White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was ordered by the Obama apparatchiks to express displeasure at the decision by Israel to build houses in the East Jerusalem suburb of Gilo. But Gibbs failed to disclose that the land on which Gilo was built, as with other suburbs in "disputed" parts of East Jerusalem, was home to many Jews who were driven out in 1948 by the British-officered Arab Legion of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
This region was not liberated by Israel, nor the land restored, until the June, 1967 Six Day War nineteen years later. King Hussein of Jordan had thrown in his lot with the Egyptian leader, Gamal Abdul Nasser, who was boasting of how he was on the verge of destroying the Jewish state. The king believed Nasser's claims and attacked along the entire Jordanian/Israeli front (including Jerusalem) despite pleas from Israel for him to not follow Nasser's aggression. History might have been different if Hussein had listened.
In the nineteen years during which the Jordanians occupied the territory, they never remotely considered it as anything but Jordanian. Certainly they never thought it belonged to another Arab people who later called themselves Palestinians. As it was, Jordan's illegal occupation of East Jerusalem, as well as of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), was recognized by only two countries: Britain and Pakistan.
But the Obama White House, and the relentlessly anti-Israel State Department, nevertheless have decided that they will echo the demands of the Palestinian Authority and call for Israel to stop building homes -- not only in Judea and Samaria, but even within Jewish suburbs of Israel's capital city, Jerusalem. This goes on while Arab settlement-building continues unchecked and at a feverish pace throughout the area.
It matters not to Obama that Jerusalem -- east, west, north and south -- has been described as the eternal city of the eternal people.
Let me quote the words from 1918 of the great Rabbi J.H. Hertz, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, at the thanksgiving service for the British liberation of Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks. He spoke of the nearly four thousand years of history that bound the Jews to their spiritual and physical capital city and of their fate in defending it against its many would-be conquerors:
Like the Jew, this Holy City of Israel is deathless; fire and sword and all the engines of destruction have been hurled against it in vain. The Babylonians burnt it and deported its population; the Romans slew a million of its inhabitants, razed it to the ground, passed the ploughshare over it and strewed its furors with salt; Hadrian banished its very name from the lips of men, changed it to Aelia Capitolina and forbade any Jew from entering it on pain of death. Persians and Arabs, Barbarians and Crusaders and Turks took it and re-took it, ravaged it and burnt it; and yet, marvelous to relate, it ever rises from its ashes to renewed life and glory.
Rabbi Hertz was talking on the very day on which, 2,080 years earlier, Judah Maccabee, the legendary Jewish hero, led his warriors against the Greek-Syrians to liberate the Holy City from its heathen occupiers, whereupon he entered the Temple and re-dedicated it to the glory of the One and Only God. Rabbi Hertz ended his speech by proclaiming the prophetic teaching of the Maccabean Festival, which we know as Hanukkah, in Zechariah, 4:6:
Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.
It is useful to dwell on what has been said by both Jews and non-Jews in the past about Jerusalem. Now there is a government and a Prime Minister in Israel under assault by President Obama, who demands that Israel abandon parts of eternal Jerusalem and give it away to those who hate the Jewish people and who have set their face against accepting any Jewish independence or sovereignty in the Land of Israel.
Jerusalem and Zion are interchangeable. One can go back through the mists of time and read as far back as the towering words in Isaiah 2:1 and Micah 4:2:
For out of Zion shall come forth the Torah, and the word of God from Jerusalem.
These are just two of the 821 times that Jerusalem and Zion appear in the Jewish Bible, or what is pejoratively called the Old Testament: Jerusalem 667 times, and Zion 154 times.
According to the much-loved correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, the late Moshe Kohn:
Jewish sources speak of the seventy names by which Jerusalem is referred to in the classical Jewish sources. These include Ariel/lion of God (Isaiah 29:1); Kirya Neemana/Faithful City (Isaiah 1:25); Ir Ha'emet (City of Truth (Zechariah 8:3); Klilat Yofi/Paragon of Beauty (Lamentations 2:15); Yefay Nof/ Beautiful Panorama (Psalms 48:3); and the ancient commentary of Rabbi Akiva in Sanhedrin 58a on 1 Chronicles 29:11 Hanetza/Eternity.
But what of now? The modern State of Israel endures a world willing, even anxious, to divide Jerusalem again -- even as it celebrates the reunification of Berlin -- and to give away ancestral and biblical Jewish lands to an enemy led by a Holocaust-denier, Mahmoud Abbas, whose own Fatah organization continues to gleefully take credit for murdering Jews.
After taking a colossal risk for peace, Israel abandoned the Gaza Strip to the Arabs, who showed their contempt for peace by sidestepping civilized society and instead sliding into 7th-century barbarism and Islamism. They rained thousands of missiles upon Israeli towns and villages adjacent to the terror-infested, Arab-occupied territory, and the world stood by in silence. Now that same world demands that a similar fate befall Jewish Jerusalem.
That has been the sorry pattern of Israel's suicidal policy of "land for peace," whereby the Palestinian aggressors receive land from Israel only to then launch new terrorism against Israel from abandoned territory. In turn, Israel never receives peace. This failed and tragic policy has been pressed upon Israel by successive American secretaries of state and presidents, but never more so than by the current American president, whose formative years were deeply influenced by Islam.
Israeli leaders have seemed unable to learn any lessons from their earlier futile withdrawals from southern Lebanon and Gaza. If the Obama administration has its way, the ancestral Jewish homeland in Judea and Samaria will be lost -- not by the ravages of an enemy host, but, to its eternal shame, by an Israeli government acquiescing to national suicide.
As Frank Gaffney wrote in an article some years ago about the delusional peace process:
... The entire Annapolis house of cards is built on the fraudulent foundation that the Palestinian faction established by Abbas' mentor, Yasser Arafat, is a reliable partner for peace. Only a zealot who has altogether lost any sense of reality could make such an assertion.
Will Prime Minister Netanyahu withstand the brutal pressure from Barack Hussein Obama and refuse to sell out Israel's viability with an undivided capital city in eternal Jerusalem? It remains to be seen, but if Netanyahu falters, then Israel may not be able to defend itself after being forced back within its nine-mile-wide pre-1967 parameters -- which an Israeli statesman named Abba Eban described as the "Auschwitz borders."
Victor Sharpe is a freelance writer and author of Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state.