Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Globe and Mail, November 13, 2010

Netanyahu unveils U.S. plans to resume peace talks, source says


The proposed construction freeze would not include East Jerusalem, an area Israel has annexed(1) as part of its capital in a move never recognized internationally and which Palestinians want as capital of any future state.
What's missing:
 (1) This is a common claim in many reports on the Middle East. There is considerable missing context every time this claim is made:
  • Jews have lived in all parts of Jerusalem and have had an unbroken presence in the city for more than 3,000 years.
  • The only period when Jews were not allowed into various parts of Jerusalem was from 1948 to 1967. In 1948, Jordan was one of five Arab states that attacked the newly-born state of Israel. Jordan ethnically cleansed the Old City of Jerusalem and the eastern suburbs of Jerusalem, expelling every single Jew.
  • During the 19 years of its occupation of Jerusalem, Jordan banned Jews from entering the Old City and praying at their holiest site - the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
  • In 1967, despite pleas from Israel to remain neutral, Jordan entered the Six Day War and subsequently lost its hold on Jerusalem.
  • After 1967, Israel reunited Jerusalem and opened its holy sites to all (occasionally, Israel will restrict access to the Temple Mount to young Arabs, when security is threatened)
  • While Jerusalem has undergone numerous periods of destruction. occupation and rebuilding, only one country in its entire history has ever considered it to be their capital. It's important to note that there is currently no country called "Palestine". In fact, there has never been a country called Palestine - and until 1948, if you referred to somebody as a "Palestinian", you were most likely implying that they were Jewish. 
In other words, apart from a tenuous and illegal 19 year occupation, during which the people who now identify themselves as Palestinian made no claims on Jerusalem - and in fact, did not even claim a state of their own -  there is no historic precedent for anyone but the Jewish people to claim any part of Jerusalem as their capital.

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