By Ted Belman
Jews all over the world are rallying to save Jerusalem as the united and undivided capital of Israel. Their efforts will reach an apex during the visit by Bush next week. But the fight for Jerusalem has been going on as a result of Annapolis which wants it divided and the fight will continue after Bush leaves.
Abbas demands that Israel abandon all the land seized by Israel in ‘67 including all built up settlements thereon which Israel incorporated into Jerusalem. Olmert wants to divide the city based on Jewish areas vs Arab areas. An agreement is nowhere in site, thank G-d.
It is important to understand what the law, such as it is, provides.
In Jerusalem IS a Jewish issue (http://www.israpundit.com/2007/?p=6617 ) I described Israel’s legal claim to Jerusalem and advised that the proper legal disposition is by referendum among the residents of Jerusalem allowing them to decide. Not only the Jewish residents, who outnumber the Arab residents by a ratio of 2:1, will vote to keep it in Israel but all polls indicate the Arab residents will too.
But it is also important to understand what Jerusalem means to the Jews and Judaism and what it means to Muslims and Islam.
Daniel Pipes, in a seminal article written in 2001, titled The Muslim Claim to Jerusalem, fully sets out the the differences in the claim of the Muslims and that of the Jews.
After setting out the meaning of Jerusalem to Judaism which needs no elucidation here, he compares it to Islam.
It is not the place to which they pray, is not once mentioned by name in prayers, and it is connected to no mundane events in Muhammad’s life. The city never served as capital of a sovereign Muslim state, and it never became a cultural or scholarly center. Little of political import by Muslims was initiated there.
One comparison makes this point most clearly: Jerusalem appears in the Jewish Bible 669 times and Zion (which usually means Jerusalem, sometimes the Land of Israel) 154 times, or 823 times in all. The Christian Bible mentions Jerusalem 154 times and Zion 7 times. In contrast, the columnist Moshe Kohn notes, Jerusalem and Zion appear as frequently in the Qur’an “as they do in the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita, the Taoist Tao-Te Ching, the Buddhist Dhamapada and the Zoroastrian Zend Avesta”—which is to say, not once.2
That being so, he asks,
Why did two surveys of American Muslims find Jerusalem their most pressing foreign policy issue?
6and answers, Because of politics. 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. This pattern first emerged during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad in the early seventh century. Since then, it has been repeated on five occasions: in the late seventh century, in the twelfth century Countercrusade, in the thirteenth century Crusades, during the era of British rule (1917-48), and since Israel took the city in 1967. The consistency that emerges in such a long period provides an important perspective on the current confrontation.
It is also because of religion but not as you might expect. Bat Ye’or, the author of Eurabia and Dhimmitude, advises,
“Once a region has been conquered for Islam, it is always Islamic and must be re-conquered from the infidel, regardless of the passage of time.”
This is the core of the entire conflict and this is what drives the Muslims.
It is safe to say that if Jerusalem came under the control of the Muslims/Arabs, it would once again be downgraded in importance because it can’t be allowed to challenge the importance of Mecca.
Jerusalem belongs to the Jews. The Jews will fight to keep it, all of it.