Housing demolitions carried out under the pretext of unlicensed construction are a common occurrence in occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinians are rarely granted permits by the Israeli authorities to build houses in the city. Apartments prices have risen drastically in Jerusalem — 120 m apartment would cost approximately $350,000. As a result, they are forced to build without a permit, which often results in the Israeli authorities issuing demolition orders on unlicensed buildings.
In 2013, 82 houses owned by Palestinians in Jerusalem were demolished, effecting 281 people. In recent years, self-demolition of houses has become common in East Jerusalem as the Palestinian owners of “unlicensed” houses are forced to choose between demolishing the houses themselves or paying the Jerusalem municipality to do so for them.
In this video Muhammad ‘Amireh speaks of his experience of having to demolish his own house.
Jerusalem – A video, captured by Rami Alarya of the Alqods Independent Media Center, showed a number of Israeli soldiers assaulting a Palestinian child, on Friday evening, February 4 2014, after shooting him by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the leg, and photographing themselves abusing him.
The soldiers assaulted the child during clashes that took place in the al-Ezariyya town, east of occupied East Jerusalem.
One of the soldiers tried to push the cameraman, Alarya, and his colleague, Amin Alawya, away from the scene, and was yelling at them, “Enough, enough…. go away… what do you want…”
Medical sources said the soldiers shot the child, Yassin al-Karaky, 13 years of age, with a rubber-coated metal bullet, which hit the 13-year old in the leg. After he fell, the soldiers began assaulting and abusing him.
The attack took place after soldiers, who hid in a building near the Annexation Wall in the Qabsa area, ambushed a group of children, and one of the soldiers opened fire on the children.
Then several soldiers attacked and assaulting the wounded child before kidnapping him.
The soldiers took pictures of themselves with the wounded child, and a soldier picked up a Molotov cocktail from the ground, while the child shouted in Hebrew, “it’s not mine, it’s not mine”, and a soldier responded, “it’s yours, it’s Ok… it’s yours”.
One of the soldiers was holding him in a choke-hold, and was mocking the child by imitating wrestling moves while other soldiers took pictures, although the child was barely able to breathe.
The soldiers then placed the child in their jeep, while one of them was still filming the incident.
BETHLEHEM – Two Palestinian youths were shot and injured by Israeli forces early Friday at a checkpoint east of Jerusalem in the West Bank, witnesses said.
Witnesses told Ma’an that 19-year-old Jawhar Nasser Jawhar was injured by Israeli fire at al-Zaayyem checkpoint near Abu Dis.
Additionally, Adam Abd al-Raouf Halabiya, 17, was injured in the incident.
Jawhar remains in Israeli custody, and was not immediately given access to first aid, witnesses said.
His mother Svetlana, a Ukrainian citizen, said that her son was admitted to an Israeli hospital.
She spoke to Ma’an via telephone from the hospital, where she said she was being prevented from seeing her son. She said Israeli soldiers instructed doctors not to answer her questions about his health.
Israeli forces also threatened to deport her to Ukraine, she said.
An Israeli Border Police spokesman was unable to be reached for comment.
Here, right to freedom of movement is relative. (Photo: Tamar Fleishman)
We usually prefer to exit Palestine using Hizme checkpoint, where unlike other exit checkpoints, there are no long lines of cars, we aren’t detained and there is no need for identification or getting out of the vehicle to open and present the content of the trunk. You merely slow down by the soldier and answer a generic question like “how is it going?” with an “OK”. Sometimes even that isn’t required, just nod your head and that’s it, you can drive on.
But it’s different for us than for those who don’t pass the test examining the visage and accent of the driver. They, Palestinians from east Jerusalem, in spite of being permanent residents who have the right for freedom of movement (unlike their brothers who reside in the West Bank), are forced to stop, park their vehicle by the soldier’s post on the side of the road, identify themselves, exit the car and open the trunk so the solider can see inside.
Their right to freedom of movement is relative and they are subjected to the mercy and whims of the men in uniform.
The individual’s story is testimony to the story of the general public. The individual in this case was A who after visiting his family intended to drive through Hizme on his way back, with him were his wife, his baby son and someone he knew that said to him: “could you do me a favor, I need to get to Jerusalem, could I ride with you?”- So he did. A didn’t give him a thorough inspection, and had no idea what color his ID was and what was his address. He was just doing someone a favor. But the soldier at the checkpoint did perform an inspection and found out that A was giving a lift to someone who wasn’t permitted to pass through a checkpoint intended only for settlers, like Hizme checkpoint.
The man was arrested and taken away.
A was told to turn his engine off and to stay in the vehicle, in addition they took his car keys.
A, his wife and their child sat and waited. But the baby, who had yet to learn that a soldier’s order must be obeyed, began crying and wailing. The minutes that passed were long and the crying only grew stronger. But they couldn’t step out of the car, they couldn’t take the baby out of his booster, and he couldn’t be cradled in his mother’s arms. A tried getting out to reason with them, but was told to: “stay in the car!” and so he got back in.
After an hour his car keys were handed back to him and his wife and child were sent back home, while A was taken to the police station. There he waited for another hour, until he was given a summons to return on the next day.
Ever since he has been going back and forth to the police station, each day he waits for his name to be called, then he is taken into a room, the piece of paper he was handed on the previous day is taken from him and in return he is given a new paper summoning him to come back on the next day.
The time, the agitation, not to mention the money- all these are of no importance and are not taken into account.
Once he dared to ask why they weren’t handling his case and a policeman said to him: “I don’t have time for you, I’ve got lots of work”- “But my case is part of your work”, replied A, but instead of an answer he got a piece of paper in exchange for the one given to him on the previous day.
Yes, he will be back tomorrow, and perhaps even on the day after that.
This is how the representatives of the authority, who have unlimited power in their hands, handle people, whose rights are conditioned by circumstances.
(Translated by Ruth Fleishman)
The secretary of the PLO Executive Committee has revealed the details of John Kerry’s plan for the Israel-Palestine negotiations. Yasser Abed Rabbo spoke to London’s Al-Hayat newspaper.
According to Abed Rabbo, the US Secretary of State’s proposal includes Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state; establishing part of East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine; resolving the refugee problem in accordance with the vision of former US President Bill Clinton; maintaining Israeli control of major settlement blocs and leasing the others back to Israel; Israel’s control over border crossings and air space; and the presence of US-Israel-Jordan-Palestinian security forces on the border. “The Israelis would also have the right of ‘hot pursuit’ of fugitives or suspected criminals in the Palestinian state,” he revealed. “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected these ideas because he wants to carve out the land he wants and refuses to discuss the Jerusalem issue. He also refuses the intervention of any other party in security matters, even America.”
The PLO official pointed out that this way of thinking was essentially unacceptable. “We Palestinians have been more than clear when it comes to this matter. We have stated many times that we reject the concept of a so-called national homeland for Jews in historic Palestine or the concept of a ‘Greater Israel’. Netanyahu has expressed that he not only wants to legitimise the Zionist national narrative and the expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 but also Israel’s ongoing settlement projects, which aim to achieve the Zionist dream of a Greater Israel.”
As for security arrangements, Abed Rabbo said that there is talk of potential security arrangements and the standards by which these arrangements will be run. “They will last for many years and are supposedly subject to improved Palestinian security performance. However, this will ultimately still be controlled by Israel, which will maintain control even though America has pledged that it will remain involved as these arrangements are made and see to it that Israel withdraws from certain areas including the Jordan Valley.”
Such security arrangements, he claimed, will maintain Israel’s security strongholds on mountain tops and in Palestinian airspace. Israel will maintain the right to fly over Palestinian land should it feel an impending security threat. “At this point, any semblance of Palestinian sovereignty or geographic unity has been completely torn apart”, warned Abed Rabbo.
Settlements, Jerusalem and refugees
He pointed out that there have been numerous discussions about Israel’s vast settlement blocs in the occupied West Bank. Rumours suggest that Israel wants to rent out settlement units to settlers in the event that a Palestinian state is established. What this means, he claims, is that the settlements will remain as they are and settlers will continue to live there as Israeli citizens with special status in the Palestinian state.
“According to Israel, Jerusalem is not up for negotiation and will remain under full Israeli control as its undivided capital,” he explained. “There is rather mysterious general talk about Palestinians establishing their future capital in Jerusalem but, from Israel’s point of view, Jerusalem extends from Ramallah to Bethlehem to the Jordan Valley border. Thus, it could easily be argued that Abu Dis or Kufr Aqab could be named as the future Palestinian capital.”
As far as Palestinian refugees are concerned, said the PLO official, there are four possible outcomes, as envisioned by President Clinton; one of them suggests the return of a limited number of refugees, as stated in Israel law.
The Palestinian Authority’s position
According to Abed Rabbo, the Palestinian Authority cannot accept any of these potential solutions, especially given that Netanyahu is believed to insist on there being no Arab presence in Jerusalem and rejects outright the refugees’ right of return.
“Netanyahu does not want the involvement of any third party, American or non-American, in any of his security arrangements in the Jordan Valley even if it remains under Israeli control. He wants all decisions to be Israeli decisions and judging by our previous attempts in the past, any of our attempts to abide by a plan or time table will be disrupted completely by Israel”, he noted. Israel and America claim that the Palestinian people will be able to get territory equivalent to the West Bank’s 1967 borders through land swaps. “I do not understand how this is possible with settlement blocs, Israeli security zones and the apartheid wall, which divides the eastern and western regions of the West Bank completely. We are supposed to believe that we can gain territory through land swaps? This is impossible.”
The PLO veteran described those Israelis who suggest “people swaps” to accompany land swaps as “racist”, pointing out that the organisation would not accept any population exchanges.
“Palestinian Arabs living inside Israel are not settlers,” he stressed. “They did [not] come to Israel through an invasion or by migration. They are the owners of that land and no one can uproot them from their homes. Swapping settlers for Israeli-Arabs would mean swapping Israeli citizens for Israeli citizens; how is this possible?” For Abed Rabbo, this shows that the Israeli government does not consider Arabs to be true citizens of the state. “They regard them as second or third class citizens with no rights, which is absolutely racist. They seek to ethnically cleanse that territory more than they want to swap land.”
That is the framework under which most ideas were discussed, said Abed Rabbo. “We do not have any official documentation to prove it but the information gets leaked from Israel in one way or another.”
Reasons for Israeli refusal
He is not surprised that Israel rejects most proposals for the simple reason that it wants to carve out as much land as possible from the occupied West Bank and maintain absolute control, especially in security zones. This would give Israel the “right” to intervene to protect settlements, which would also mean that it has control of the road networks leading to them.
“We are being confronted with an ultimatum,” he added. “We are not standing in front of two different options with various formulas that we can accept or reject. However, any attempt to sweeten the language of these agreements instead of criticising their prejudices will lead us to disaster.”
He ruled out any blame being attached to the Palestinians should Kerry’s plan fail. “The blame game does not concern us and we do not take it in our political consideration. Who will blame us for wanting to have our country based on 1967 borders, and to have East Jerusalem as our capital, and to have a fair and agreeable resolution for the refugee issue?”
Although John Kerry has “done his best” to make proposals acceptable to both sides, argues Abed Rabbo, it seems that he has read the Israeli position at the beginning and accepted the verbal, generic, vague and ambiguous assurances that Netanyahu usually offers to whoever he meets. “He must have interpreted them in some form and when he looked at the fine print realised that there are two different Israeli positions.”
As such, he believes, Netanyahu lured Kerry to discuss the issue of security first and Kerry fell for it, thinking that it will lead to a big breakthrough for the negotiations and will open the way for discussion of other issues. “To his surprise, he discovered that the Israelis want to use security as an excuse to justify their ambitions for expansion,” concluded Abed Rabbo. “This explains how and why we have reached the current impasse.”
Amjad Abu Asab, a spokesman for a committee that represents Jerusalemite prisoners, told Ma’an that Israel agreed to free a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a former Minister of Jerusalem Affairs.
Abu Asab said that lawmaker Muhammad Tutah and former minister Khalid Abu Arafah have been detained for two years on the charge of entering Jerusalem “illegally,” after Israel revoked their Jerusalem IDs.
Both Tutah and Abu Arafah have also been accused of being leaders of the Hamas movement in the Jerusalem area, Abu Asab said.
The Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the 24-month imprisonment was sufficient punishment, and that the two should be released, giving the Israeli military prosecution a week to respond, he said.
The response came Wednesday that the prisoners would be released but would have to leave Jerusalem.
The two were detained by undercover Israeli forces on Jan. 23, 2012, from offices of the International Red Cross Committee in Jerusalem, Abu Asab said.
Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.
Today, the Palestinian population numbers 293,000 in a city which counts roughly 800,000 residents, UN figures show.
In 2012, Israel’s Interior Ministry revoked the residency status of 116 Jerusalem Palestinians, bringing the total number over 46 years to more than 14,000 people, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.
JERUSALEM – Israeli police officers detained a young Palestinian woman Sunday morning as she tried to enter the al-Aqsa Mosque compound through the Chain Gate.
Witnesses told a Ma’an reporter that Hiba al-Taweel, a student who takes courses on Islamic teaching in the compound, was detained.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld was not familiar with the incident.
Separately, more than 30 Jewish Israelis led by right wing extremist Yehuda Glick toured the al-Aqsa compound on Sunday.
Yehuda Glick is an American-born Israeli and the chairman of the Temple Mount Heritage Fund, an extremist Jewish organization focused on “strengthening the relationship between Israel and the Temple Mount.” He has been previously banned by Israeli authorities from entering the compound due to provocations while on the site.
Critics charge that the Fund actually leads tours to the site with the intention of leading Jewish prayer there — currently banned under Israeli agreements — and encouraging Jews to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque and build a Jewish temple there.
Because of the sensitive nature of the Al-Aqsa compound, Israel maintains a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls it to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area. Israeli forces regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, leading to tension with Palestinian worshipers.
The compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque and is the third holiest site in Islam.
It is also venerated as Judaism’s most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
According to mainstream Jewish religious leaders, Jews are forbidden from entering for fear they would profane the “Holy of Holies,” or the inner sanctum of the Second Temple.
Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
GAZA — Palestinian media forum (PMF) has strongly condemned the plan of American TV company (NBC) to film a drama series, in partnership with the occupation municipality, in Silwan in occupied Jerusalem.
PMF said in a statement on Thursday that NBC is preparing to produce and broadcast a drama series in the “City of David”, with the aim of strengthening the Israeli narrative about the city of Jerusalem, which would give legitimacy to Israel’s policies of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and colonization in occupied Jerusalem.
According to Israeli and American media, the NBC network is cooperating with Israeli authorities, film makers and the Keshet Media Group to produce an action series entitled DIG mainly in occupied East Jerusalem, near the Old City.
Most of the filming will take place in the so-called “City of David national park”, which is established on Palestinian property in the neighborhood of Silwan and which is operated by the Israeli settler organization El’ad and the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority.
The PMF asserted that the production of this drama series comes within the framework of the falsification of history and the Judaization of Jerusalem.
Here we go again. On Israel and the US losing their UNESCO voting rights, ‘Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Nimrod Barkan, ‘said in an interview that his country supports the U.S. decision [to suspend contributions], “objecting to the politicization of UNESCO, or any international organization, with the accession of a non-existing country like Palestine.” (AP 8-11-13)
Palestine-denial, next to straight out violent ethnic-cleansing, is Israel’s sinister stratagem to wipe Palestinians off the face of their own ancestral land in order to lay a fictitious claim to the whole of historic Palestine.
Like the boy who cried ‘wolf’, Israel’s frenetic cries of ‘delegitimisation’ or’ anti-semitism’ at criticism of its illegal occupation and apartheid policies, are falling on the skeptical ears of the decent masses fed up with Israel’s double standards of delegitimising Palestine and dehumanising Palestinians as non-people.
In between the years spanning Golda Meir’s “There were no such things as the Palestinians… They did not exist.” (June 15, 1969) to the regurgitation by US Presidential nominee candidate, Newt Gingrich, Sheldon Adelson’s ventriloquist dummy, “Remember, there was no Palestine as a state — (it was) part of the Ottoman Empire. I think we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs” (10 12- 11) and up to Barkan’s present absurdity, are torrents of similar Zionist gibberish in the media.
Just as the English people evolved over millennia through the assimilation of indigenous folk and conquering colonisers and migrants, ie Picts, Celts, Britons, Romans, Angles, Saxons and Normans, so too modern Palestinians descended from sundry peoples; Canaanites, Edomites, Eremites, Moabites, Assyrians, Egyptians, Philistines, Hebrews, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Europeans,Turks.
In fact the nation of England didn’t manifest from multiple kingdoms until the 10th century CE and English identity only began to develop after the Norman conquests in the 12th century. At that time Palestine was part of the Arab Caliphate that took over from 600 years of Roman rule in 634 and held Palestine until 1516 three times longer than the sum of historic Jewish control sans the fictitious monarchies of Saul, David and Solomon:
“There is no evidence of a United Monarchy no evidence of a capital in Jerusalem or of any coherent, unified political force that dominated western Palestine, let alone an empire of the size the legends describe. We do not have evidence for the existence of kings named Saul, David or Solomon; nor do we have evidence for any temple at Jerusalem in this early period. What we do know of Israel and Judah of the tenth century does not allow us to interpret this lack of evidence as a gap in our knowledge and information about the past, a result merely of the accidental nature of archeology. There is neither room nor context, no artifact or archive that points to such historical realities in Palestine’s tenth century. One cannot speak historically of a state without a population. Nor can one speak of a capital without a town. Stories are not enough.” The Bible in History: How Writers Create a Past, Thomas L Thompson
Thus the Israeli claim to Palestine on historic grounds has much less validity than a claim by modern Italians or Greeks on Palestine, or say Italians or Danes on England or Germans on France or the Syrians on Spain. In his book, ‘The Invention of the Land of Israel’, Israeli historian Prof. Shlomo Sand ‘argues that for 2,000 years the Jews did not constitute a people and that only religion, belief and culture united them.’(Haaretz 24-5-13)
To alchemise the myth that Palestine is the birthplace of the Jewish people into ‘reality’, Israel fused two elements, the Bible and archeology. As the Hebrew Bible is the basis of Christianity, which itself is a pillar of western civilisation, Biblical archeology then becomes the focus and front for a fabricated and dominant Zionist history, a ‘master story’ totally obscuring the rich heritage of Palestinian history. In short, Palestine-denial:
“Appropriations of the past as part of the politics of the present… could be illustrated for most parts of the globe. One further example which is of particular interest to this study, is the way in which archeology and biblical history have become of such importance to the modern state of Israel. It is this combination which has been such a powerful factor in silencing Palestinian history.” ( p.16 The Invention of Ancient Israel: the silencing of Palestinian history, Keith W Whitelam)
The findings of Biblical archeology have gone unquestioned until recently with the advent of The Copenhagen School which challenged the Bible’s literal value as history.
These scholars agree that the heroic biblical accounts of David and Solomon were written between the 5th and 3rd centuries BC; hundreds of years after the so-called Iron Age united monarchy. Much the same as Homer’s heroic Iliad and Odyssey were written 400 years after its Bronze age setting. Nevertheless, the state of Israel has invested heavily in the David myth for its false historic claim to Jerusalem as its capital because it was the city of David.
Indeed, archaeology has become a state apparatus for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the Zionist fairyland aka the City of David Archaeological Park located in the Palestinian village of Silwan in East Jerusalem,
‘De-Arabizing the history of Palestine is another crucial element of the ethnic cleansing. 1500 years of Arab and Muslim rule and culture in Palestine are trivialized, evidence of its existence is being destroyed and all this is done to make the absurd connection between the ancient Hebrew civilization and today’s Israel. The most glaring example of this today is in Silwan, (Wadi Hilwe) a town adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem with some 50,000 residents. Israel is expelling families from Silwan and destroying their homes because it claims that king David built a city there some 3000 years ago. Thousands of families will be made homeless so that Israel can build a park to commemorate a king that may or may not have lived 3000 years ago. Not a shred of historical evidence exists that can prove King David ever lived yet Palestinian men, women, children and the elderly along with their schools and mosques, churches and ancient cemeteries and any evidence of their existence must be destroyed and then denied so that Zionist claims to exclusive rights to the land may be substantiated.’ — Miko Peled, Israeli dissident.
Furthermore Prof. Ze’ev Herzog at Tel Aviv University in Deconstructing the walls of Jericho debunks a historic Exodus myth, “This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel.” The emergence from the desert and creating a unified state where the desert blooms and the brave pioneering Jews prosper lies at the core of Israeli identity and echoed here by President Shimon Peres:
“I remember how it all began. The whole state of Israel is a millimeter of the whole Middle East. A statistical error, barren and disappointing land, swamps in the north, desert in the south, two lakes, one dead and an overrated river. No natural resource apart from malaria. There was nothing here. And we now have the best agriculture in the world? This is a miracle: a land built by people” (Maariv, 14 -4-2013).
The old ‘there was nothing here’ strikes agin! Peres knows this is charlatanry. Palestinian agriculture and trade was booming when the Zionist colonists arrived and was vibrant, booming, and plenteous for centuries.
Guy Le Strange, in 1890, translated in his fascinating book, Palestine Under the Moslems; From AD 650 to 1500, the works of 20 medieval Muslim geographers including the famous Jerusalemite, Al Mukaddasi and Ibn Battuta:
“Filasîn is watered by the rains and the dew. Its trees and its ploughed lands do not need artificial irrigation; and it is only in Nâbulus that you find the running waters applied to this purpose. Filastîn is the most fertile of the Syrian provinces.
“From Palestine come olives, dried figs, raisins, the carobfruit, stuffs of mixed silk and cotton, soap and kerchiefs. “ From Jerusalem come cheeses, cotton, the celebrated raisins of the species known as ’Ainûnî and Dûrî, excellent apples, bananas—which same is a fruit in the form of a cucumber, but when the skin is peeled off, the interior is not unlike the water-melon, only finer flavoured and more luscious—also pine nuts of the kind called ‘ Kuraish-bite’ and their equal is not found elscwhere; further, mirrors, lamp-jars, and needles. “ From Jericho is brought excellent indigo. “ From Sughar and Baisân come both indigo and dates, also the treacle called Dibs. “
“Unequalled is this land of Syria for its dried figs, its common olive-oil, its white bread, and the Ramlah veils; also for the quinces, the pine-nuts called ‘ Kuraish-bite,’ the ’Ainûnî and Duri raisins, the Theriack-antidote, the herb of mint, and the rosaries of Jerusalem. And further, know that within the province of Palestine may be found gathered together six-and-thirty products that are not found thus united in any other land. Of these the first seven are found in Palestine alone; the following seven are very rare in other countries; and the remaining two-and-twenty, though only found thus gathered together in this province, are, for the most part, found one and another, singly, in other lands. Now the first seven are the pine-nuts, called ‘ Kuraish-bite,’ the quince or Cydonian-apple, the ’Ainûnî and the Duri raisins, the Kâfûrî plum, the fig called As Sabâ’i, and the fig of Damascus. The next seven are the Colocasia or water lily, the sycamore, the carob or St. John’s bread (locust-tree), the lotus-fruit or jujube, the artichoke, the sugar-cane, and the Syrian apple. And the remaining twentytwo are the fresh dates and olives, the shaddock, the indigo and juniper, the orange, the mandrake, the Nabk fruit, the nut, the almond, the asparagus, the banana, the sumach, the cabbage, the truffle, the lupin, and the early prune, called At Tarî; also snow, buffalo-milk, the honey-comb, the ‘Âsimî grape, and the Tamri—or date-fig. Further, there is the preserve called Kubbait; you find, in truth, the like of it in name elsewhere, but of a dififerent flavour. The lettuce also, which everywhere else, except only at Ahwâz (in Persia), is counted as a common vegetable, is here in Palestine a choice dish.
What is intriguing in these Muslim chronicles is their acknowledgement of the Jewish and Christian narratives, “In the middle of the Lake of Tiberias is a projecting rock, which they say is the tomb of Solomon, the son of David. Now, the sinking together of the waters of the Lake of Tiberias will be a sign of the coming of the Antichrist, called Ad Dajjâl.” and according to Sand, “it was not until the arrival of the armies of Islam in the early seventh century that Jews were finally allowed to freely enter and reside in their ancient holy city.”
So unlike Israel’s perpetual denial that Palestine ever existed as a nation that disregards the definition of ‘nation’ includes both the legal entity of nation as state and also nation as ‘a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, or history inhabiting a particular country or territory.’ For example in Australia there are over 200 Indigenous nations and over 500 in America.
There are countless historic references to Palestine to counter Israeli denial such as:
1150 BC: “Peleset transliterated from hieroglyphs as P-r-s-t referring to the people and land of the Philistines during Egypt’s Twentieth Dynasty.
800 BC: The Assyrians referred to region as Palashtu
5th Century BC: “The first known occurrence of the Greek word Palaistine is in the Histories of Herodotus, written near the mid-fifth century B.C. Palaistine Syria, or simply Palaistine, is applied to what may be identified as the southern part of Syria, comprising the region between Phoenicia and Egypt.”
306 -337 CE: Of the Roman Emperor Constantine, Eusebius the Palestinian writes in his Vita Constantini: In this manner, then, the emperor executed in Palestine the noble works I have above described: and indeed in every province he raised new churches on a far more imposing scale than those which had existed before his time. Chapter xlvii book III and includes a letter from Constantine to “”Victor Constantinus, Maximus Augustus, to Macarius, and the rest of the bishops in Palestine “ LII
Arab Caliphate 650-1500: “the early division of Syria into five Junds. These corresponded very nearly with the old Roman and Byzantine provinces, such as the Arabs found in existence at the time of the conquest, and which are described in the Code of Theodosius, a work that dates from the fifth century A.D. Palæstina Prima, with Cæsarea for its capital, comprising Judsea and Samaria, became the Arab Jund of Filastîn, with Ramlah for capital. Palæstina Secunda, with Scythopolis (Beth Shean, Baisân) for its capital, comprising the two Galûees and the western part of Persea, became the Jund of Al Urdunn (the Jordan), with Tiberias for the new capital. Palæstina Tertia, or Salutaris, including Idumsea and Arabia Petraea, was absorbed partly into the Damascus Jund, and partly was counted in Filastîn. ( le Strange)
“ The population of Palestine consists of Arabs of the tribes of Lakhm, Judhâm, ’Âmilah, Kindah, Kais ( le Strange)
The discovery of the 7th Century Standing Caliph Coins of Aylah-Filastin
Circa 1603: Shakespeare’s Othello, Act4 Sc.3 ll38-9
EMILIA: I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip.
1896: Even the father of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, recognised Palestine within the Ottoman Empire,”If His Majesty the Sultan were to give us Palestine, we could in return undertake to regulate the whole finances of Turkey.” (The Jewish State,)
1915-8: The Australian War memorial and the official Australian Light Horse website recognise the WW1 Sinai and PALESTINE campaigns.
1927: “the Currency Board put into circulation a new currency which in 1928 became the sole legal currency. This was the Palestine pound, equivalent in value to the pound sterling and divided into 1,000 mils. The notes in current circulation in Palestine are £P ½, 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500. There are also silver coins of 50 and 100 mils and bronze and nickel coins of 5, 10 and 20 mils.”
February 1927: ultra Zionist David Ben Gurion said
“The right which the Arabs in Palestine have is one due to the inhabitants of any country . . . because they live here, and not because they are Arabs . . . The Arab inhabitants of Palestine should enjoy all the rights of citizens and all political rights, not only as individuals, but as a national community, just like the Jews.”
The same Ben Gurion who, according to Prof. Ilan Pappe, was the “architect of ethnic cleansing” during the 1948 Nakba (Catastrophe) when, 500 Palestinian villages were destroyed by Zionist militias and 750,000 Palestinians were forced to leave their ancestral land while thousands of innocents were murdered.
Israel has compelled the criminalisation of Holocaust denial in Europe and elsewhere even though it has enacted domestic laws criminalising Nakba commemoration. The flaccid reaction of world governments to Israel’s galling double standards is as ethically contemptible as Israel’s effrontery to expunge an oppressed people and their lineal land.
Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.
Palestine Information Center – December 5, 2013
GAZA — Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar said that any conciliatory agreement resulting from the current negotiations between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the occupation is non-binding for the Palestinian people.
Zahhar made his remarks during a special session held on Wednesday by the Palestinian legislative council to discuss the report that was submitted by its political committee on the negotiations between the PA and the Israeli occupation regime.
Zahhar called for forming a national front opposing the peace negotiations with the occupation and addressing their detrimental impacts on Palestinian rights and constants.
“The Palestinian negotiators are illegitimate, they neither represent the national consensus nor have the majority that allows them to speak on behalf the Palestinian people,” the Hamas official stated.
He affirmed that the Fatah faction took the Palestinian cause to a dangerous level in its negotiations with the Israeli occupation and waived many Palestinian rights, noting that the results of the negotiations had been settled in advance by the US sponsor in favor of the occupation.
Fatah chose to obey America in order to protect its presence as a representative of the people and insure financial support, he stressed.
Continuation of negotiation condemned
Dr. Ismail Radwan, Minister of Religious Affairs in Gaza, condemned the continuation of negotiation between Israeli and Palestinian authorities despite the national consensus on its rejection.
During his participation in a workshop concerning the current Palestinian situation, Radwan said that the Palestinian situation is “painful” in light the continued detention of thousands of Palestinian behind Israeli bars, escalated Judaization schemes, and security coordination between Israeli and Palestinian forces, in addition to the Islamic nations preoccupation with their internal problems.
Radwan praised the workshop, which contained participants from all Palestinian political parties, considering it a contribution to national reconciliation.
Radwan pointed to the Israeli settlers’ escalated break-ins into al-Aqsa mosque under Israeli forces’ protection in total disregard of Muslims’ feelings and freedom of religion.
He said that the continued Israeli violations in al-Aqsa Mosque aim at imposing a new fait accompli in al-Aqsa Mosque and toward building their alleged Temple on its ruins, stressing that what is happening to Jerusalem is a shame on leaders of the Islamic nations.
He praised the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem who continue to defend al-Aqsa Mosque.
Radwan said that the unfair Israeli siege on Gaza aims at undermining Palestinian resistance, praising Gazan people’s steadfastness.
Radwan called on the Fatah movement to implement Doha and Cairo agreements that stipulate the formation of a national unity government and achieving national reconciliation.
Commenting on a statement by one of the participants, Radwan stressed that resistance is a “red line”, adding that it is a strategic option for the Palestinian people.
Freedom is guaranteed to all Palestinian people under the rule of law, he finally said in response to a question by one of the participants.
- Israeli forces detain three Palestinians trying to enter Al-Aqsa (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Israeli Extremists Invade Yards Of The Al-Aqsa Mosque (imemc.org)
If Joshua did not conquer Jericho, was there any conquest?
The Narrative Challenge
The war of narratives shaped as a “slam dunk” win for the Palestinian people, and had the potential to change the lineup of forces in the struggle for a just solution to the Middle East crisis. After all, unlike the Zionists, the Palestinians are a singular people, speak a common language, have common customs, and lived a shared history. They inhabited the area for centuries, if not for millennia, and tilled and watered the land to which they had legal title. Western nations restructured the Middle East, denied the Palestinians a country, and placed them in a British Mandate. Refusal to agree to surrendering any of their lands to the UN Partition Plan led to the catastrophe in 1948 (Al-Nakba), which left them stateless and subject to Israeli occupation and oppression. As a community, the Palestinians are now headed toward destruction. Can they prevent that destruction by winning the war of narratives?
A Palestinian Negligence
Despite their more compelling narrative, the Palestinians have been unable to successfully articulate their experiences or implement a powerful rebuttal to Israel’s narrations, and Israel has prevailed in the war of narratives, a feat that defies the possible. Adding to the failure is the perplexing manner by which Palestinian institutions and persons unknowingly validate portions of the Zionist narrative and its falsifications of history. As an example, this excerpt appears on the website of the Palestine center, the foremost Palestinian “think tank” in Washington, DC:
The Canaanites were the earliest known inhabitants of Palestine. They became urbanized and lived in city-states, one of which was Jericho. Thus Jericho is considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on earth.
“The Israelites, a confederation of Hebrew tribes, defeated the Canaanites, but found the struggle with the Philistines more difficult. The Philistines had established an independent state on the southern coast of Palestine and controlled the Canaanite town of Jerusalem. The Philistines were superior in military organization to the Israelites [and] severely defeated them about 1050 BCE.
“David, Israel’s king, united the Hebrew tribes and eventually defeated the Philistines. The three groups assimilated with each other over the years. The unity of Israelite tribes enabled David to establish a large independent state, with its capital at Jerusalem. However, that did not last long as that state split into two: Israel in the north and Judea in the south.
Unknowingly, The Palestine Center has published a dubious biblical history, which Israel’s propagandists use to advantage. History and archaeology contest the presentation:
(1) Jericho, one of the earliest cities, no longer existed at the time of the later Canaanites (it eventually recovered), which means it was not continually inhabited, and there was no Jericho for Joshua, and probably no conquest by a Joshua of other tribes.
(2) The Exodus, Conquest and lives of David and Solomon are myths. If a David and/or Solomon existed, they were minor chieftains and not leaders with a capital in Jerusalem.
Exodus and Lack of Proof
Although the ancient Egyptians kept meticulous records, no manuscripts, drawings or documents describe Hebrew slaves in Egypt or an exodus. Besides, Egypt was not, as Rome, a slave state and only kept foreigners captured in war as slaves. If they wandered 40 years in the desert, would not the 100,000 plus Hebrews have left some traces for future collaboration – pottery shards, implements, shreds of garments, or weapons? If they had the latter, which they needed for conquest, how were they obtained or forged? Lastly, because the earliest examples of written Hebrew date from the 10th century B.C. would not the Hebrews, after being captive in Egypt for centuries, have spoken and written a Middle Egyptian language? What language did they speak?
Did Joshua Assault Jericho?
Archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon, in her book Digging up Jericho: The Results of the Jericho Excavations, 1952-1956, Praeger, New York, estimated the city was destroyed before 1550 BC, 150 years prior to Joshua’s supposed arrival, and remained dormant until the 11th century B.C. Radiocarbon tests by Hendrink J. Burns, Tell es-Sultan (Jericho): Radiocarbon results of short-lived cereal and multiyear charcoal samples from the end of the middle Bronze age, Jacob Blaustein, Institute for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, confirmed Ms. Kenyon’s conclusions.
Jericho: Was There any Conquest?
The most definitive rebuttal to biblical history before the 9th century B.C. comes from recognized Tel Aviv University archaeologists Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, who documented their explorations in The Bible Unearthed : Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, Simon & Schuster, 2002.
Their archaeological diggings demonstrated that “the Israelites were simply Canaanites who developed into a distinct culture. Recent surveys of long-term settlement patterns in the Israelite heartlands show no sign of violent invasion or even peaceful infiltration, but rather a sudden demographic transformation about 1200 BCE in which villages appear.”
Finkelstein and Silberman continue with discoveries, which “suggest that Jerusalem was sparsely populated and only a village during the time of David and of Solomon. During the time of Solomon, the northern kingdom of Israel had an insignificant existence, too poor to be able to pay for a vast army, and with too little bureaucracy to be able to administer a kingdom, certainly not an empire.” It was not until the eighth century B.C., 200 years after David, that Jerusalem began to grow.
Control of Jerusalem
Jerusalem’s status is furiously debated in “balanced” discussions. Israel demands total control of a “united city,” which it claims is essential to its heritage, and Palestinians are willing to defer to Jerusalem becoming a shared city. In these “balanced” meetings, the Palestinians cannot gain the offensive, and are unable to obtain a reply to a simple question: Why are Jews allowed to settle in East Jerusalem and reclaim a few dubious properties, while Palestinians are not allowed to settle in West Jerusalem and regain multitudes of usurped properties?
Examine the Holy Basin. The Holy Basin contains well-marked Christian and Muslim institutions and holy places that have had historical placement for more than a millennium – Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Al Asqua Mosque, Dome of the Rock, and Mosque of Omar.
Although Hebrews had major presence in Jerusalem during the centuries of biblical Jerusalem, which included rule by several kingdoms and control by the Hasmonean dynasties, their control and major presence were interrupted between the kingdom and dynasty and became insignificant after 70 A.D. Commentary has enabled the more than two thousand years of lack of control and presence to seem as if they never happened, and that today is only a short interval from the ancient years of King Hezekiah. Centuries of Christian and Crusader rule and more than one thousand years of Muslim rule are less noted, and their tremendous constructions and creations in Jerusalem are downplayed. The Christian and Muslim everythings become nothing and a minor Hebrew something becomes everything. Myth replaces reality. Ethereal spirituality replaces physical presence.
Some remains of Jewish dwellings, burial grounds and ritual baths can be found, but few, if any, major Jewish monuments, buildings or institutions from the Biblical era exist within the “Old City” of today’s Jerusalem. The oft cited Western Wall is the supporting wall for Herod’s platform and is not directly related to the Second Temple. No remains of that Temple have been located.
The Western Wall, which erroneously entered the vernacular as the Wailing Wall by someone during the 19th century, is considered to be close to the “holiest of the holies,” the most revered site in Judaism. According to historian Karen Armstrong, in her book Jerusalem, Ballantine Books; April 29, 1997, Jews did not pray at this part of the Western Wall until the Mamluks in the 15th century allowed them to move their congregations from a dangerous Mount of Olives and pray daily at the Wall. At that time, she estimates that there may have been no more than 70 Jewish families in Jerusalem.
This portion of the Western Wall lacks absolute proof of its being close to the “holiest of the holies,” and therefore has religious significance by default – there is no other readily apparent religious construction from the ancient Hebrew’s Jerusalem. Or, is it significant because Israel wants control of part of the wall that surrounds the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif, a site it hopes to control one day?
In an attempt to connect ancient Israel to present day Jerusalem, Israeli authorities apply spurious labels to Holy Basin landmarks.
• Neither King David’s Tower nor King David’s Citadel relate to the time of King David.
• Neither the Pools of Solomon nor the Stables of Solomon relate to the time or life of King Solomon.
• Absalom’s Tomb is an obvious Greek sculptured edifice and therefore cannot be the tomb of David’s son.
Why should anyone acquiesce to Israel’s demand for incorporating all of a Jerusalem that has no ancient religious institution standing? The answer is conditioning – the constant repetitions of “If I forsake thee Jerusalem,” and “Jerusalem is indivisible” – internalization of a dubious argument and done for covert reasons.
Israel is a physically small and new country with an eager population and big ambitions. It needs more prestige and wants to be viewed as a power broker on the world stage. To gain those perspectives, Israel needs a capital city that commands respect, contains ancient traditions and is recognized as one of the world’s most important and leading municipalities. To assure the objectives, there can be only one Jerusalem and it must be the one that contains the Holy City. A united Jerusalem with a single tourist and business authority is worth a lot of Shekels.
It is distressing to witness “balanced” discussions characterize Jewish identity in Jerusalem as the same, if not of greater intensity, than that of the Palestinians (Muslim and Christian), not have this “balance’ politely refuted, and be tacitly approved by audiences.
And not only is Jewish identity in Jerusalem questioned; modern Judaism’s roots also deserve to be questioned.
Modern Judaism and the Holy Land
In a posted interview on Nov 18, 2008 of an American PBS program Archeology of the Hebrew Bible, William Dever, Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona, who has investigated the archeology of the ancient Near East for more than 30 years, exclaimed, “This is awkward for some people, the notion that Israelite religion was not exclusively monotheistic. But we know now that it wasn’t. Monotheism was a late development. Not until the Babylonian Exile and beyond does Israelite and Judean religion—Judaism—become monotheistic.”
The last sentence is significant.
After the prophets returned from Babylonian exile, possibly influenced by Zoroastrianism, a religion whose God of good and light fought evil and dark, the Hebrews became Jews, instilled with a change in belief from monolatry, exclusive worship of one God without excluding foreigners to worship other Gods, to monotheism, exclusive worship of one universal God. David Danzig in an article Evidence for Survivals of Mesopotamian Civilization in the Babylonian Talmud: clarifies the reason: “The concept of a single God whom all nations would eventually worship evolved among a conquered and exiled people no longer assured of their divinely protected status.”
Many Jews remained in the regions of their exile. Later, hundreds of thousands of Jews arrived in Mesopotamia and Persia during the Persian Parthian and Sassasian Empires, (248 B.C. to 641 A.D.) In this area, schools of Judaism flourished, eventually codifying the oral and written laws and producing the Babylonian Talmud, which, rather then the Jerusalem Talmud, became the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the basis for all Jewish law. In Iraq and Persia, from 500 B.C. and through the Middle Ages, the Jews from Judah shed themselves from the restraints of arid lands and a controlling priestly class, achieved almost total male literacy, developed intellectual prowess, and by 650 A.D., had changed their occupations from artisans, and struggling farmers to those of agriculturists, merchants, and traders, many becoming wealthy from the silk trade.
The biblical “Exodus” story did not free the Jews. Just the opposite, it has been used to keep Jews in perpetual bondage to a spurious history and to promote an attitude of constant victim hood, while distracting them from realizing they might also play a role in the injustices done to others.
The Jewish exodus from their birth lands to Babylonia and Persia (and throughout the Roman Empire), during the centuries before the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D. and several centuries after its occurrence, freed the Jews from a pastoral life, arid conditions, and restricted economics. The already weakened and dispersed Israelite tribes completely disintegrated, and the Hebrews lost a place in an ongoing history. As in the hypothesis of punctured equilibrium, where new species suddenly arise to replace a dying species, new communities of Mesopotamian Jews, knowledgeable and worldly, quickly appeared in the Fertile Crescent. In that region, which soon housed the three great Jewish universities of Surah, Pumbadita and Nehardea, the legacy and heritage of modern Jews and Judaism are best expressed. In The Chosen Few: How Education Shaped Jewish History, 70-1492, winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award in Scholarship, by Maristella Botticini, Zvi Eckstein, Princeton University press, 2012, the authors claim that “Judaism reached its Golden Age in 800 -1200 A.D. During that time, Mesopotamia and Persia contained 75% of world Jewry with the rest in North Africa and Western Europe.”
Battle between Dead and Dying
The World War II Holocaust, which cost the lives of several million Jews, is firmly established in the Israeli conscience and its history is continually circulated throughout the world. The Palestinian catastrophe, Al-Nakba, hides in the shadows of the World War II onslaught. Why is it not more revealed?
Because the Zionist movement to Palestine started decades before World War II and almost all refugees from the conflagration had been relocated before establishment of the state of Israel, the relationship between the state of Israel and the European Holocaust is tenuous. Nevertheless, Israel makes full use of the Jewish tragedy to secure sympathy, periodically reminding the world of previous era horrors, repeating them daily to its children, as if they are being threatened, and convincing a world they need to define their own security in order to prevent the next genocidal attack against them.
The Palestinians have not been alert in changing the direction of the dispute, still regarding it as a conflict between them and the Israelis, when it is now only a crisis for them. The initial disputes between the Zionists and the Palestinians erupted into a conflict. After Israel achieved military victory in 1967, the conflict essentially ended; the Palestinian allies had been defeated and the Palestinians were subjected to Israeli occupation. From then on it has been a growing crisis, which could lead to total destruction of the Palestinian community. This is not semantics; it focuses on the real problem and prevents resources and attention from being diverted to useless activities. As a matter of fact, the attacks on the Palestine community resemble the UN definition of genocide:
Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Israeli forces have been continuously guilty of the first four acts. Without assistance from international organizations, Arab countries, philanthropies, individuals and private fund raisers, all of whom have supplied the Palestinians with food, energy, training, funds, education and resources that counter Israeli oppression, the precarious plight of the Palestinians would have reached a critical level a long time ago.
Genocide is not necessarily broadcasted; it can be silent and stealth – breaking bones and imprisoning males to deny children of working fathers, preventing expansion of food, water and housing supplies so a population is economically deprived and exists at subsistence levels, confining families to limited areas to stifle education, knowledge and community interaction, restricting travel so that people are not able to contact others and learn the new tools and mechanisms for adaptation to a modern world, planting harassment and sowing fear to create psychological disturbances. Recipients of these policies applied by the Israeli government in the West Bank and Gaza have no recourse to reply, except to leave the area or suffer until death.
The World War II Holocaust is over, the dead cannot be reclaimed and yet their lives are continually discussed. In Palestine, the destruction continues, lives can be reclaimed and yet the threat to their existence is insufficiently discussed. The crisis started with Al-Nakba and the Palestinians have not been able to make the world react to the seriousness of the growing catastrophe.
War of Narratives
What have Jews accomplished by in-gathering and becoming citizens of the state of Israel? They have bolstered a spurious interpretation of history, and identified themselves with twelve tribes who established some states and administration, but apparently vanished from history and left little imprint of having been a strong or extensive civilization for a long period of time. By incorporating biblical history into its ‘reason to be,’ Israel has exalted Joshua the warrior, guilty of nine genocides, David, a bandit, suspected murderer of those who barred his route to kingship, and philanderer who coveted the wives of others, and Solomon, who used forced labor and exorbitant taxes to build huge construction projects (For this, Moses took them out of Egypt?), and kept a harem of 700 wives. Evidently, the Israelis intend to accomplish in real life what a mythical Joshua and his Israelites accomplished – conquer the city of Jericho, lay the entire West Bank to waste and “let the people be hewers of wood and water carriers in the service of the whole assembly.”
It seems strange that Jews embrace the dubious connection with wandering tribes and errant kings and reject the well established memories of their most precious epochs and proud moments of history – their centuries of sojourn in Mesopotamia and Persia. Readily absorbing the new wisdom they encountered after their exodus to ancient Iraq and Persia, the Jews compiled the Talmud, and moved rapidly into achieving almost total male literacy, obtaining economic advancement, and becoming leaders for progress and modernity. Hopefully, Jews who absorb actual history will awaken other Jews to the destructive impulses generating from Israel, which prevents them from recognizing the roots of modern Judaism and instead reverts them to become atavistic and reactionary relics of the ancient Hebrew world.
The Palestinians have found themselves thrust in an unenviable role with specific challenges – expose the contrived narrative of the Israelis and impress the world with their narrative of continuous transitory life as Canaanites, or possibly Hebrews, to Christians, to Muslims, to Arabs, to citizens of the Ottoman Empire and finally to suffering the Al-Nakba, which started their route to being oppressed. Despite decades of mental, physical and emotional fatigue, they owe this task to themselves, to their communities in Diasporas, to Jews who don’t want to be involved in the injustices, to a Middle East that suffers from the expansion of the crisis, and to a world that might soon face a related catastrophe. They owe it and should show it.
By Dan Lieberman | Online Journal | July 6, 2009
Three huge granite stones rest comfortably on the top of Midbar Sinai Street, in Givat Havatzim, Jerusalem’s northernmost district. Cut to specification, the imposing stones represent one of several preparations by the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement’s to erect a Third Temple on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.
Since the Islamic Wafq owns and controls all the property on the Haram al-Sharif, by what means can these stones be transferred to the Temple Mount and how can a temple be constructed there? Not by any legal means.
The stones are a provocation, which the Israel government refuses to halt. Neglect and passivity lead to a belief that an eventual Muslim reaction to the increasing provocations will give Israel an excuse to seize total control of the Holy Basin — the ultimate of the properties that Israel intends to incorporate into a greater Jerusalem.
For decades, Israeli authorities have spoken of a united Jerusalem — suggesting a spiritual quality to its message — as if Israel wants the home for the three monotheistic faiths to be solid and stable. By being guided from one central authority, a united Jerusalem also offers a preservation of a common and ancient heritage. However, by stressing the word ‘unification,’ Israel disguises the lack of a sufficiently supporting and verifiable historical narrative that could bolster its thrust to incorporate all of an artificially created greater Jerusalem into its boundaries. Coupled with inconsistencies and contradictions, Israel’s eagerness to create a greater Jerusalem under its total control becomes suspect. The intensive concentration on a ‘united’ Jerusalem reveals a hidden agenda that debases Jerusalem’s religious ingathering and heightens division, hatred and strife.
Examine the Holy Basin. The Holy Basin contains well-marked Christian and Muslim institutions and holy places that have had historical placement for millenniums. Although people of the Jewish faith had major presence in Jerusalem during the centuries of Biblical Jerusalem, which included rule by King Hezekiah and control by the Hasmonean dynasties, their control and presence were interrupted for two millennia. Extensive commentary has enabled the two thousand years of lack of control and presence to seem as if it never happened and that today is only a short time from the years of Hezekiah. Some remains of Jewish dwellings and ritual baths can be found, but few if any major Jewish monuments, buildings or institutions from the Biblical era exist in the “Old City” of today’s Jerusalem. The often cited Western Wall is the supporting wall for Herod’s platform and is not directly related to the Second Temple. No remains of the Jewish Temple have been located in Jerusalem — not even a rock.
According to Karen Armstrong, Jerusalem, Jews did not pray at the Western Wall until the Mamluks in the 15th century allowed them to move their congregations from a dangerous Mount of Olives and pray daily at the Wall. At that time, she estimates that there may have been no more than 70 Jewish families in Jerusalem. After the Ottomans replaced the Mamluks, Suleiman the Magnificent issued a formal edict in the 16th century that permitted Jews to have a place of prayer at the Western Wall.
The only remaining major symbol of Jewish presence in Jerusalem’s Holy City is the Jewish quarter, which Israel cleared of Arabs and rebuilt after 1967. During its clearing operations, Israel demolished the Maghribi Quarter adjacent to the Western Wall, destroyed the al-Buraq Mosque and the Tomb of the Sheikh al-Afdhaliyyah, and displaced about 175 Arab families.
Although the Jewish population in previous centuries comprised a large segment of the Old City (estimates have 7,000 Jews during the mid-19th century), the Jews gradually left the Old City and migrated to new neighborhoods in West Jerusalem, leaving only about 2,000 Jews in the Old City. Jordanian control after the 1948 war reduced the number to nil. By 2009, the population of the Jewish quarter in the Old City had grown to 3,000, or 9 percent of the Old City’s population. The Christian, Armenian and Muslim populations are the principal constituents and their quarters contain almost the entire Old City commerce.
In an attempt to attach ancient Israel to present day Jerusalem, Israeli authorities continue the attachment of spurious labels to Holy Basin landmarks, while claiming the falsification is due to the Byzantines, who got it all wrong.
King David’s Tower’s earliest remains were constructed several hundred years after the Bible dates David’s reign. It is a now an obvious Islamic minaret.
King David’s Citadel earliest remains are from the Hasmonean period (200 B. C. E.). The Citadel was entirely rebuilt by the Ottomans between 1537 and 1541.
King David’s tomb, located in the Dormition Abbey, is a cloth-covered cenotaph (no remains) that honors King David. It’s only an unverified guess that the casket is related to David.
The Pools of Solomon, located in a village near Bethlehem, are considered to be part of a Roman construction during the reign of Herod the Great. The pools supplied water to an aqueduct that carried the water to Bethlehem and to Jerusalem.
The Stables of Solomon, under the Temple Mount, are assumed to be a construction of vaults that King Herod built in order to extend the Temple Mount platform.
Absalom’s Tomb is an obvious Greek sculptured edifice and therefore cannot be the tomb of David’s son.
The City of David contains artifacts that date before and during David’s time. However, some archaeologists maintain there is an insufficient number of artifacts to conclude any Israelite presence, including that of King David, before the late ninth century. In any case any Israelite presence must have been in a small and unfortified settlement.
The Jerusalem Archaeological Park within the Old City, together with the Davidson Exhibition and Virtual Reconstruction Center also tell the story. Promising to reveal much of a Hebrew civilization, the museums shed little light on its subject. The Davidson Center highlights a coin exhibition, Jerusalem bowls and stone vessels.
The Archeological Park in the Old City contains among many artifacts, Herodian structures, ritual baths, a floor of an Umayyad palace, a Roman road, Ottoman gates, and the façade of what is termed Robinson’s arch, an assumed Herodian entryway to the Temple Mount. The exhibitions don’t reveal many, if any, ancient Hebrew structures or institutions of special significance.
Reliable archaeologists, after examining excavations that contain pottery shards and buildings, concluded that archaeological finds don’t substantiate the biblical history of Jerusalem and its importance during the eras of a united Jewish kingdom under David and Solomon.
Margaret Steiner in an article, titled It’s Not There: Archaeology Proves a Negative, in the Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August, 1998, states: “ . . . from the tenth century B. C. E. there is no archaeological evidence that many people actually lived in Jerusalem, only that it was some kind of public administrative center . . . We are left with nothing that indicates a city was here during their supposed reigns (of David and Solomon) . . . It seems unlikely, however, that this Jerusalem was the capital of a large state, the United monarchy, as described in Biblical texts.”
West Jerusalem is another matter. With banditry prolific and Old City gates being closed before nightfall, living outside the city gates did not appeal to the population. Wealthy philanthropist Moses Montefiore wanted to attract the Jewish population to new surroundings and he constructed the first Jewish community outside of the Old City — Yemin Moshe’s first houses were completed in 1860. From that time, Jewish presence played a role in creating a West Jerusalem. Other institutions, Greek Orthodox, Catholic, Russian Orthodox and Muslim soon ventured forth and owned much property in the evolving West Jerusalem.
In 1948, After the Israeli army seized absolute control of West Jerusalem, the new Israeli government confiscated all West Jerusalem property owned by Muslim institutions. Reason — enemy property. Few Muslims and no mosques remain in today’s West Jerusalem.
One contradiction. By attacking and ethnically cleansing the Christian Arab communities of Deir Yassin and Ein Kerem, Israeli forces characterized Christian Palestinians as an enemy. Nevertheless, Israel did not confiscate Christian properties, many of which are apparent in West Jerusalem. The Greek Orthodox Church owns extensive properties in West Jerusalem, many marked by its “TΦ” (Tau + Phi) symbol, interpreted as the word ‘Sepulchre.’
Another contradiction. Israel has cared for the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives and expanded it as a heritage site. Part of the famous Muslim Mamilla cemetery in West Jerusalem has been classified as refugee property and is being prepared to be demolished for the new Museum of Tolerance.
East Jerusalem reveals more contradictions. The repeated warning by Israeli leaders that co-existence is not feasible and that it is necessary to separate the Jewish and Palestinian communities is contradicted by Israel’s desire to incorporate East Jerusalem into Israel. Incorporation means accepting somewhere between 160,000 and 225,000 Palestinians into a Jewish state. Or does it? Whereas the older historical Jewish neighborhoods in West Jerusalem have their character meticulously maintained or are rebuilt in their original style, the older Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem are entirely neglected (all of Arab East Jerusalem is neglected) or destroyed. How much deterioration and destruction can Palestinians absorb before they decide to leave?
Construction of Jewish homes in East Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods proceeds and destruction of Arab homes, either declared illegally constructed or illegally purchased, continues. On 44 dunums of lands confiscated from Palestinian families, a private company has constructed the gated community of Nof Zion, and conveniently separated Palestinian Jabal Al Mukabir from other parts of East Jerusalem. No Arabs need apply. The million dollar condominiums are advertised for American investors.
The Israeli ministry of Interior has approved a plan to demolish a kindergarten and wholesale market in East Jerusalem’s Wadi Joz neighborhood in order to construct a new hotel close to the Old City and near the Rockefeller Museum. The result will be the destruction of an Arab neighborhood and its replacement by Jewish interests, which will one day join other Jewish interests.
These are only two examples of a master plan to replace the centuries old Arab presence in East Jerusalem with a modern Jewish presence. The ancient Arab presence in an ancient land is further subdivided by the Separation Wall, which runs through the East Jerusalem landscape and detaches East Jerusalem from the West Bank, making it unlikely for a Palestinian state to have its capital in East Jerusalem. The master plan extends the boundaries of Jerusalem to include the large Israeli settlement (city) of Maale Adumim. Between Maale Adumim and East Jerusalem, Israel proposes to construct the E1 corridor, which joins settlements in a ring and adds to the separation of East Jerusalem from the West Bank. The E1 corridor will divide the northern and southern West Bank and will impede direct transit between Palestine Bethlehem, which is south of E1 and Palestine Ramallah, which is north of E1. Construction of the E1 corridor, portions of which are owned by Palestinians, could prevent the formation of a viable Palestinian state.
So, if Israel is destroying Jerusalem’s heritage and subjugating its spiritual meaning, why does Israel want to unify Jerusalem?
Israel’s Hidden Agenda
Israel is a physically small and relatively new country with an eager population and big ambitions. It needs more prestige and wants to be viewed as a power broker on the world stage. To gain those perspectives Israel needs a capital city that commands respect, contains ancient traditions and is recognized as one of the world’s most important and leading cities. Almost all of the world’s principal nations, from Egypt to Germany to Great Britain, have capitals that are great cities of the world. To assure its objectives, Israel wants an oversized Jerusalem that contains the Holy City.
That’s not all.
Jerusalem has significant tourism that can be expanded. It can provide new commercial opportunities as an entry to all of the Middle East. An indivisible Jerusalem under Israeli control is worth a lot of shekels.
Israel competes with the United States as the focus of the Jewish people. It needs a unique Jerusalem to gain recognition as the home of Judaism.
By controlling all of the holy sites, Israel commands attention from Moslem and Christian leaders. These leaders will be forced to talk with Israel and Israel will have a bargaining advantage in disputes.
Whatever Israel gains, the Palestinians are denied. Even if Israel agrees to the establishment of a Palestinian state, it will direct its policies to limit the effectiveness of that state. Since East Jerusalem and its holy sites greatly benefit a Palestinian economy and increase Palestine legitimacy, Israel will do everything to prevent East Jerusalem being ceded to the new state of Palestine. An “indivisible” Jerusalem is part of that effort.
West Jerusalem only gives Israel a North/South capital. An indivisible Jerusalem gives Israel a forward look towards an East/West capital or a centralized capital of the land of previous biblical Jewish tribes.
The Zionist socialist ideals and the cooperative Kibbutzim received support and sympathy from idealistic world peoples for many years. Israel’s attachment to the Holocaust tragedy extended that sympathy and support to more of the world. With the end of the Zionist dream, the decline of kibbutz life and the over-popularizing of the Holocaust, Israel needs a new symbol of identity that captures world attention.
If Israel has legitimate claims to Jerusalem, then those claims should be heard and discussed in a proper forum. However, that is not the process forthcoming. The process has the Israeli government using illegal and illegitimate procedures, as well as deceitful and hypocritical methods to force its agenda. Israel is not presenting its case but is exerting its powers to trample all legal, moral and historical considerations.
In the Museum of the Citadel of David is an inscription: The land of Israel is in the center of the world and Jerusalem is the center of the land of Israel.
This self-praise was echoed at a West Jerusalem coffee house in a conversation with several Israelis. A youthful Israeli abruptly sat at the table and entered the conversation with the words: “All the world looks to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the center of the world and Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Everyone needs Jerusalem and they will need to talk with Israel.”
And that is why Israel desperately wants its greater Jerusalem.
Dan Lieberman is the editor of Alternative Insight, a monthly web based newsletter. Dan has written many articles on the Middle East conflict, which have circulated on websites and media throughout the world. He can be reached at email@example.com.