Whose Jerusalem ?

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Whose Land ?

Breaching Jerusalem's Walls

By Uri Dan

(August 3) - Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the former chief of General Staff, will go down in Jewish history as one who once again breached the walls of the ancient holy city of Jerusalem. Not in order to liberate it, as Mota Gur's paratroopers did in 1967, but ito redivide it. Not in the heat of battle, as the Palmah fighters tried unsuccessfully to do in the bitter battles of 1948, when the Old City of Jerusalem was conquered by the Arab Legion, but as a willing hostage in the deluxe conditions of Camp David. Was this Gulliver, as Barak tried to portray himself to the columnists of The Washington Post and Ha'aretz? No, this was a political and diplomatic Tom Thumb.

For 33 years the US - the modern Rome - attempted to breach the walls of Israeli rule in the city, until finally Barak came to its aid and broke them down. Neither Yasser Arafat nor any other Arab ruler could overcome these walls, until Barak - wearing no disguises this time - came on the scene to do it for them.

But the leaks about the concessions at Camp David were not the worst of it. Far more serious was the wild competition amongst the politicians, MKs, and media commentators to explain how it is possible to give up Israeli sovereignty in east Jerusalem, including the old city. As if at a pre-arranged signal, they all jumped out of the closet to explain, amongst other things, that the holiness of the Old City, and even that of the Temple Mount, is only a myth.

Nabil Shaath, in an interview with Le Monde, joyfully announced that "the Israeli taboo" had been broken, when Jerusalem was also placed on the agenda at Camp David. However, Shaath explained, Barak has not yet conceded enough for an agreement to be reached.

Barak may innocently declare that he has not conceded anything, and may even believe this himself. His confidants have leaked that he was adamant that Arafat agree to allow Jews to worship on the Temple Mount itself.

But this recalls the strip of seashore, 40 meters wide on the shore of the Kinneret, to which Barak retreated in his negotiations with Hafez Assad, after giving up all the entire Golan Heights.

This was not enough for Assad, who wanted everything, and the Golan and its inhabitants were saved - for the moment. In the same way the Temple Mount and the Old City were saved (also for the moment) only because of Arafat.

That Jews are racing to surrender east Jerusalem, and that Shaath can impudently maintain that Arafat is being "fair" by conceding us the Western Wall and the Old City's Jewish Quarter (something he told me this week) are consequences of Barak's breaching of the city walls. He has eroded what had been an Israeli consensus in return for false delusions, as if Arafat would be happy to sign a peace agreement with Israel, if only it will share its sovereignty in its capital.

The joint charge of the PLO and the Israeli Left (including the media) against the Old City of Jerusalem in the wake of Barak's breaching of the walls has only begun. Barak has done terrible damage to the ultimate symbol that has unified most Jews for thousands of years, and which finally aided them to establish their state - the eternal capital, Jerusalem.

Not only has Barak betrayed the trust of these Jews, but he has also violated his own campaign promises. He has blatantly disregarded his cabinet and the Knesset, acting like the junta leader in a banana republic.

Arafat and the American administration, who are manipulating Barak and his collapsing government like puppetmasters, are now waiting for the Israelis to do their work for them. Following the breach in the walls, Arafat's path will be paved not only to the Temple Mount but to the entire Old City.

If Barak, who brazenly denies this, does not understand the historical damage he is liable to cause, and therefore makes no effort to prevent the inevitable, this is further proof of his diplomatic immaturity.

And if Barak is aware of what he is doing, and is out to prove that he is more clever and successful than E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E; if he really believes that he is the one who will "fix Israel's recognized borders," then once again, as has been revealed over the last year, he is just a political infant.

In the same way as, with the aid of the lying media, he promised Shimon Peres the presidency, he can promise Arafat the Old City of Jerusalem. Because believing Jews will always triumph over confused Israelis.

© Jerusalem Post 2000

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