Tolerating hypocrisy in Jerusalem

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Last week the EU-financed Peace Now organization held an "Alternative Jerusalem Day" ceremony in which it called for Israel to renounce its sovereignty over half of the city in the interests of peace.


Why anyone would believe that an Israeli surrender of the eternal capital of the Jewish people to Hamas will lead to peace is anyone's guess. It seems particularly fatuous in light of the blatantly unpeaceful results of Israel's 2005 Peace Now-supported surrender of Gaza to Hamas, its 2000 Peace Now-supported surrender of south Lebanon to Hizbullah, and the Peace Now-supported Barak government's offer to surrender the Temple Mount and other parts of Jerusalem to Yasser Arafat in 2000.


Also last week, the EU-financed Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies published a survey claiming that if current trends continue, the prevailing two-thirds Jewish majority in Israel's capital city will be reduced to a 60-percent majority by 2020.


Why there is any reason to believe the doom and gloom numbers is also anyone's guess. It seems a particularly hard sell given that the Jewish and Arab fertility rates in the city (3.8 and 4.1 respectively) are nearly identical, and economic trends that now stifle Jewish population growth are reversible.


This week, the EU supplemented its NGOs' work to divide the capital by announcing its boycott of Wednesday's Knesset ceremony celebrating Jerusalem's liberation. The US also loudly absented itself from the ceremony.


For its part, the Olmert-Livni-Peretz government could not hide its befuddlement. After Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski attacked the US and EU boycott, arguing, "Whoever does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel also does not recognize the State of Israel," the government stammered out a couple of bromides.


With her characteristic weakness, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni stuttered that Israel's connection to Jerusalem is "indivisible." Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said nothing.


IN THEIR attack against Israeli sovereignty over the eternal capital of the Jewish people in the name of peace, the Left, the EU and the Americans were nothing if not consistent. So too was the government consistent in its stuttered response to the onslaught against Jerusalem.


Over the past 14 years the policies of Israel's governments, the Israeli Left, the EU and the US have consistently been predicated on hypocrisy. The Left claims to be working for the civil rights of Arabs, whom it claims are being discriminated against by Israel and the Jerusalem municipality. The EU claims to seek a repartition of the city along the 1949 armistice lines to advance the cause of peace. The US claims to oppose any action that would prejudice the outcome of final status negotiations toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel's governments claim that they are committed to Israeli sovereignty throughout the city and to the upholding of the rule of law.


The fact that all of these purported objectives are false was copiously documented in a report published last year by the Office for Public Inquiries for East Jerusalem. The organization, headed by Arieh King, is funded by private Jewish donors.


Entitled "Illegal building in East Jerusalem as a strategic tool of the Palestinian Authority in its struggle for the future of Jerusalem," the 61-page report and its several hundred pages of attached documents provide a neighborhood-by-neighborhood survey of illegal Arab building in the city. Contrary to the Left's repeated contention that Jerusalem's Arabs are forced to build illegally because the municipality refuses to grant them construction permits, the city approved a planning scheme that provides for the construction of 32,500 new housing units in Arab neighborhoods. This is on top of 24,000 units already in various stages of the licensing process, and another 20,000 illegal structures built by Jerusalem Arabs in the past 20 years.


The political aim of the illegal construction is made clear by its financing sources. Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, the PA, Saudi Arabia and the EU have spent millions of dollars in financing illegal construction in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, often on state and privately owned lands.


IN AN EFFORT to degrade the Jewish character of the city, for instance, Arabs have built homes on state-owned lands adjacent to the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives that are earmarked for future cemetery expansion.


The strategic aim of the building is apparent from its location. Much of the building has been carried out meters from strategic traffic arteries including Highways 60, 1, 4 and 443. Additionally, illegal construction has rendered the Atarot airport insecure. Israel has done next to nothing to destroy the illegal structures constructed adjacent to the only airport east of Ben-Gurion International Airport.


The illegal Arab construction, which has placed most neighborhoods in Jerusalem and the highway approaches to the city within rifle range of hostile gunmen, has been met with indifference by the Israeli governing bureaucracy. Successive governments have hypocritically announced their commitment to Jerusalem. But the King report shows that government decisions passed in 1998, 2002 and 2003 ordering government agencies to stem illegal Arab construction were never effectively implemented.


King sent his report to dozens of government offices and Knesset committees. Aside from a meeting with one official from the Justice Ministry, no one responded to his work.


AS KING'S report notes, the Left plays a key role in enabling illegal Arab building in Jerusalem employing organizations like Peace Now, Bimkom and the International Coalition against House Demolitions. The leftists claim that they are committed to civil rights and peace, yet their work undermines the civil rights of Israeli landowners and undermines peace by empowering a regime that is openly opposed to all the ideals they claim to stand for.


The PA insists that its land be empty of Jews. So too, the first law it promulgated made it a capital offense for Arabs to sell land to Jews. Dozens of Arab Jerusalemites have been murdered by the PA since 1994 for their "crime" of selling their land to Jews.


For its part, Israel keeps the city open to all faiths and facilitates Arab building.


THE EU claims that its support for the repartition of the city stems from its commitment to a peace where Israel will have secure and recognized borders. Yet, in funding pressure organizations and illegal construction, not only does the EU undermine Israel's control of its capital city, it undermines Israel's security by enabling construction along strategic traffic arteries and in sniper range of neighborhoods within the 1949 armistice lines like Sanhedria, Romema and Har Nof.


For its part, the US claims to object to any move by either Israel or the Palestinians that would prejudice the deliberations toward a final peace settlement. Yet by refusing to recognize Israel's right to its capital city, in breach of US law which does so, the Bush Administration, like its predecessors is prejudicing the outcome of those future deliberations against Israel.


The US loudly demands that legal Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, like Migron, be destroyed, and objects to legal Israeli building in Ma'aleh Adumim. All the while, it actively supports illegal Palestinian building in Jerusalem by opposing any Israeli assertion of sovereignty through the unprejudiced enforcement of its laws.


THE HYPOCRISY of all these parties is of course dwarfed by the hypocrisy of successive Israeli governments. With the exception of the Netanyahu government, every Israeli government since 1993 has enabled the Arabs to undermine the state's con
trol of Jerusalem. While paying lip service to the city's unity, by errors of commission and omission, Israel's governments have failed to defend the property rights of public and private land owners in Jerusalem. They have allowed the PA, enemy states like Saudi Arabia and the EU to openly abet illegal building projects in the city.


Moreover, while they have used the letter of the law to justify expelling Jews from their communities in Judea and Samaria, successive governments have ignored both the letter and the spirit of the law in refusing to take concerted action to enforce the laws of the state by blocking illegal building in the capital.


So this week, as the government conducts its hollow celebrations of the reunification of eternal capital of the Jewish people which it does so little to defend, and the Left, the EU and the US emptily speak of their "peace policies," the Jewish people must stop tolerating this dirty game.


When Barak offered Arafat the Temple Mount at Camp David in 2000, Ariel Sharon reacted by stating that Jerusalem is an eternal trust given to the Jewish people and no one has the right to breach that trust.


FORTY YEARS after the city's reunification, it is the responsibility of Jews in Israel and throughout the world to stand up for Jerusalem. We must work to expose that in its support for the city's division, the Left seeks to empower a racist regime that embodies everything the Left claims to oppose, against Israel, which embodies the very rule of law and civil rights the Left purports to care about.


Similarly, Jews must call our so-called friends in Washington and Brussels to task for their malevolent, discriminatory support for the human-rights-abusing, racial supremacists in the PA over the human-rights-respecting Jews who keep Jerusalem open to all faiths and all peoples.


Finally, we must demand that the leaders of the State of Israel fulfill their duty to posterity by upholding and strengthening Zion. If they are unwilling to do so, the Jewish people as a whole must stand up and demand they resign to make room for a government that will defend our eternal capital.



Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

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