Monday, September 10, 2012

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem



If I forget thee, O Jerusalem

David M. Weinberg


The message emerging from the Democratic Party’s new platform is that the Obama White House supports the division of Jerusalem.

In the foreign policy section of the party platform, which was approved Tuesday evening, the Democrats state that "President Obama and the Democratic Party maintain an unshakable commitment to Israel's security," and note that the president has increased security aid to Israel every year since taking office, providing nearly $10 billion over the past three years. But the platform dropped language from the 2008 platform that stated that "Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel."

Similarly, the 2008 platform demanded "the isolation of Hamas until that organization renounces terrorism and accepts other requirements of the peace process," insisted that "any settlement of the so-called 'refugees' question in a final settlement make a future Palestinian state, not Israel, the destination for Palestinian 'refugees,'" and noted "that it's not realistic to expect [the] outcome of negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949." All those provisions are missing from the 2012 platform.

Former Congressman Robert Wexler, an Obama stand-in who co-drafted the foreign policy section of the Democratic platform, fobbed-off criticism of the deafening omission of Jerusalem by throwing out the hackneyed adage that “leaders of both parties for decades know that the final status of Jerusalem will have to be formally decided by the parties. This should come as a surprise to nobody."

"This is completely absurd in terms of trying to fabricate some kind of stepping back,” Wexler added. “Right now,” he said, policy isn’t focused on the peace process. Rather, “the focus is on security cooperation. The focus is Iran.” “It is total cherry-picking of the language,” Wexler said of Republican attacks on the platform.

Cherry-picking, perhaps, but Jerusalem is quite a cherry to pick if you’re going to trim your party platform! Its elimination is not something trivial. I’m sure Obama, Wexler and Co. knew very well that an omission of Jerusalem — dare I say, refusal to acknowledge Jerusalem — as Israel’s capital, would be well noticed. The fact that they anyway decided to drop the reference to united Jerusalem speaks volumes about what we can expect from an Obama second term.

It also tells us that people have forgotten why a united Jerusalem under exclusive Israeli sovereignty is the key, not an obstacle, to peace and security in the region. It tells us that people are, alas, buying into the ridiculous presumption that splitting Jerusalem will lead to prosperity for the city and to peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

It is time, then, to remind everybody of reality. Partitioning Jerusalem will destroy the city. It will die, in every way — culturally, religiously, economically and more.

Politically, the shearing of Jerusalem into Arab and Jewish sovereignties will turn it into the bull’s eye of Mideast battle — a city that will make Belfast at its worst look like paradise. It is only complete Israeli security control over united, greater Jerusalem that prevents the city from becoming a boiling cauldron of conflict within the volatile Arab and Islamic world and from becoming the hottest-ever-imaginable flashpoint of Israeli-Arab war. There is no “neutral” peacekeeping force in the world that will do a serious or better job than the Israeli army and police of keeping Jerusalem a terrorist-free zone.

Remember this too: Israel needs, desires and has developed Jerusalem as a workable, attractive city; it is the centerpiece of the ancient Jewish People and the modern State of Israel. The Arabs and Palestinians, however, don’t really care about Jerusalem; they never did. In fact, they would consider it a triumph if Jerusalem were so wracked by conflict and poverty that it was ruined for 1000 years — just as long as it would be lost to the Jews.

Jerusalem under Israel — and only under Israel — has flourished. For Jews, Muslims, Christians, scholars, clergymen, craftsmen, architects, artists, archaeologists and tourists alike, the past 45 years have been good times. For everyday citizens too: Never before in its three-thousand-year-long history has the city been such a magnet for simple residency. Witness the incredible demand for, and sky-high prices of, housing in the city today.

Israel has sagaciously developed the city from a backwater town to a magnificent metropolis, and astutely kept it open and expanded the possibilities for religious worship of all faiths. Cautious Israeli custodianship has kept a lid on the always-smoldering religious-national tensions in the city. It has, most of the time, managed the complicated city with sophistication and sensitivity.

Even the Arabs of Jerusalem agree. Any Palestinian Arab will tell you (privately, of course) that in the broader scale of things he prefers to live in an Israeli-controlled Jerusalem over a Jerusalem controlled by a Hamas imam-ocracy or the incredibly mislabeled Palestinian “Authority” (where there is little authority or democracy of any type).

That’s why very few Jerusalem Arabs have ever participated in intifada and other terrorist activities against Israel. That’s why any and every Palestinian Arab who can — has been desperately scurrying over to the Israeli side of the security fence in and around Jerusalem. That’s why Jerusalem Arabs are buying up homes at a dizzying pace in several predominantly Jewish neighborhoods like French Hill, Pisgat Ze'ev and Talpiot.

Thus, the sundering of Jerusalem is not only patently unwise, but unfair to Jewish history and to Israel’s fine stewardship of the city.

Woe will be a divided Jerusalem. Will the Democratic Party allow the Obama administration to drag it down a deleterious path away from its long-standing and principled path of support for a united Jerusalem under Israel?


http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=2516