies limp--badly.

As for the atomic bombings, the comparison is so far from the purpose that I wonder why you brought them up. Nothing to do with the present case, that's for sure.

Bob Harper

james joseph butler - 8/13/2009

When will ostensibly enlightened souls such as Dr. Cravatts recognize that he is a member of a cult and as such he is in no place to be making an objective judgement regarding Jerusalem.

The nineteenth century Ottoman empire was more pluralistic than 21st century Israel. Candidate Obama had no problem with Israel controlling Jerusalem. Where is the 20th century enemy of South African apartheid? 1600 Pennsylania Avenue.

That's what really sad, as an American tax payer and as a citizen of planet humanist why is America supporting this cult and not that cult? (Of course the answer is easy if you belive in $, Congress, and the legacy of the good book, etc. etc.) How is it that people as obviously biased as Cravatts are able to post on HNN without the obvious disclaimer that he believes in fa la la yaweh whatever. Just like Omar and his muhamed whoha.

I was talking to my Palestinian Irish american niece yesterday and she had no patience with Islam. Why waste time on a "religion" that marginalizes half of humanity? Point being that Cravatts, Baker, and Friedman are fossils.

Fact is, if Israel and Israeli Americans really believed in the Golden rule they would have no problem opening Jerusalem and Israel to all. Netanyahu's sister in law has written about the latest sin against justice in the name of racism in Jerusalem. Netanyahu is as much of a racist as Ahmenijad is.

"A World of Trouble" - Patrick Tyler -former NYTimes writer, an excellent read for anyone who thinks the USA was impartial regarding Israel. Henry Kissinger, guilty in Vietnam, could be tried for treason in his actions regarding Israel.

Omar has one thing right, Israel/Palestine barring Armaggedeon will ultimately be free; of my god was here first. Property not gods is what it's about.

omar ibrahim baker - 8/13/2009

Not unexpected,short sighted and fatal to Israel

N. Friedman - 8/12/2009


Due to the fact that we have each stated our positions clearly, I do not intend to continue this discussion past the below comment.

My only comment is to note that, contrary to what you assert, the acceptance by both sides of certain of the results of the various Arab Israeli wars is a prerequisite to settlement of the dispute. Such results include accepting the Armistice (Green) Line as a basis - but not necessarily the final boundary agreed upon - for a final settlement.

omar ibrahim baker - 8/12/2009

Mr. Harper
Suicide bombers are Moslems and ETA and IRA and Tamil and a McVeigh but none of them is Islam or Christianity or Hinduism .
To identify a religion, or any other doctrine for that matter, or a movement or a country or a people with the acts of some who "hold" it or belong to it is, I contend, facile and short sighted.

For all its immeasurable horror it is wrong to identify the USA solely with Hiroshima and Nagasaki although the A bombing of both was sanctioned and ordered by the duly elected government of the USA with the support of a majority of Americans!

Bob Harper - 8/12/2009

Mr. Baker, The only comment I can make about your post up to the last paragraph is that while it may be the case that

'In essence in Islam both Jews and Christians are "people of the (divinely inspired) book" due respect and protection for their monotheism while in Judaism both are Goyim, goys, and as such are inferior to the Jews.'

what I see in fact is that suicide bombers are all Muslims, which doesn't seem to me much of a way to express 'respect and protection'.

Now to your last paragraph. My answer is yes. Just keep the UN out of it.

omar ibrahim baker - 8/12/2009

Good question Mr Harper and I guess felt by many, if not most, in the West!
Aside from the fact that it reflects the conscious and subconscious pro Israel anti Arab/Moslem feelings prevailing in the West it springs mainly from a grave ignorance of both Islam's and Judaism's "theological" stands, as in the Koran and the Talmud respectively, re other religions and of the historical record of Islam's tolerance.

For the former I suggest you read both particularly, re Judaism, that you read Israel Shahak.
In essence in Islam both Jews and Christians are "people of the (divinely inspired) book" due respect and protection for their monotheism while in Judaism both are Goyim, goys, and as such are inferior to the Jews .
Shahak ( he is on the web) is particularly revealing re Jews/ Goyim.

Re historical record: some 14 centuries ago Omar ibn Al Khatab, the second successor to the Prophet, turned down an invitation by the Archbishop of Jerusalem to pray in the Holy Sepulcher , for fear Moslems will turn it after him into a Mosque, and prayed instead outside it in a place, now a small Mosque, that still stands and bears his name quite close to the Holy Sepulcher.
Another illuminating fact is that Judaism never thrived culturally as much as it did in Moslem ruled Spain.

However re Open City: that I presume should entail neither Moslem nor Jewish nor Christian rule, sole /unilateral sovereignty, on Jerusalem and not only free and open access by all to it.
Are you for that?

Bob Harper - 8/11/2009

Mr. Cravatts writes:
“Liberating” Jerusalem, of course, does not mean transforming it into a pluralistic, open city where members of three major faiths can live freely and practice their religions openly.

Why is it I have a feeling that Jews could, given sufficient guarantees with regard to Jewish holy places, live with this, while I have a feeling that the Muslims could and would not?

Mr. Baker?

omar ibrahim baker - 8/11/2009

Hate to do it but must in what threatens to become a dialogue of the deaf:
" In other words Israel is "inviting" the Arabs to accept the results of its military victories and their past military set backs as final and irrevocable.
If you think that that would, or could, ever lead to an Israel accepted by its environment you would be, I contend, gravely mistaken at best and, at worst, gambling with Israel’s future and destiny.
Israel can not reasonably build a future based on the blindness and intoxication acquired by some military victories for which there are many ways to undo."

I deem it necessary to repeat that in which you seem to fail to note, or prefer to ignore, the consequences of regional non acceptance!

I note here that Israel, as much as you Mr Friedman, seems to be no loner interested in regional acceptance.
That, to me, is a major positive development in that thereby Zionism/ Israel, as a result of its regional rejection and permanent regional alienation, is abandoning its earlier ambitions of regional hegemony in all its forms of economic domination and political leadership and is satisfied now with military supremacy.

But that is transient and subject to many variables ( China can stand up militarily to the USA now!); further more it is no longer solely a question of x tanks and y airplanes as the latest war with Hizb Allah has demonstrated, not even of A bombs.

Regional non acceptance and the absence of a historical reconciliation with its environment will necessarily lead to an ages and generation’s long war of attrition of a united region and an isolated /citadel Israel.
That would NOT only belie the promise of a safe haven BUT will reduce Israel to a militaristic society and ultimately to a military dictatorship ALL of which can only mean the ultimate failure of the Zionist dream and the implosive collapse of its off spring.

N. Friedman - 8/11/2009


The governments of the world, outside of Arab region, accept an Israel at least within the Green line. Outside of Arab regions, all of the land Israel held in 1949 is Israel proper and not occupied territory. That also includes West Jerusalem.

I noted that Jerusalem is different because it is, quite obviously, different. It was supposed to be held, for a temporary period, under International supervision. Hence, its legal status is more complicated without regard to what country conquered it.

None of this is central to my thinking. My view is that there is no settlement to the dispute. There is no settlement because the Arab side refuses to accept Israel's legitimacy as the state of the Jewish people. I gather that such is your position as well.

omar ibrahim baker - 8/11/2009

Mr Friedman
You state :" After all, Jerusalem was not part of the potential Arab state - " NOR was JERUSALEM part of the Jewish state to be and came to exist post 1948.
However should your starting point be the " the potential Arab state " ,of the UNGA Partition of Palestine resolution as I presume it is implied in your reply, then many things will have to be reviewed and reconsidered according to your own logic.

Foremost then will be the areas NOT allocated to the Jewish state in that same resolution i.e. the 26 % of the area of Palestine that was actually occupied by the Israel to be BEYOND its said land allocation .

To respond that that 26% surplus was "spoils of ( a defensive ) war" is invite the Arabs to liberate them through a (Liberation) war in which case any present search for a long term peace would be meaningless .

Israel's declared position has consistently been to retain all lands acquired by war in 1948 and 1967 and then consider what it might semi relinquish to a “to be defined Palestinian entity”, if any at all for Palestine and, progressively, to a to be defined setup for the Syrian Golan.
In other words Israel is "inviting" the Arabs to accept the results of its military victories and their past military set backs as final and irrevocable.
If you think that that would, or could, ever lead to an Israel accepted by its environment you would be, I contend, gravely mistaken at best and, at worst, gambling with Israel’s future and destiny.
Israel can not reasonably build a future based on the blindness and intoxication acquired by some military victories for which there are many ways to undo.

The French colons gambled on a French Algeria and most of the whites/colons of South Africa gambled on an Apartheid South Africa ….Where are they now???

N. Friedman - 8/10/2009


Jerusalem is not so obviously part of the same mix as the WB - and, even there, the question cannot be answered for sure.

After all, Jerusalem was not part of the potential Arab state - one rejected by the Arab side - under the 1947 partition plan. So, it is not clear the basis for claiming (a) that it is occupied and (b), if occupied, what party's territory is being occupied. On (b), perhaps (if the land is occupied) it is the International Community's land or, perhaps, since the special status of Jerusalem was, in Partition, to be temporary, maybe there is no way to apply the occupation concept at all.

In any event, "occupation" is a legal term which some choose to twist into a political and moral term. The issue, though, of whether Jerusalem is occupied is, as a legal matter, not simple for at least the reason I note. Ambassador Goldberg's position is another reason.

omar ibrahim baker - 8/10/2009

As with most things related to Israel and pro Israel articles this essay suffers from severe amnesia or from a total contempt of others or, most probably, from both maladies.
Should any of the lands occupied post 1967 be occupied territories then East Jerusalem, being among them, is surely also occupied.
Should any of those lands be "disputed" territories then East Jerusalem, having fallen under Israeli control in the same manner and date, is also "disputed" territory.

Like wise should it NOT, in a scholarly article, if any reference be made to the depopulation , by Jordan, of the Jewish quarter in the Old city be made, should it not , even if for appearances sake only, also be coupled with a reference to the depopulation, by Israel, of West Jerusalem and of a much greater number of Palestinian Arabs.
The amazing thing , though far from unusual with Israel and Israel's friends, is the total absence of ANY reference to the inhabitants, the people living in that part of the city ; neither to their will, nor their desires.
They simply DO NOT exist according to Israel the presumed prime and sole democracy in the region.
However the amnesia is feigned while the racist contempt of others is true, genuine and heart felt!