Three Thousand years ago, King David made Jerusalem his capital and Jews have aspired to live in Jerusalem ever since. Since the 1840’s, Jews have comprised the largest single group of Jerusalem’s inhabitants. Moreover, since the 1880’s, Jews have been a majority of its population. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any nation other than ancient and modern Israel.
Jerusalem always has played the central role in Jewish religious and political life. The “Western Wall” was part of the Jewish Temple built more than 2,000 years ago. Jerusalem has been an integral feature in daily Jewish prayer, and when Jews pray anywhere in the world, they still face Jerusalem. (Muslims face Mecca.) To the Jewish people, “Jerusalem” is a synonym for all of Israel, their ancestral homeland.
Jerusalem has long been a city of people from diverse backgrounds. There were fairly distinct Jewish, Arab, Christian and other neighborhoods, but in all its history the city was never divided – until the Jordanian occupation in 1948, which forcefully drove all Jews out of East Jerusalem, including the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.
“Only from 1948-1967 – during the Jordanian occupation – was the eastern part of Israel’s capital ‘Arab territory’. Palestinians have no more claim to sovereignty there than Russia does in formerly occupied Eastern Berlin.”1
President Obama’s “Two-State” proposal calls for a divided Jerusalem. The Arabs will accept a portion of Jerusalem for their state only as a tactical component in their Strategy of Stages for Israel’s destruction. But aware of what that portends and the fact that “East Jerusalem” contains the Jewish quarter of the Old City with the “Western Wall” of the sacred Temple, Israel could not yield to such a “solution”.
Bi-Partisan Congressional Resolutions in 1990 and 1992 strongly affirmed the conviction that “Jerusalem should remain an undivided city and recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.”
In 1995, the Jerusalem Embassy Act, S.1322, was passed. Among it’s cosponsors: Joseph Biden, Ted Kennedy, John McCain, Harry Reid, John Kerry, Joseph Lieberman, Strom Thurmond, Bob Dole. It was termed a “Statement of the Policy of the United States”:
“(1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected;
(2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.”
In 2007, Hillary Clinton, now Secretary of State, issued a paper stating: “Hillary Clinton believes that Israel’s right to exist in safety as a Jewish State, with defensive borders and an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, secure from violence and terrorism, must never be questioned”.
In 2008, Barak Obama stated: “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided”. But the very next day, Obama explained that he actually supported dividing Jerusalem, and said: “The point we were simply making is that we don’t want barbed wire running through Jerusalem, similar to the way it was prior to the 1967 War, that it is possible for us to create a Jerusalem that is cohesive and coherent”. (Ital. added) 2
Is it “possible for us to create a Jerusalem that is cohesive and coherent” – and divided?What, if anything, does a “cohesive and coherent” divided Jerusalem really mean? The point is that in his push for a “Two-State Solution”, even before any Arab-Israel negotiations, President Obama unilaterally rejected the idea that Jerusalem should remain undivided. And signaled thereby that he, President Obama, already has determined what the outcome must be on other critical issues in the Arab-Israel “negotiations”. This is consistent with his apparent presumption that the cause of Arab bitterness and hostility originates from injustices committed against them by Israel (and America). And that presumption implies unjustifiable apologetic deference to the political and religious based Arab hostility to Israel’s very existence.
1 “Jerusalem – One City Undivided”, editorial column in The Boston Globe, July 22, 2009
2 Outpost, May, 2010
*Dr. Arnold M. Soloway, President Emeritus and Founder of the Center for Near East Policy Research, earned a Doctorate degree in Economics at Harvard University in 1952, taught on its faculty until 1960, and was elected Chairman of the Graduate Society Council in 1982. Following his 1952 analysis of Boston’s financial problems, he was asked to and did serve on the Mayor’s Committee on Boston’s Finances from 1953-1957. From 1961-62 he served as Special Advisor on Fiscal Affairs to Governor John A. Volpe. From 1964-1966 he was Special Consultant to the (U.S.) Economic Development Administration. From 1974-1979 he was Director-at-Large, National Bureau of Economic Research. In 1978-79 he served as Chairman, Mayor’s Special Commission on Boston Public Housing. He was principal author of Truth and Peace in the Middle East, Friendly House, New York, 1971 and The Role of Arab Political Culture and History in the Conflict with Israel, Center for Near East Policy Research, April 1985.