Photo by Sebastian Scheiner / Associated Press Ultra-Orthodox Jewish followers of Neturei Karta burn an Israeli flag against Israel’s Independence Day in Jerusalem on Tuesday. This small Jewish sect, who believe that Jews should not have a state until the Messiah comes, are part of countless others who have wrestled with Israel for rightful control of Jerusalem.

“throw off” [the literal meaning of “intifada”] the Jews from the Temple Mount, which symbolizes Jerusalem.

The PLO and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem (Al-Quds), all of Jerusalem, as the capital of a future Palestinian state – not East Jerusalem.

The Camp David talks in summer 2000 were an eye opener for Israeli officialdom. It was there that Arafat rejected any form of Jewish control in Jerusalem, saying over and over that, “I will not agree to any Israeli sovereign presence in Jerusalem.”

He was echoed by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Abdullah, who stated that “there is nothing to negotiate about and compromise on when it comes to Jerusalem.”

Even Oman’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin ‘Alawi bin ‘Abdullah told the Israeli prime minister at the time that sovereignty in Jerusalem should be exclusively Palestinian “to ensure security and stability.”

Every year, Arafat’s annual May 15 speech, which marked Nakba Day, the day of Israel’s creation, which the PLO calls NAKBA, the day of their destruction, with a call for conquest of all of Jerusalem, e.g.

No Connection Between Jews And Jerusalem?

When the “Palestinian National Authority Official Web site” was launched in 1997, it featured a lengthy section about Jerusalem which is designed to minimize Jewish ties to Jerusalem.

The chronology in the report notes a Jewish historical connection three times:

* “1000 B.C. Israelites (when conquered by king David)”

* “586 B.C. Babylonians (when Nebuchad Nezzer conquered it, and moved its Jewish inhabitants to Babylon.”

* “135 B.C. Macabbean Jew”

The construction of the Second Temple and its later destruction are not included in the chronology. The Web site denies any Jewish historical ties to the Western Wall.

The section titled “The Most Distinctive Religious Sites in Jerusalem” mentions the “Al-Boraq wall, which is the name of the creature on which Prophet Mohammad made his ascension to heaven and often referred to by Jews as the Wailing Wall. According to the section,?”it is part of the exterior facade of the western wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

The new Palestinian Authority School textbooks teach a new generation of Palestinian children of the centrality of Jerusalem’s role in Christianity and Islam, while ignoring any Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

As Daniel Pipes has noted, “A body of literature blossoms that insists on an exclusive Islamic claim to all of Jerusalem.”

Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, the Mufti of Jerusalem and the Higher Islamic Authority of Palestine, appointed by the Palestinian Authority, gave an interview to the German Die Welt on Jan. 17, 2001, which speaks for itself.

“There is not even the smallest indication of the existence of a Jewish temple on this place in the past,”?Sabri said. “In the whole city, there is not even a single stone indicating Jewish history. Our right, on the other hand, is very clear. This place belongs to us for 1500 years.”

Yasser Arafat frequently claimed that the Jews fabricated a religious connection to both Jerusalem and the Wailing Wall. In an interview that Arafat gave to the London Arabic daily Al-Hayat on Oct. 5, 2002, he explained: “For 34 years [the Israelis] have dug tunnels [around the Temple Mount]. They found not a single stone proving that the Temple of Solomon was there, because historically the Temple was not in Palestine [at all]. They found only remnants of a shrine of the Roman Herod. They are now trying to put in place a number of stones so that they can say ‘We were here.’ “

Abu Mazen, Arafat’s successor has shown consistent support for Arafat’s theories on Jerusalem.

Speaking to the Israeli-Arab weekly, Kul Al Arab on Aug. 25, 2000, he stated, “Anyone who wants to forget the past cannot come and claim that the [Jewish] temple is situated beneath the Haram. They demand that we forget what happened 50 years ago to the refugees – and I speak as a living, breathing refugee – while at the same time they claim that 2000 years ago they had a temple. I challenge the claim that this is so.”

After Arafat’s passing on Nov. 11, 2004, Abbas maintained the policy of denial of Jerusalem to the Jews on TV.

Palestinian Campaign For… West Jerusalem

In 1994, an Arab research outfit, the Institute for Jerusalem Studies (IJS) and an Israeli left wing outfit, the Alternative Information Center (AIC) launched a joint research effort to study events which transformed the Western parts of Jerusalem into a Jewish city as well as the fate of the Arab communities evicted in this process. This study, completed in June 1997, titled “The Arab Neighborhoods of West Jerusalem and the Fate of their Inhabitants in the War of 1948,” had as its stated purpose to create “possible ways for the restitution of Palestinian rights in what is now West Jerusalem.”

The PLO used the results of that exhaustive study to pioneer a massive computer data base at the PLO base in Jerusalem until the Israeli government closed the Orient House in August 2001.

On the database Web site, people who define themselves as displaced Palestinians can click on to the village or neighborhood where their grandparents had lived before 1948.

With the completion of the database for West Jerusalem property claims complete, Takagi launched tours of Israeli neighborhoods in West Jerusalem which had been Arab neighborhoods, which continue to this day.

At the time, the head of the PLO Refugee Rights Committee, Daoud Baraket, candidly expressed in an interview with Israel Resource News Agency about the purpose of these bus trips. Betake said that this was to enable Palestinians to move back to their homes under a U.N. resolution.

And what if people are living in these homes?

“They will simply have to leave, and international law is on our side,” Betake said.

UNRWA, which hosts Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendents in two UNRWA camps in Jerusalem [in Kaldandia and in Shuafat], has played a vital role in helping to located Arabs who own property in West Jerusalem. so that they can reclaim it.

Israeli Sovereignty In Jerusalem Opposed By The U.N., U.S.

The U.N.?Position: The U.N. Security Council declared that the 1980 proclimation declaring a unified Jerusalem, including annexed East Jerusalem, as Israel’s “eternal and indivisible” capital was “null and void and must be rescinded forthwith” (the vote went 14 for, with the United States abstaining). The resolution advised member states to withdraw their diplomatic representation from the city as a punitive measure.

Before this resolution, thirteen countries maintained their embassies in Jerusalem. Following the U.N. resolution, all thirteen moved their embassies to Tel Aviv. No international embassy remains in Jerusalem, although Paraguay and Bolivia have theirs in Mevasseret Zion, a suburb 10km west of the city.

The one U.N. mediator who tried to impose a U.N. mandate over Jerusalem, Counte Folk Bernadotte, was assassinated in Jerusalem by Yehoshua Cohen, a Stern Group operative who went on to become the right hand man of the first Prime Minister and Defense Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion. The U.N. did not pursue a U.N. mandate over Jerusalem after that event.

The U.S. Position: The family of an American citizen Ben Blutstein, who was killed by terrorists in July 2002 while he was sitting in a cafeteria at Hebrew University, could not get the U.S. State Department to allow his U.S. death certificate to state “Jerusalem, Israel.”

The same policy applies to birth certificates. Four of this reporter’s children were born in Jerusalem. Their birthplace on their American birth certificates is listed as Jerusalem, with no mention of Israel.

This reflects an unchallenged U.S. policy that recognizes no part of Jerusalem as part of Israel. For years, pro-Israel activists have worked on the wrong issue: Asking that the U.S. move its embassy to Jerusalem without asking that the U.S. first recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel.

Yet few realize that the October 1995 legislation which passed Congress, and which mandates the U.S. to move its embassy to Jerusalem, does not recognize Jerusalem as a part of Israel, nor does it say that Jerusalem would be the exclusive capital of Israel.

U.S. law also allows Jerusalem to serve as a future capital of a Palestine in the future.

The former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurzer, an Orthodox Jew, was asked by reporters as to whether repairs of the Hurva Synagogue, the synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, would be considered to be “illegal settlement activity.” His answer, in writing, was affirmative.

The Hurva synagogue was the largest of the 57 synagogues destroyed in the Old City of Jerusalem when the Jordanians conquered that part of the city in 1949.

According to the CIA handbook, as it appears on the Web, 177,000 Israeli Jewish “settlers” live in 20 Jewish “settlements” that were established by Israel in areas of Jerusalem that were annexed to Israel in 1967.

So there you have it: The US recognizes Jerusalem as extraterritorial to Israel, and defines all areas built by Israel in Jerusalem after 1967 as “illegal.”

The question remains whether the U.S. will ever recognize Jerusalem as an integral part of Israel. That policy decision would be more crucial policy decision than the symbolic issue of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

David Bedein can be reached at His Web site is

©The Bulletin 2007


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Previous articleDilemmas Of Israel Military Operation In Gaza Discussed
Next articleIDF Chief: Gaza Incursion Inevitable While Syria, Hezbollah Represent A Threat
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.