A Single Question for Ban Ki-moon

The question is why?

And it is posed in response to a statement made on behalf of the secretary-general of the UN this week:

"A way must be found for Jerusalem to emerge as a capital of two states."

It is, of course, important to keep in mind that Ban Ki-moon represents one of the most morally deficient of international agencies, an agency that is blatantly and unabashedly anti-Israel.

And yet... and yet... there is a perversity to Ban's logic - or absence thereof - that is greatly troubling.

Every single resolution of the UN Security Council pertinent to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has said that the issues must be resolved via negotiations between the parties.  And here comes the head of the UN, with a statement that directly undermines that principle:  He is prepared to state before the fact of final negotiations what the outcome "must" be.

And why "must" it be?  Apparently because he sees the formation of a Palestinian state as a "moral" imperative, and the Palestinian Arabs have said they will not accept any state that does not have Jerusalem as its capital.  (Please note, even though the pretense is that they want to divide Jerusalem and are seeking only eastern Jerusalem as their capital, in most instances they call for Jerusalem to be their capital.)    

That's it, then? The Arabs say they want Jerusalem, and so the Jews must give it to them, or the eastern portion at any rate.

In insisting that this must be the case, Ban is ignoring a host of factors, including historical context and the several rights of the Jewish people.

When the Palestinian Arabs demand "East" Jerusalem, they are actually referring to the portion of Jerusalem that is beyond what is known as the Green Line.  "East" Jerusalem runs east, north and south of "West" Jerusalem.

The suggested apportionment of the city predicated on this "East-West" division perpetuates a myth: the ubiquitously promulgated fiction that there was something sacrosanct about the Green Line.

In point of fact, however, it was nothing more than a temporary armistice line-a ceasefire line, agreed upon by Israel and Jordan as part of the armistice agreement signed in 1949 at the end of the War of Independence.  This was the war initiated by the Arab League immediately following Israel's establishment, in an attempt to destroy the new state. 

The armistice agreement itself specified that the armistice line would not prejudice future negotiations on a permanent border.  And yet, a good portion of the world today believes that this Green Line was once the "true" eastern border of Israel.

What is more, the corollary fiction has been spun that Palestinian Arabs were on the eastern side of that Green Line, so that giving eastern Jerusalem to them now to serve as their capital is merely justice - it's a question of giving them back what they had. 

There's a small problem with this however: They never had it.  There was no Palestinian administrative authority then.  On the eastern side of the Green Line, Jordan was in charge.  This is the Jordan that rendered eastern Jerusalem Judenrein, thereby creating an "Arab" part of the city.

In 1967, Israel liberated eastern Jerusalem and again had access to her holy places.  In July 1980, the Knesset passed the Jerusalem Law, declaring, "Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel." Eastern Jerusalem is indivisibly part of the capital, and the Jewish population of eastern Jerusalem today constitutes almost half of the population of that part of the city.

As to Jewish rights, there is a great deal that merits mention:

  • Jerusalem in 3,000 years has never been the capital for any people other than the Jews.
  • In the course of those 3,000 years, it has been divided only once, during the 19 years when Jordan held eastern Jerusalem.
  • Over the millennia, Jews have consistently maintained a presence in Jerusalem, and have been the majority in the city, in modern times, since the mid-1800s.
  • The Jewish connection to Jerusalem is unique: Jews worldwide face Jerusalem when praying, and remember the city in their prayers on a daily basis.
  • The heart of Jewish heritage, including the Temple Mount, is in the older, eastern part of Jerusalem, the very part that is envisioned as a Palestinian capital.

To this we can add the fact that the Jewish right to Jerusalem was set in international law with the Mandate for Palestine established unanimously by the League of Nations in 1922; it granted Palestine (which includes Jerusalem) to the Jews for establishment of a homeland.

How much of this does Ban Ki-moon know?  This writer's guess would be, not a great deal.

Would it change matters if he were told? 

It is highly unlikely.  Especially if he were seeking to fulfill a role as unofficial spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority.  In that instance, there would be little point in letting facts get in the way.
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