Jerusalem: The Heart & Soul of the Conflict

Yedidya Atlas is a veteran journalist specializing in geo-political and geo-strategic affairs in the Middle East. His articles have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, Insight Magazine, Nativ, The Jerusalem Post and Makor Rishon. His articles have been reprinted by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the US Congressional Record.


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Last month Qatar hosted representatives from Islamic countries attending the “International Conference for the Defence of Occupied Jerusalem.” Supposedly they convened to discuss “the legal status of Jerusalem before and after the Israeli occupation, the reality and the future of Jerusalem under occupation, and the status of the holy places under international law.” The real reason, the Islamic reason, was to perpetuate the lie that Jerusalem is not Jewish.

It was no surprise that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the notorious Holocaust denier, or Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi, whose organization’s 22nd summit in 2010 approved the conference, among other Muslim political luminaries, attended. It was even par for the course that the UN representative Robert Serry attended to give official UN backing to the Big Lie on Arab-Muslim Jerusalem. Nor was it a bombshell that Kenneth Insley, Jr., who was listed as “consultant” to the US Department of State, attended also delivering a speech in support of the aforementioned Islamic mythological history of Jerusalem. (To date, the State Department has failed to explain whether or not Mr. Insley, a known promoter of anti-Israel hatred, was there on behalf of the US government as the conference billing listed him.)

But the primary thrust of the conference was just another in a long line of Islamic attempts to throw the sands of confusion and deception in the minds eyes of Western policy makers and the Western media. The purpose: to cause the aforementioned Western fellow travelers to participate and support the Islamic re-writing of Jerusalem’s history.

The reason that Jerusalem is so important to Muslims is because it actually is important to the Jews. After all, when East Jerusalem with the Old City and the Temple Mount was occupied by the Arab and Islamic Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan from 1949 until 1967, Jerusalem was not important to the same Arab/Islamic leaders who subsequently shed crocodile tears over the loss of Jerusalem following Israel’s liberating Eastern Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War. During the 19 years of Jordanian occupation, for example, the King of Saudi Arabia, PLO chieftain Yasser Arafat, et al., never once visited Jerusalem, never felt the need to go up to the Temple Mount and pray at the mosque. Moreover, those Muslims who do pray at the “al-Aqsa Mosque” built on the Temple Mount turn their backs to the mosque and face Mecca. Why? Because Jerusalem, as we will see from a brief historical review, means nothing per se to Muslims except in relation to the city’s importance to their declared enemies: Jews and Christians, those “People of the Book.”

Anyone who is conversant at all with Biblical history and archeology, as well as more than three millennia of Jewish law and traditions, knows the unique and central role Jerusalem plays in Judaism. Jews have always prayed towards Jerusalem, and in Jerusalem, they pray towards the Temple Mount. Jews have mourned the destruction of both the First and Second Temples for upwards of 2,000 years, and pray daily for the ultimate rebuilding of the Third Temple in Messianic times. The Passover Hagaddah (also read by President Obama in the White House, according to his latest AIPAC speech), as does the Yom Kippur service, concludes with the phrase, “Next year in Jerusalem.” One of the 18 benedictions in the primary Jewish prayer (the “Amida” or “Shemona Esrei”) recited three times daily by religious Jews is the prayer to return and rebuild Jerusalem as of old. Since the days of King David, Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish state.

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  • Cry Me a River

    How many Jews actually believe in God? Probably not many. Jews are of the most secular, god-hating people the world has ever known. European Jews were, and still are, behind socialism and communism and every other atheistic trend in Christendom, with the ultimate motive always being Jewish selfishness and desires for control over the Goyim. Even in your own Torah, the Jewish people are famed for rejecting God's message time and time again. Instead, Jews go after wealth and sin in the bible. Many continue to do so today. So who cares what the bible says about Jerusalem? Do you really believe it yourself? If Jews want Jerusalem, they need to fight for it. And the fact that Jews don't believe in an afterlife, and are consequentially cowardly, is not the fault of Islam. A Jewish nuclear bomb will only decide regional politics for so long. Perhaps Jews need to do more soul-searching on whey they are so universally despised, today and throughout history.

    • LibertyMan

      “Cry Me a River” wrote “If Jews want Jerusalem, they need to fight for it”

      Answer: they did and God gave it back to them as God promised.

      … sorry to interupt your rant which is based on a pick and choose method … like a true rabid secular religionist would do.

      • Snorbak

        I'll go a step further & state that the Jews are on the verge of gaining more than just Jerusalem. I would suggest that the Sinai, Lebanon, Southern Syria & Jordan may soon too be reclaimed Israel, given the rapidly declining relationships these countries have with Israel, war is on the horizon as prophesised in Psalm 83.

    • Sage on the Stage

      Of course, the reason European Jews "go after wealth" in days past, was that they were excluded from being in a trade, or entering a profession.(That was this thing; that my Rabbi said shouldn't be here, called
      anti-semitism) And how would YOU KNOW how many Jews "actually believe in God?" To my knowledge, Jews never controlled "the Goyim," at any time in the 2000 year history of the Diaspora. But for the first time in over 2000 years, the Jews have a country to call their own, where they DO have some power over others. And THAT IS what you can't stand. Go cry yourself a river, and if you still don't like it, the edge of the cliff is THAT WAY….and get a running start.

    • DogsHateRomney

      Replying to Cry Me a River (QUOTE) "How many Jews actually believe in God? "

      "The land of Israel belongs to God,

      ……..and He has decided to give it to the Jewish nation,
      in accordance with the covenant sealed on Mount Sinai,

      A covenant that no other nation was willing to undertake.

      After a long exile, they have returned home.

      They bear no malice toward anyone and seek no harm to anyone.

      " But Israel will NOT surrender any portion of THEIR land to foreign powers, and if foreigners rise up against us to destroy Israel; they will fight against them and, with God's help, Israel will destroy them.
      ~Martin Wasserman (paraphrased)

    • esperantominoria

      Guys,check out these articles.

      "Caliph Al-Hakim of Muslim Spain,who created a Library of 400,000 Books,was Not a Muslim since he was an Openly Practicing Homosexual"
      http://www.antisharia.com/2012/03/19/caliph-al-ha

      AND ALSO

      "A Real Disaster:the Statistics on 1st and 2nd Cousin Marriage among Muslims"
      http://www.antisharia.com/2012/01/17/a-real-disas

      "The Koranic Verse that Justifies,for Muslim Terrorists,killing Fellow Muslims"
      http://www.antisharia.com/2012/01/11/the-koranic-

    • Moll

      The G-d of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob established in HIS WORD that: He "will bless them that bless Israel, and curse them that curse Israel" (Gen 12:3); "that the land of Israel belongs to Him" (Lev. 25:23 & Deut.11:12) and that He placed His Name on Jerusalem (II Chron.6:6, I Kings 9:3); and that His Covenant was with Abraham, through Isaac and Jacob, Not Ishmael (Gen.13:14; Gen.15:17-19); and that His Covenant of the land given to Abraham and his seed through Isaac & Jacob, is based on G-d's eternal character, not on Israel's righteousness, and where He makes it very clear that even when they forsake His will, HE, G-d will never forget His Covenant He made to them (Lev.26:42-45, Jer.31:35-37); that G-d says He will restore Israel for the sake of His Holy Name (Ezek.39:25-29, Jer.33:23-26).

      So, dear Cry Me a River person, it doesn't matter whether any jewish people actually believe in G-d or not; or whether they are god-hating people, whether they invented socialism, communism, &/or every other atheistic trend; or whether they rejected G-d's message time and time, or whether jews go after wealth and sin/ What the Bible says about Jerusalem stands, whether you or I believe it or not, because the G-d of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob said it matters. The G-d of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob caused to be written in HIS WORD, that "if any man shall take away from the words of the book of prophecy, God shall take away that man's part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" (Deut.12:32/Rev.22:19). Be wise. Get with G-d's program, because what you think/believe is irrelevant.

  • David

    Those who trouble themselves with the nation of Israel and their capital Jerusalem do not understand what they do and who will trouble them in return, because this is the word of the Lord concerning Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

    • Bartimaeus

      Zechariah 12:3, Amen

    • Snorbak

      Jerusalem being a burdensome stone & a cup of trembling is certainly the case now.
      Psalm 83 & Isaiah 17 are on our doorstep.
      I believe that Israel will soon show the world that they are not to be messed with during the Psalm 83 war when Israels immediate neighbours launch a confederated attack to destroy her. Syria/ Hezbollah is going to miscalculate (Chem/ Bio attack) & the result will be the destruction of Damascus.
      Anyone who claims that biblical prophesy is rubbish needs to have a closer study with an open mind.
      Making an argument from ignorance is no argument.

  • Larry

    Jerusalem is only important to muslims when someone else has it. It isn't mentioned in the koran, it wasn't regarded as important when the arabs took if from the Byzantines, it only became important when the Crusaders captured it. After that is wasn't important until the Entente captured it in 1917, and it was unimportant between 1948 and 1967.

    In the meantime, I'm sure the Greeks would like all those 2,500-3,000 year old cities of theirs that the Turks have.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      They always become very attached to conquered territory.
      Wait until they have the 'Holy City of Dearborn' some day.

  • maturin20

    Does Yedidya Atlas actually contend that the US State Department has to consult the Israel Unity Coalition and get their informed approval for every consultant they hire?

    He said: "To date, the State Department has failed to explain whether or not Mr. Insley, a known promoter of anti-Israel hatred, was there on behalf of the US government as the conference billing listed him."

    Atlas is an Israeli in the IDF. The last time I checked, the US STATE DEPARTMENT did not answer to an Israeli in the IDF. That would be a very warped government structure indeed.

    • ajnn

      i think the point is that Insley is a very bad representative of the US government.

      in addition, journalists are SUPPOSED TO ASK THAT QUESTION (is so-and-so representing the giovernment or is a private person). Are you critisizing a journalist for asking the 'tough questions' ?

      • maturin20

        I am criticizing political gotcha activists and bloggers for posing as journalists. Where is the investigative reporting? Where is the WORKING? It's work now to grow a beard and some locks and whine about who is allowed to be a US advisor? It's a job to be an Israeli settler? That's worth a Pulitzer Prize?

      • reader

        Look, fellas. maturin is a restless Jew hating troll with nothing better to do than trolling on this site and marking his own posts with rare pluses. Don't waste your precious attention on it and don't feed it.

        • maturin20

          Are you trying to start the boycott? Maybe if we don't feed Zionism it will go away too.

  • Old_BBart_School

    .

    Israel first became a nation in 1312 B.C.E., two thousand years before the rise of Islam!

    .

    • intrcptr2

      The Exodus was in 1440 BC.

      But yes, indeed, long before the best part of Muhammad dripped down his mother's leg.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Who is after Jerusalem, exactly the same who David predicted in the Psalms and in the same way under
    the exact circumstances. Those who are not interested in Scripture should read the Bible to gain sight
    into what is happening. In short the story ends with the destruction of Israel's enemies, no surprise to
    believers, what is surprising is how many Israelis and American Jews are ignorant of the Torah and how
    Jerusalem has been central to Jews from it's beginning and how important it is today. Those who scheme
    for the destruction of Israel have a big surprise coming and as the Rabbies of old I hope my bones are in
    the ground when the time of Jacobs troubles unfold………………………………….William

    • Snorbak

      Psalm 83 William

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Dan. 7:7, Rev. 13:1, Ezek. 38:10, Rev. 17:12, 11 Thes. 2:4, …………"The heathen shall know that
    I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel" Ezek. 39:7……….thank you Snorbak…………..William

    • Snorbak

      "I hope my bones are in the ground when the time of Jacobs troubles"
      I would not worry about being around during the tribulation period, Thessalonians 4:17 provides the answer assuming you believe in a pre trib rapture, & your welcome.