Whose Jerusalem ?

Whose Jerusalem ?

Whose Land ?

MK Benny Elon: Our Battle For Jerusalem

Translated by Ruth J. Lieberman

We have reached the heart of the issue: Jerusalem. The same Jerusalem of our prayers: “Next year in a rebuilt Jerusalem”; that same Jerusalem that is not yet rebuilt, and for which we must fight. And this must be a true battle, fought with our hearts and souls.

I am not sure if Barak is tricking the public or trying to sway our attention with his announcements about Abu-Dis, Azariyah and Sawahrah. It is possible, as was the case with Anatah, that Barak will change his mind and state that A-Ram and Dhiyat-el-Barid are not negotiable. These areas are an extention of Anatot and the airport in Atarot, also within the municipal borders of Jerusalem. Perhaps Barak will expand his plan to include El-Jib and Bidu, located on the way to the prophet Shmuel’s grave – essentially cutting off Ramot, Pisgat Ze’ev, Atarot and Neve Yaacov from the rest of Jerusalem. If this is the plan, we may be able to understand Barak’s statement that “Ramot will be left in our hands”. Maybe Barak specifically mentioned Ramot because he intends to hand over neighboring areas of Ramot – El-Jib and Beit Ichsa – to the PA.

But perhaps in the end the target is the cemetery on the Mt. of Olives. Abu-Dis is divided, with part inside Jerusalem’s boundaries and part outside. The latter is now Area B, and Barak intends to award it the status of Area A. It is my assertion that the PA parliament itself is built mostly within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, with just a portion in Area B, slated to become Area A. According to the official response I received from the Ministry of Defense, only a small part of the parliament building lies within Jerusalem’s boundaries, with the majority in Area B, soon to become Area A. Regardless, all agree that the building’s status is divided.

Barak and Ben-Ami say that “we do not pray towards Abu-Dis”. Mr. Prime Minister, towards where do you pray?! To Rechavia?! Is this what decides what is Jerusalem and what is not? Do you even know where Abu-Dis is located – on the Mt. of Olives! Perhaps the Prime Minister prays towards Kiryat HaMemshala - the government buildings complex. Perhaps this was his latest prayer, which has been answered meanwhile.

The Arab names for these areas are being used to fool us. Silwan instead of David’s City, Ras-el-Amud rather than Maaleh Hazeitim. Arab names sound further from us, yet these areas are adjacent to us, just a few meters from Jerusalem’s municipal borders, just tens of meters from the Temple Mount. Nothing will stop Arafat and other troublemakers from coming up to the Temple Mount.

Ramallah and Bethlehem lie adjacent to Jerusalem from the north and south, in a pincer-like hold. According to the Government’s plans, the circle will be closed and Jerusalem will be squeezed not only at these two points, but will find itself actually besieged. Ramat Shlomo will become an isolated island, following the transfer of the areas from French Hill to Atarot to direct Arab sovereignty – under their control, with the type of weapons unlike those used in the pogroms of 1929. Now it’s a whole new ballgame.

This is an issue that addresses our very soul – there is no greater danger, or pikuach nefesh. Suddenly, the deciding factor has become whether we pray towards Abu-Dis or not. This is complete demagoguery. I hope they completely fail to ‘make progress’ in the negotiations, and do what should have been done before the mistake of Oslo – raise Jerusalem as our issue and demand that the Palestinians tell the truth about what they are and are not willing to accept in a final settlement. We cannot continue to let them eat away at our State at their own whim. If they declare a state, parts of the State of Israel and of Jerusalem will be cut off from themselves, and we will be forced to erect metal walls similar to those that were in Jerusalem in the not-so-distant past. Each and every neighborhood in Jerusalem will be forced to erect giant walls. Ramot, because of Bet Ichsah; Armon Hanatziv because of Jabel Mukabar; Pisgat Zeev because of Hizmah and Anatah; Neveh Yaacov because of Dhiyat-el-Barid and A-Ram; and Gilo, which could be besieged from all sides. Two hundred thousand Jews live in these Jerusalem neighborhoods. We must remember the Jewish soul, and the Israeli sovereignty we still enjoy. We must not forget the flag, and our independence; we must not let Barak dismantle all of that.

I pray that the meetings between Barak and Arafat will be met with complete failure, and that they will be thwarted in their attempts to threaten Jerusalem’s welfare. We must be completely committed to the battle for Jerusalem our capital, Yerushalayim our holy city.


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