West Longs for Jew-Free Zones in Jerusalem

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva and author of the book Choosing Life in Israel. 


Israel plans to step up the building of residences within the settlement blocs and—drawing particular ire—in parts of Jerusalem that were under Jordanian occupation from 1949 to 1967. The Jerusalem plans include housing for both Jews and Arabs.

In this holiday season, those plans should be cause for rejoicing instead of heightened rebukes. The city’s status as a hub of three religions, and also of tolerance, pluralism, and across-the-board demographic growth, is being strengthened.

Instead, official Western reactions have been harshly critical (reports here, here, and here).

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said: “We are deeply disappointed that Israel insists on continuing this pattern of provocative action.” The French Foreign Ministry called the building plans “a provocation that further undermines…trust…and leads us to question Israel’s commitment to the two-state solution.” British foreign secretary William Hague called the plans “a serious provocation and an obstacle to peace.”

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton even hinted at repercussions, saying the EU would “closely monitor the situation…and act accordingly.”

And 14 of the 15 countries on the UN Security Council—with the U.S. as the only exception—issued condemnations as well. Four of them—Britain, France, Germany, and Portugal—said in a joint statement that they were “extremely concerned by, and strongly opposed, the plans…all settlement activity, including in east Jerusalem, must cease immediately.”

It should be noted that, except the U.S., all of the abovementioned countries either voted aye or abstained in last month’s UN General Assembly vote conferring a watered-down form of statehood on the Palestinian Authority. It was partly in reaction to the Palestinians’ move, which blatantly violated the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Accords that the EU once sanctioned, that Israel announced the new building plans.

Israel, though, couldn’t win. It couldn’t persuade the European states to oppose the Palestinian move; and once it reacted to the move, it was roundly condemned.

Israel was particularly disappointed by Germany’s abstention in the UN vote, after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government had seemed to be intending to vote nay. Germany, as already mentioned, then joined three other countries in demanding that even “East Jerusalem”—where 200,000 Jews now live, 40 percent of Jerusalem’s total Jewish population—be treated as a Jew-free zone.

Beyond these specific points, though, stands the ongoing spectacle of the world’s leading Western powers seeming to pine for a redivided Jerusalem, this time with the Palestinians ruling the Jew-free part. Even if a Palestinian sovereign entity were to arise in the West Bank, “Ramallah,” as David Solway notes in his new book, “…is a good enough Palestinian capital.” Why, then, the insistence on East Jerusalem?

It doesn’t seem reasonable that Washington, London, Paris, Berlin et al. would be nostalgic for the previous period of Muslim Arab rule over that part of the city. The Jordanian occupation was particularly hard on Jews, who were denied all access to their holy sites while Jordanian snipers fired repeatedly into the Jewish part of the city. But the Christians under Jordan’s control suffered as well, their number dwindling from 25,000 in 1949 to 10,000 in 1967 as they were given only paltry access to their holy sites and forced to teach the Koran in their church schools (accounts here and here).

Would it be better under the Palestinians? Not if one takes Bethlehem—where the Palestinian Authority has wielded autonomy since late 1995—as a test case. Palestinian Muslim control there has caused ongoing steep demographic decline for the town’s Christians as they suffer from terror, intimidation, land theft, sexual assault, forced marriages, and the like (accounts here, here, and here)—not surprisingly in light of the continuing severe persecution of Christians throughout the region.

Indeed, however eager the West is for Palestinian rule in East Jerusalem, it turns out that even the predominantly Muslim Palestinians there don’t want it. As Evelyn Gordon notes, the numbers of these Palestinians requesting Israeli citizenship has dramatically climbed in recent years. Polls find that, even if the Palestinian state was established, most East Jerusalem Palestinians would prefer to remain Israeli.

Considering that the Palestinians’ supposed desire to shake off Israeli rule is a shibboleth of Western diplomacy, one might ask why that would be so. But anyone who has been both to Israel and the Palestinian Authority—one is tempted to say, anyone but Western diplomats—knows that the former is an island of Western democracy, prosperity, tolerance, and pluralism in a harsh region. Jerusalem Palestinians, exposed to those upsides since Israel reunited the city in 1967, have come to know their worth.

As Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat put it in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed,

Since [1967] the city has maintained freedom of access, movement and religion. Peace-seeking pilgrims of all faiths can again visit the holy places without limitation or restriction. Tourism to Jerusalem is thriving, as is the city’s economy, and its per capita crime rate is among the world’s lowest….

Isn’t it ironic that many in Europe who recently celebrated 25 years of the reunification of Berlin are at the same time calling for the division of another capital on another continent?

And as Barkat went on to ask: “By 2030, the city’s population will expand to one million residents from 800,000 today (33% Muslim, 2% Christian and 65% Jewish). Where does the world suggest we put these extra 200,000 residents?”

If the answer is, “Put them where you want, but make sure you keep some parts off-limits to Jews,” Israel’s answer is: no.

Peace and goodwill to all.

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  • UCSPanther

    Looks like we yet another brain dead Jew hater airing his garbage for all to see.

    Back to the garbage pile where you belong, loser.

  • WildJew

    D. Hornik wrote: "It doesn’t seem reasonable that Washington, London, Paris, Berlin et al. would be nostalgic for the previous period of Muslim Arab rule over that part of the city…."

    Call me cynical. Whatever makes the largely oil-producing Muslim Arab world nostalgic, makes Washington and the West nostalgic. That is only a partial explanation however. Then there is this age-old thing about "the Jews."

    • WilliamJamesWard

      Israel sold out for oil, disturbing……………William

  • kafir4life

    I wonder if we should push for muslim free zones in the West. At least within the borders (if we have any) of the US. Imagine how wonderful the flowers would smell, how blue the sky would be, how warm the sun would feel! No moon god worshippers plying their gutter cult, praising the pedophile and shatter of the terror guide, the koran, mohamat the dog faced pig. What a wonderful world it would be!!

    • Cassandra

      Kafir you always make me laugh. Yes I have that dream too but when I express it to people they think I am racist. They don't even get the humor in it.

      • kafir4life

        It's funny because islam is a joke, and muslims the joke tellers. Did you know that Penn and Teller said publicly they don't mess with islam because they have families.

        • mlcblog

          doesn't sound at all funny to me

  • Nehama, UK

    Since the Roman destruction of Judea, the only time there were no Jews in the old city of Jerusalem was during the 19 year years of Jordanian occupation between 1948 and 1967, for devout Muslims and old-school Christians this tiny blip on the post-Biblical time scale is the only period they can point to that "proves" Judaism really has been superceded by Christianity and/or Islam. Old habits die hard, naturally they all still want to relive their moment in the sun.

  • AnOrdinaryMan

    Besides the fact that making any part of Jerusalem "free of Jews" is wrong; the idea is absurd. What part of East Jerusalem would be "free of Jews?" Would Israel be required to close down Hebrew University, or the Hadassah hospital? Would the Mt. of Olives, with its vast and age-old Jewish cemetery, be off limits to Jews? And what would happen to the Old City? Would the area immediately in front of the Kotel become a slum again? Without further ado, the only answer, as Mr. Hornik points out, is "NO!"

    • Mary Sue

      Well, the Jew-hating Palestinians have a dream…and as far as I am concerned they can keep dreaming, because it better not ever become a reality.

  • RoguePatriot6

    "British foreign secretary William Hague called the plans “a serious provocation and an obstacle to peace.”

    LOL!!!! I have to say it, anyone who does not see this blatant hypocrisy has GOT TO BE BLIND. Really???, "a serious provocation and obstacle to peace"
    Meanwhile just during the month of November alone:

    21 November Arab terrorists bomb a passenger bus 27 injured
    20 November Two Israelis are killed during a Hamas rocket attack.
    20 November Six torture victims are brutally murdered by a Hamas lynch mob and then dragged through the streets on motorcycles.
    11 November Islamic Jihad rocket fire into a neighborhood leaves four Israeli casualties.
    14 November Two babies and a child are among the casualties when Hamas fires a rocket into an apartment building.
    10 November A border guard is blinded by Palestinian terrorists.

    Are people this gullable and subject to propaganda or just plain moral cowards? It's a tough call.

    • Willy Rho

      Gullible and Moral Cowards and Evil.

  • R.C.

    To hell with what the west wants of Israel!

    • Shelly

      Agreed – we are damned if we and damned if we don't – so we should do what we need to do.

  • The Bride

    God will decimate anyone who tries to divide Jerusalem; there will be NO PEACE until THE Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, returns to save Israel at the end of Daniel's 70th Week.

    • mlcblog

      You got it! I am currently reviewing and studying the teachings by Billye Brim on this very subject. Most enlightening. The series can be obtained on kcm.org. She is authoritatively teaching on the book of Revelation.

    • ReconRambo

      Just a slight or maybe a major correction on your above comment. God, our Heavenly Father, has already stated in His Word by the Prophet Zechariah, in the book of the Bible by the same name, in chapters ten through fourteen, just what is in store for Jerusalem and Judah ( Israel ) and also thereby, the entire World at large. It states that the city shall indeed be taken by the World government's ( United Nations, most likely ) and divided in half, but in verse 14: 3 it ststes that Jesus himself shall step in and war against the attackers. Zechariah 14:2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

      ReconRambo
      Semper-Fi

  • κατεργάζομαι

    RE:" (longing)f or Jew-Free Zones in Jerusalem"

    Yeah, Right.

    FACT: There has never been a civilization or a nation referred to as "Palestine"!

    The very notion of a "Palestinian Arab nation" having ancient attachments to the Holy Land going back to time immemorial is one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated upon the world!

    There is not, nor has there ever been, a distinct "Palestinian" culture or language.

    Further, there has never been a Palestinian state governed BY Arab Palestinians in history, nor was there ever a serious Arab-Palestinian national movement until 1964… three years BEFORE the Arabs of "Palestine" lost the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and Gaza as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War (which the Arabs started). Even the so-called leader of the "Palestinian" people,

    Yasser Arafat, was EGYPTIAN! In short, the so-called Arab "Palestinians" are a manufactured people…a people with no history and no authenticity… whose sole purpose for existence is to destroy the Jewish State!
    ~ yarmulke tip masada2000

  • JacksonPearson

    I'd hope that Jerusalem would never be divided. Historically the old city belongs to Israel. Islam have no claim to any part of it whatsoever, including the part where they thought they built a mosque over Salomon's Temple. IMO, when and if Israel decide to take it over, they should bulldoze the Dome of the Rock back to dust! Why? Because dates prove that Mohammad never, ever set foot on that part of the world. He died way before the start of, and finish date of the dome. Islam's claim is BS, and they know it.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      Exactly true!!!…………..William

  • http://oldschooltwentysix.blogspot.com/ oldschooltwentysix

    This is a very good post. The well intentioned are too inclined to cut off their nose to spite their face and Palestinians under Israeli control have fared better than under control of the Arabs, by far.

    • mlcblog

      We are being ruled by those who are short-sighted and/or oblivious of the consequences of their governance, as witness DiFi's gun restrictive proposals and the passage of Obamacare, not to mention the impending cliff.

  • Thomas Wells

    You underestimate the case. What they want is a Jew-Free Israel.

  • g_jochnowitz

    Rival groups of Muslims are always blowing up other Muslims in mosques or marketplaces in Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere. If Arabs ruled East Jerusalem, competing Sunni and Shiite suicide bombers would kill themselves in order to destroy the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque, preferably when large numbers of worshipers were there. If this happened, the world would never forgive Israel.

  • Ghostwriter

    Human Rights Watch seems to agree with Israel's right to exist. Why are there few others who do?

    • J.S.

      NGO Monitor (one week ago) noted how HRW is (once again) fabricating bogus charges against Israel. In my opinion, HRW is just another anti-Israel, pro Arab propaganda agency.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Israel will not divide Jerusalem, if forced it will be a dreadful fight and my money is
    on the Israelis and Jersualem the forever Capitol of the Jewish Nation. It is the duty
    of the Israeli people to build Jerusalem and protect it from evil, while at it building in
    every square inch of Israeli's Biblically promised lands is what should be going on.
    William

  • LittleDon

    U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, Tell this Bit ch that she better worry about Benghazi Disaster get her noise out of Israel business! If she and that Radical Group The UN Love the Muslims that much go live with them! OH! I forget they are the leaders of the Fuc' en UN!
    God Bless America!!!!

  • Kyra Nelson

    Never give in. Never surrender

  • Liz

    According to Nir Barkat, mayor of Jerusalem, there has been religious freedom for all faiths in Jerusalem since 1967, no restrictions on access to holy places. REALLY?! Then why were all jews banned from ascending the temple mount for years to avoid upsetting the easily upset muslims? When jews were finally allowed to ascend, the days and times were very limited, and no praying is allowed. Jewish cops beat and arrest any jew who even looks like they might be praying–moving your lips silently is a crime in Israel on the holiest spot on the planet. What about free access to other holy sites like Hevron and Joseph's tomb? Why can't jews freely build homes in their own homeland? The "jewish" govt of Israel obeys orders from those who want to finish what h started.