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May 12, 2010
This week in Israel, Jerusalem Day was celebrated. It was a day to commemorate the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty during the Six Day War -- a historical moment that Israelis will never forget. Yet as talk of pre-1967 borders surfaces again and the insistence of Jerusalem being on the chopping block remains, Obama is asking Netanyahu to forget Israel's valid historical moments, and instead "seize an historic opportunity" to make peace with the Palestinians through a process that is predicated on decades of lies and propaganda.
Attending the Jerusalem Day celebration in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said, "The battle for Jerusalem is a battle for truth. There can be no justice without truth and if there is a perversion of justice vis-à-vis our city and nation, it means the truth has been perverted, because the truth is that Jerusalem is our city and we never compromised on that."
The Speaker of the Knesset, MK Reuven Rivlin also spoke at the event, "Today it is clear that a unified Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty is not a given. We have reached the stage where the world claims that we have stolen the city and wants us to turn the clock back 43 years."
For those of us who turn the clock back and look at Israel's history through non-propaganda eyes, we are reminded how absurd it is that Israel is asked and expected to make concessions to the Palestinians. A few truths to counter the propaganda are:
The Jews have considered Jerusalem as their capital for over 3000 years. The Palestinians have considered Jerusalem as their capital for over 30 years.
The 13th century Arab biographer and geographer Yakut noted, "Mecca is holy to Moslems, and Jerusalem to the Jews."
At the start of the Six Day War, on June 5, 1967, Prime Minister Eshkol sent a message to King Hussein stating that Israel would not attack Jordanian controlled Jerusalem unless he initiated hostilities. Jordan attacked. Israel won. To the victor belong the spoils.
Both in 1948 and 1967, Palestinian Arabs left the region to avoid being caught in the crossfire of the wars, creating many refugees. Besides Jordan, the Arab nations who initiated the wars did not help the refugees.
"I don't want to impugn anybody, but only to help the refugees. The fact that there are these refugees is the direct consequence of the action of the Arab states in opposing partition and the Jewish state," Emil Ghoury, a member of the Palestinian Arabs' national leadership, in an interview with the Beirut newspaper, Daily Telegraph, 1948.
"Since 1948 Arab leaders have approached the Palestine problem in an irresponsible manner. They have used the Palestine people for selfish political purposes," King Hussein, 1960.
Some Palestinian Arabs did return to Israel. Economic assistance was provided by Israel. Arabs in the Gaza Strip were moved from camps to new homes. This caused protests from Egypt, which had offered no assistance to the refugees when it controlled the area.
Arabs who had lived in East Jerusalem were given the option of retaining Jordanian citizenship or acquiring Israeli citizenship. They were recognized as residents of united Jerusalem and given the right to vote and run for the city council.
The name "Palestinians" originally denoted a region, not a race. Both Arabs and Jews who lived in Palestine at the start of the 20th century were known as Palestinians.
"There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese. We are all part of one nation. It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity . . . yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel," Zuhair Muhsin, member of the PLO Executive Council.
A British mandate in 1922 "equally" divided the land between the Arabs and the Jews giving 77% to the Arabs and 23% to the Jews. The land given to the Arabs was Trans-Jordan, which eventually became Jordan. Both King Hussein and Arafat publically stated, "Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan."
A Palestinian statehood crisis did not exist until Israel was controlled by the Jews. Before Israel was declared a Jewish nation again, Arabs in Palestine defined themselves politically as Syrians and Jordanians.
"You do not represent Palestine as much as we do. Never forget this one point: There is no such thing as a Palestinian people, there is no Palestinian entity, and there is only Syria. You are an integral part of the Syrian people, and Palestine is an integral part of Syria. Therefore, it is we, the Syrian authorities, who are the true representatives of the Palestinian people," Syrian President Hafez Assad to Arafat.
"Why is it that on June 4, 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian? We did not particularly mind Jordanian rule. The teaching of the destruction of Israel was a definite part of the curriculum, but we considered ourselves Jordanian until the Jews returned to Jerusalem. Then all of the sudden we were Palestinians. They removed the star from the Jordanian flag and all at once we had a Palestinian flag," Walid Shoebat, former PLO terrorist.
Arafat was offered Palestinian statehood. He turned it down. The on-going conflict is not about geography. The fact that Israel exists is the real conflict. As former Egyptian President Nasser said, "The existence of Israel is in itself an aggression . . . an aggression against the Palestinian people." Nothing has changed in that regard.
Beginning in the 1920's, the Grand Mufti Amin al-Husseini, who had deep ties with the Nazis, was the driving force behind opposition to any Jewish presence in the land of Israel. He set the stage for all resistance to Jewish self-governance in Israel. His tactic was known as the "Diplomacy of Rejection." It is now called the "Peace Process."
These conveniently forgotten facts and many more like them should not only be remembered on Jerusalem Day, but also anytime the "peace process" is mentioned. Jerusalem is the heart of Israel, a heart that should never be divided. If I forget you, O Jerusalem . . . not a chance.
Camie Davis is a writer and speaker regarding Israel and can be followed on Facebook at Wake Up and Smell the Falafel.