Jerusalem: A Tale of One City – Part I

This week the world media was treated to another anti-Israel performance at the “The International Conference for the Defence of Occupied Jerusalem” in Qatar. According to the Qatar News Agency, a few hundred representatives from Arab, Islamic and other countries convened to discuss “the legal status of Jerusalem before and after the Israeli occupation, the reality and the future of Jerusalem under occupation, and the status of the holy places under international law.”

The conference, approved during the 22nd Arab League Summit in Libya in March 2010, is another step in the international de-legitimization of the Jewish history of Jerusalem. Among the attendees are PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli MK Ahmed Tibi, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi and Robert Serry, United Nations Coordinator for the Peace Process in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Office issued a scathing statement against Mr. Abbas who denied the Jewish claim to the Holy City, declared that Jerusalem has always been and will remain an Arab city. Mr. Abbas also said that he will make efforts to “encourage Arabs and Muslims to visit Jerusalem in order to strengthen our hold on the city, and to establish the Palestinian culture and heritage sites.”

The Israeli statement said: “This is a harshly inflammatory speech from someone who claims that he is bent on peace.  The time has come for the Palestinian leadership to stop denying the past and distorting reality……Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] knows full well that there is no foundation to his contemptible remarks, including his baseless and irresponsible claims regarding the Al Aqsa Mosque.  The State of Israel expects that one who supposedly champions peace would prepare his people for peace and coexistence and not disseminate lies and incitement.

The conference was one more brick in what Mideast expert Dr. Daniel Pipes once called “Constructing a Counterfeit History of Jerusalem.” Under the subject heading: “Jerusalem and History” the attendees reviewed “the succeeding periods of Jerusalem’s rich history… pointing out the weaknesses of the Jew’s historical arguments backing their claims to the holy city.” One of the more ironic elements supposedly discussed with quasi-academic seriousness was the following: “Of paramount importance is the disclosure of Israel’s deeds in falsifying history and archeology by means of destruction, omission, modification and fabrication of historical and archeological facts. By contrast, an emphasis should be put on the overwhelming set of evidence spread across the city showing its rooted past as an inalienable part of Palestine and a holy place for he divine religions.”

Aside from the fact that there is no Palestinian Arab history per se, as has been well documented in many scholarly studies (or anyone over the age of 60 with a functioning memory), considering the Wakf’s ongoing efforts via their illegal and dangerous excavations on the Temple Mount to destroy any vestige of Israeli archeological finds proving (again) the Jewish claim to Jerusalem, it is clear that the Arabs have certainly and deservedly usurped one element of the Jewish character: Chutzpa.

And aside from the active participation in this international Israel-bashing fest by Dr. Ahmed Tibi, an Israeli Member of Knesset, who apparently can have his cake and eat it too when it comes to publicly trashing the very State in whose legislature he sits, the speech by the UN’s Robert Serry is significantly more dangerous than more of the usual lies spewing out of the mouth of either the PA Chairman or the vociferous Arab MK.

Mr. Serry delivered the “Message of the UN Secretary-General” on the subject of Jerusalem. For anyone who still believes the UN could possibly fulfill any role in peace making, Mr. Serry’s remarks put to rest any semblance left of UN objectivity or relevance to truth.

Mr. Robert Serry is (take a deep breath) “the UN Special Coordination for the Middle East Peace Process, Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, and the Secretary-General’s Envoy to the Quartet.” It is interesting to note that the PLO is still considered a viable separate entity even with the existence of the Palestinian Authority. That is the first hint in setting the stage for the UN’s  anti-Israel (and anti-Semitic) leanings.

“I am pleased to send my greetings to all those participating in this important international forum,” Mr. Serry intoned giving UN legitimacy to the bald lie which the conference represents. “Your presence today underscores the centrality and deep significance of Jerusalem to peoples around the world. For Muslims, Jews and Christians, Jerusalem –is a place of faith and longing, as well as the symbol of intertwined national aspirations. It is a sacred space that must not be confined to one creed or community,” Mr. Serry declared officially, accepting the false narrative of the Palestinian Arab Muslims and blatantly rejecting the well documented Israeli Jewish narrative vis a vis Jerusalem.

Should anyone think otherwise, Mr. Serry also declared: “Only through negotiations can Jerusalem emerge as the capital of two states, living side-by-side in peace and security, with arrangements for the holy sites that are acceptable to all…Unfortunately,” he said, blaming Israel alone, of course, “Israel’s continued settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem, as well as in the rest of the West Bank, undermines that effort and prejudges final status issues, often with tragic human consequences.”

Jerusalem has always been the ultimate stumbling block in the so-called peace process with the Arabs in general and with the Palestinians in particular. The Palestinian Arab fictional claim to the Land of Israel is predicated on having to negate the proven and well-documented Jewish claim, since their own history is, well, “invented.”

Hence their incessant campaign to negate Jerusalem’s Jewish identity since Jerusalem, the Holy City, the place of the First and Second Holy Temples, the eternal Capital of Israel from the time of King David, the site of the Biblically documented “Binding of Isaac”, et al, is, as the comedian Jackie Mason once said: “too Jewish.”

About the Author
Yedidya Atlas is a veteran journalist specializing in geo-political and geo-strategic affairs in the Middle East. His articles have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, Insight Magazine, Nativ, The Jerusalem Post and Makor Rishon. His articles have been reprinted by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the US Congressional Record.