Prof. Steven PlautSteven Plaut teaches at the University of Haifa and is author of "The Scout" (available from Gefen Publishing House). More of his writings can be seen on the New Plaut Blog, as well as in numerous electronic and print newspapers.
No sooner did the Obama Administration denounce Israel for its building activities in Jerusalem when hordes of violent Palestinian thugs took to the streets of holy Jerusalem. As always, the Arabs show the world how sacred Jerusalem is to them by filling it with violence.
They rioted to demand that Jews be prohibited from opening a synagogue that had been destroyed by Arab troops
Was it a coincidence that the Arab riots followed so closely the Obaman bile hurled against Israel?
, a synagogue located smack in the middle of the Jewish Quarter in an area having no theological significance for Moslems. Was it a coincidence that the Arab riots followed so closely the Obaman bile hurled against Israel? Well, if you believe that, I have a nice bridge I'd like to sell you that goes into Brooklyn.
Vice President Biden, who sometimes likes to call himself "Zionist Joe," had trouble containing his rage at the Jews. On an official state visit to Israel, his Kodak moments were interrupted when an Israeli official announced that Israel has plans to build a lot of new housing in East Jerusalem. The Vice President was aghast at the chutzpah. Secretary of State Clinton issued a series of shrill verbal attacks against Israel. Talk about a "disproportionate response!"
How dare the Jews construct housing in their own capital? Just because Washington builds housing in the District of Columbia without asking its allies for permission does not mean that the Israelis can build the same way in THEIR capital! Don't those Israelis realize that the United States has plans to transfer East Jerusalem to the terrorists of the Palestinian Authority or its Hamas overlords?
To put the Obama Administration's temper tantrum over Jerusalem into perspective, one has to try to imagine the following scenario:
Try to imagine the allies of the United States condemning the displacement of the Japanese population in Guam shortly after Guam was liberated by the United States in 1944. Guam, after all, had been conquered fair and square by the Imperial Japanese military the day after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Japanese troops and civilians
had lived in Guam throughout most of the war. The American presence there, which was eradicated on December 8, 1940, was itself of recent and dubious creation. The United States became occupier of Guam only in 1898 as part of the Treaty of Paris ending the Spanish-American War. The Yanks then built a series of settlements on the island.
Now try to imagine the Allies of the United States hectoring and condemning America about displacing the Japanese already living on Guam after 1944, replacing them forcibly with American citizens. How dare the Americans move their own civilians into homes they legally own?
If you can imagine all that, you will have a pretty good understanding of the Obama-Biden assault against Israel for building homes for Jews in Jerusalem. Many of these homes are within inches of Mount Scopus and the Old City of Jerusalem.
The State Department is soiling itself in rage over Israel allowing Jews to move into the Shimon Hatsadik (Simon the Righteous) neighborhood in East Jerusalem, also known as Sheikh Jarrah. You may recall that Sheikh Jarrah was where a horrific massacre of a convoy of Jewish medical personnel headed for the Hadassah Hospital on Mt. Scopus took place in 1948.
79 Jews were murdered in cold blood and their bodies mutilated. When East Jerusalem was liberated from its illegal Jordanian occupiers in 1967, Sheikh Jarrah should have been emptied entirely of its murderous residents and turned over to the families of the victims of that massacre as compensation!
East Jerusalem was made Judenrein, with its Jews ethnically cleansed, in Israel's 1948-49 war of independence. Before that Jews had lived in East Jerusalem almost without interruption since King David conquered it. Those attacking Israel are insisting that she leave that crime of ethnic cleansing in tact, un-redressed. Their demands are equivalent to demands upon the United States to leave the Japanese presence on Guam unchanged after 1944.
To put this another way, let's ask just why the State Department objects to Jews moving into homes in East Jerusalem, homes they legally and legitimately own. The answer is that the State Department plans to force Israel
If the result of that[building] is for the war between Israel and the Arabs to continue for another thousand years, then we choose that over giving up Jerusalem.
to turn East Jerusalem over to some future Palestinian terror state, and that will be harder to do if East Jerusalem is filled up with Jews. But that is precisely the reason why Israel SHOULD build housing in East Jerusalem!!
If Bibi Netanyahu had any sense of Jewish history or an ounce of courage and self-respect, he would answer the complaints coming from Clinton and the Biden delegation thus:
"We understand that you want East Jerusalem preserved as an area unpolluted by the presence of Jews so that it can be transferred in the future to the terrorists. And that is why we refuse to agree to your calls for a building freeze anywhere in Jerusalem. We will build like the dickens to prevent anyone transferring Jerusalem to any 'Palestinians' from any political movement. And if the result of that is for the war between Israel and the Arabs to continue for another thousand years, then we choose that over giving up Jerusalem."
Israel's position should be simply that if the Arab world refuses to come to terms and make peace with an Israel controlling all of Jerusalem, then we do not believe that they will come to terms or make peace with any Israel that has relinquished Jerusalem either. The Arabs can threaten Israel all they want about the dire consequences if Israel refuses to turn Jerusalem over to them. Israel's response should be, "You can't have it, period."
And if there were any doubts as to who has the moral and legal right to control East Jerusalem, they were removed in the violent rioting by Palestinians over the opening of the rebuilt Hurva synagogue this week. Tradition has it that it stands on the site of synagogues going back to the second century AD. One synagogue standing there in the1700s was destroyed, leading to the nickname of the site, the "Hurva" or "the Destruction."
A later synagogue was constructed on the site in 1864. It remained there until Jordanian soldiers, who were illegally holding the Old City after 1948, demolished it. Yes, those same soldiers of the Kingdom of Jordan, which is so often proclaimed moderate and peace seeking, carried out unprecedented crimes against humanity, by systematically demolishing almost all the Jewish shrines in the Old City.
Under Arab rule (by Jordan), the religious shrines of Jerusalem were systematically demolished, profaned and violated. Under Israeli rule, every religious group is free to practice its religion in Jerusalem and its shrines are protected. End of story. The Arabs forfeited any moral claims they might have once had to govern the
city when they trashed the Jewish shrines of the city. Any questions?
The Hurva synagogue is nowhere near the Mosque of al-Aqsa or any other Islamic shrines in Jerusalem. It is located close to the Ramban or Nachmanides synagogue, which was converted by the pro-Nazi Grand Mufti into a mosque in 1948 and used as a factory under the illegal Jordanian occupation. The Arabs have absolutely no
legitimate claims to the site. Indeed, the reign of intentional destruction carried out by Jordan after 1948 should nullify altogether once and for all any claims the Arab world has to East Jerusalem.
If the Arabs take to violence when Jews open a synagogue, then there is only one conclusion that Israel can draw: there is nothing to negotiate with these savages. The only way to respond to their violent opposition towards Israel building in Jerusalem is with disproportionate force!