In previous articles, we discussed the historical and religious factors behind Israel's conflict with its neighbors; namely, that Israel's very existence and its capital's establishment in Jerusalem pose a religious challenge for Muslims, who view Islam as the true religion while Judaism, like Christianity, is considered a religion of lies. The return of the Jews to their homeland and historic capital city puts the lie to that concept and threatens Islam's status in the world.
However, all this does not explain why the Arabs living in Jaffa, Haifa, Nazareth and Acre (Akko) for the most part do not take up terror, while many of the Arabs living in Jerusalem spend their days and nights planning terror attacks. Some say that the proximity of the Al Aqsa Mosque is the reason, but that is not true, because the Muslims in Jaffa and Nazareth consider Al Aqsa to be holy as much as the Jerusalem Arabs do, and still they avoid committing terrorist attacks while the Jerusalem Arabs are actively involved in terror .
There has to be another difference between Jerusalem and the other Israeli cities with sizable Arab populations. One could claim that the difference is a result of the length of time Israel is in control of these cities: The four cities of Nazareth, Acre, Haifa and Jaffa have been under Israeli sovereignty for 68 years, while Jerusalem's Arab neighborhoods have been part of the Jewish State for only 50 years. But the four cities were tranquil and free of terror way before Israel's 50th birthday, so why aren't 50 years enough to calm down the Arab-Muslims in Jerusalem?
The answer is elementary. There is a fundamental difference between Jewish control in Jaffa, Haifa, Nazareth and Acre and Jewish control of Jerusalem. It has to do with the finality of Israeli sovereignty: from that day in June 1949 when armistice - by no means peace!! - agreements were signed in Rhodes between Israel and its Arab neighbors, the Arabs in those four cities realized that they had been transformed permanently, against their will, into citizens of Israel - and will remain that way unless Israel disappears (inshallah!). While Israel exists, there is no other possibility open to them, and that means the end of the struggle and a coming to terms on some level with Israeli sovereignty, whether or not they like it.
The 1949 Arab de facto recognition of Israel brought them to the realization that the Arab world had betrayed them and so they set aside any hopes of being liberated by Arab armies. International recognition of Israel's sovereignty over their cities increased the feelings of helplessness in the face of the Jewish state and they accepted the rules of that state's societal, economic and political game, not out of love but because there was no other political game in town that they could join.
And most important: they never saw any Israeli, from the radical left to the extreme right, call on Israel to give Jaffa, Haifa, Acre or Nazareth over to Arab control. Facing Israeli unanimity on the subject as well as Arab and international acceptance, they understood that their struggle had ended in failure and that their lives would be lived and their interests pursued within a Jewish state.
In contrast, the Arabs in Jerusalem live in a totally different state of mind, one in which Israeli rule over eastern Jerusalem is not the end of the story. There are many reasons for this: they, too, hear all the Jews who call themselves Zionists and who want to divide Jerusalem in order to establish the capital of a Palestinian State in the eastern sector of the city, the area that has been holy to Judaism for over 3000 years. They cannot help seeing delusional NGO's such as "Ir Amim" (literally city of nations") whose agenda includes recognition of Arab "rights" to establish an Arab capital in Jerusalem although the city was never the capital of any Arab or Islamic state. They cannot but see the environmental neglect in the eastern part of the city as compared with the investment in the appearance of the western part. They see that Al Quds University is not under the aegis of Israel's Higher Education Council - and they see another thousand proofs that Israel is not really serious about annexing eastern Jerusalem, although 50 years have passed since the "occupation" began.
Jerusalem's Arabs see, that as opposed to the 1949 Treaty of Rhodes in which Israel demanded Arab recognition of its sovereignty over Jaffa, Haifa, Nazareth and Acre, Israel did not demand recognition that united Jerusalem is Israel's capital at the signing of peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan. They see that Israel allows every lowlife who gets hold of a camera and microphone to stand in the middle of Jerusalem and call it "occupied Al Quds" without any interference - and to carry on a media jihad from within. I am referring particularly to the Jihad Media Channel al Jazeera, financed by Qatari oil revenues.
Jerusalem's Arabs watch the BBC, broadcasting from London, calling Israel's government the "Tel Aviv government" - and changing reality so as not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. They see that even presidents of the United States who support Israel in every possible way, are against moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem - and by the way, to west, not east Jerusalem - even though the Embassy has purchased land there and built apartments for its staff.
They see that US State Department records do not record the American Consulate in Jerusalem as being in Israel and they read in the newspaper that the State Department will not permit children who are American citizens but were born in Jerusalem to write that they were born in Jerusalem, Israel - just Jerusalem alone - on their birth certificates, as if Jerusalem is located in outer space. Of late,they saw that President Obama was at Shimon Peres' funeral in Jerusalem, but not in Israel.
They hear that there are Jews in Europe and the US, members of organizations such as J-Street, Jewish Voice for Peace, J-Call and Jews for Justice in Palestine who are trying to promote Israeli concessions in Jerusalem. They also know that some Hillel Houses located in American universities do not allow Jerusalem Day festivities because Jerusalem is a controversial issue and that the New Israel Fund works to promote this agenda within Israel.
All these factors, starting with Israeli and Jewish attitudes, on to the Arab world's and leading up to the rest of the world's attitude to Jerusalem, cannot help but give Jerusalem's Arabs the feeling that if they can only injure, murder, run over, burn and blow up enough Jews - in short, use terror as a way to show their desire to rid Jerusalem of Israeli rule - the day will come when Israelis get tired of the battle, give up, raise their hands and leave Al Quds to the Arab-Muslims. This is how it was from the time they conquered it from the Byzantines in 638 C.E., up until the British Mandate of 1917 and during the illegal and illegitimate Jordanian "occupation" from 1948 to 1967.
As opposed to the mental state of Jaffa, Haifa, Nazareth and Acre's Arabs, who gave up and accepted the 1948 defeat as final, Jerusalem Arabs are not convinced that the 1967 defeat is final.They are encouraged by some Israelis, some of the Jews in America and the rest of the world, the Arab nations and the world of nations.This is what motivates them to terror, using rocks, firebombs, knives, explosives, car-rammings and bullets. Hope, not despair, is behind terror attacks in Jerusalem as are all those who feed that hope, even if they consider themselves "friends of Israel,' if they do not recognize that Jerusalem is the historic eternal capital of the Jewish State.
On the day that Israel is unified on the subject of Jerusalem and decides to persuade the rest of the world to accept the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967 the way it accepted the liberation of Jaffa,Haifa, Nazareth and Acre eighteen years before that, Jerusalem's Arabs will give up and accept their fate, exactly as the rest of Israel's Arabs did. They will then begin to search for - and find!! - ways to live more or less in peace with Israel as do the rest of Israel's Arabs.
Peace in the MIddle East is granted only to those who manage to convince their enemies that it is in their best interests to let things be and to busy themselves with their own affairs. This is the only peace to be had in this region and the sooner Israel realizes this, the less suffering it will endure and the easier it will be to live tranquilly in this crisis-prone area.
The Jerusalem issue is not an unusual one. When Jerusalem's Arabs understand that their struggle to remove Jerusalem from Israel has failed totally, they will cease to engage in terror and follow in the footsteps of the rest of Israel's Arabs.
Happy holiday to all.
Written for Arutz Sheva, translated from Hebrew by Rochel Sylvetsky, Arutz Sheva Op-ed and Judaism Editor.