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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2100

The Jerusalem Question: Part 4

By Habib Siddiqui

Next, we come to the question of religious myth, as Menachem Begin once said, "The country [Israel] was promised to us, and we have a right to it." [Davar, Dec. 12, 1978] Golda Meir similarly said, “This country exists as a result of a promise made by God Himself.” [45] Moshe Dayan said, "If you have the book of Bible, the people of the Bible, then you also have the land of the Bible – of the Judges, of the Patriarchs in Jerusalem, Hebron, Jericho and thereabouts." [Jerusalem Post, Aug. 10, 1967]

Religious Myth:

One should not be surprised by such invocations of Biblical passages to “justify” or “sanctify” the permanent extension of the Zionist state. In 1956, it was David Ben-Gurion who showed the way by declaring that Sinai formed part of the “Kingdom of David and Solomon.”

Colonialists have always sought a rationalization for their criminal annexations, robberies and authority. And what a better way than to claim being "God’s Chosen People" or belonging to a “Superior” race? Are we, therefore, surprised at the remarkable similarity between Zionist claims and Vorster’s (late Prime Minister of the Apartheid regime in South Africa in 1972) assertion about justification of apartheid when the latter said, "Let us not forget that we are the people of God, entrusted with a mission"?

The concept of ‘race’ is a 19th century invention by European colonialists to justify colonial hegemony. To justify colonialism, English writer, Rudyard Kipling spoke of "the White Man’s burden" to civilize the non-whites. As Roger Garaudy has rightly pointed out this very idea of “chosen people” should be recognized as historically infantile, politically criminal, theologically intolerable, and morally insane. It has no scientific basis. [46] It is a bizarre puzzle to say the least. Because, God’s mercy is never restricted to a group, but transcends entire humanity. It is narrated in the Qur’an,“Remember when Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain words, which he fulfilled. He said, ‘I shall make you an Imam [leader] to humankind.’ Said he, ‘And what of my progeny?’ He said, ‘My covenant shall not include the wrongdoers.’" [2:124]

Zionists often invoke the Book of Genesis (15:16), which states: “In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” So, which “seed” or son is meant here? Is it Ishmael - the first born, or Isaac (the son of Sarah) - the father of Jacob? What we know from history is that this “promise” was only fulfilled through the Arab descendants of Ishmael – firstborn son of Abraham – who was the forefather of Muhammad (S), and not ever by any descendant of Isaac – the second son of Abraham (AS). Period !

So, if theology were to determine the status of Jerusalem, the Muslim position strongly contradicts Jewish aspiration for the city and shows that they have stronger claim to the city than their Jewish cousins.

Sadly, political Zionism has betrayed Judaism and perverted Christianity. The same church that once labeled Jews as "Christ-killers", as the "rejected" or "forsaken people", now calls them the "Chosen people." They are now its best friends, more zealous than many Israelis in their support for the rogue state. It is really strange! I wish the Christian motivation was genuine and not simply to gather them as the sacrificial lambs for the ‘coming Armageddon’!

The entire policy of the state of Israel, internal or external, has been a colonial enterprise, but it wears the "chador” (cloak) of pseudo-theological myth. From its beginning to the present, Israel has always been a racist, colonial state. The father of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl remarked, "Universal brotherhood is not even a beautiful dream, antagonism is essential to man’s greatest efforts." [Jewish State, (1897)] Contrary to this view, the greatest minds ever in the history of mankind – from Moses to Jesus to Muhammad (S) – spoke of universal brotherhood to be the solution. This remark rightly shows the sick mentality of this founder of Zionism. As a matter of fact, the Zionists – Jewish or Christian alike – are morally wrong.

In his Diary, Theodor Herzl writes about the establishment of a Jewish state: "We should form there a portion of rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism." Here, it clearly shows his colonial, racist mentality. He first disregards the rights of the indigenous inhabitants of the Arab Palestinians, and then dehumanizes them by calling them barbarians.

The history of the Zionist, apartheid state of Israel since its unholy birth has exhibited its “rampart” characteristics rather too well! It is also not difficult to understand the brutal measures employed by the racist leaders of Israel against unarmed Palestinian teens. Israel is an apartheid state with over 50 laws on the books that sanction discrimination against the Palestinian people. Palestinian homes and land are routinely bulldozed to make way for illegal Israeli settlements. Israeli soldiers also regularly arrest and detain Palestinians as young as 4 years old without due process. Every day, Palestinians are forced to walk through military checkpoints along the US-funded Apartheid Wall. The killing of Palestinians does not raise the eyebrows of most Zionists today. After all, the victims have been dehumanized with statements like those of the Israeli Deputy Minister of Defense, Eli Ben-Dahan in 2013 that stated that: “[Palestinians] are beasts, they are not human”. Racist ideologies within Israel’s criminal justice system and military have made crimes against dehumanized Palestinians look justifiable in the eyes of its bemused followers and executioners!

In the last week of December 2017, we learned that Israeli army mistakenly thought it had thwarted a terror attack when it shot a 15-year-old Palestinian teen in the head. “The bullet entered from the back of his neck and exited through the eye socket, shattering his head and face. A single bullet fired by an Israel Defense Forces soldier lurking in ambush with his buddies in the shade of olive trees. The soldier sees the person approaching the fence, unarmed, not endangering anyone, a slim teenager, dozens of meters away – but still shoots him in the head with live ammunition, wounding him seriously, destroying his life and that of his family, probably for all time. At first the IDF claimed that the soldier had thwarted a knifing attack, and later that the teen had ‘put his hand in his pocket in a suspicious way.’ In the end, it turned out that the Hamed al-Masri hadn’t done anything wrong at all,” reported Gideon Levy and Alex Levac from Israel.

Thanks to the culture of impunity, such trigger-happy incidents are not exceptions but are norms in Apartheid Israel. What a betrayal of Jewish moral codes!

Summary:

From the above discussion, we see that the so-called Children of Israel far from being the first settlers in Palestine were only one group among many others. The total period of Jewish rule or sovereignty over Palestine, in general, and Jerusalem, in particular, before the establishment of the modern Jewish state was only about 400 years, and this period is much shorter a period compared to the period of Muslim rule. As a matter of fact, in its entire history, no other religious community had ruled Palestine or Jerusalem for a longer period. The myth of political rights of the Jews over Palestine is, thus, not substantiated by history.

In the pre-1948 period, Jews returned to Palestine primarily because of persecution (esp. the Jewish Holocaust) in Europe, and least from any yearning for the ‘homeland of their ancestors.’ Had it not been for the generosity of Muslim rulers since the days of Saladin they could not have found refuge among Muslims, and surely not in Palestine. Only under Muslim rule the sanctity of Jerusalem – as spiritual center of three monotheistic religions - was upheld.

If theology were to be the basis for occupying land, then Muslim claims for Jerusalem is stronger than those of Jewish (and Christian) claims.

Contrary to the myths now spread by Zionists, Jerusalem was always important to Muslims and that during the Muslim rule it never declined to the point of being in shambles. Its importance has not dwindled a bit amongst Muslims. Israel through its actions in post-1967 era has shown that it cannot be trusted for guardianship of Muslim shrines there.

More importantly, East Jerusalem, including its Muslim holy places, is not the patrimony of any Arab incumbent in whatever Arab capital he or she may be, but that of nearly 1.7 billion Muslims and of the Arab people of Palestine.

Concluding Remarks:

Trump's preposterous Jerusalem declaration in December 2017 was like a Christmas presentation to his Judeo-Christian Evangelical base and a Hanukkah present to the extremist Zionists like Sheldon Adelson and Benjamin Netanyahu who believe that the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would pave the way for the construction of a Third Jewish Temple in the same place the Second Temple had been before it was demolished in 70 CE by the Romans.

Not surprisingly, some Jews and Judeo-Christians see Trump's announcement - and, in fact, Trump himself - as hastening the long-awaited coming of the Messiah. To be sure, Trump did little to dispel the sense that something of biblical significance was in fact taking place. But just as the Haaretz has questioned: whose Messiah is Trump hastening? Is it the fundamentalist Israeli vision of a return to a Jewish kingdom and priesthood reminiscent of the Old Testament? Or is it the Evangelical belief in the return of Jesus Christ and the conversion of all the Jews to born-again Christian doctrine and faith?

Nonetheless, Trump’s decision is sure to bolster the extremist Zionists with their criminal land-grabs further worsening the Palestine-Israel crisis. As part of the payback, Israel’s transportation minister is pushing ahead with a plan to dig a railway tunnel under Jerusalem’s Old City, passing near sites holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims — and ending at the Western Wall with a station named after Trump. Digging railway tunnels to the Western Wall would also entail excavating in Jerusalem’s Old City, where religious and political sensitivities — as well as layers of archaeological remains from the city’s 3,000-year history — could make for a logistical and legal quagmire.

The status of Jerusalem as the ‘undivided capital’ of the State of Israel is unacceptable. The General Assembly revisited the question of Jerusalem many times. In its fifty-fifth session, in a resolution adopted on 1 December 2000, the Assembly determined that the decision of Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem was illegal and, therefore, null and void. The Assembly also deplored the transfer by some States of their diplomatic missions to Jerusalem in violation of Security Council resolution 478 (1980).

As the recent United Nations General Assembly (Dec. 2017) vote once again showed Trump’s decision went against the very spirit of finding a peaceful solution – the so-called two state formula – to the decades-old problem. No wonder that the Palestinians see Trump’s declaration as the death knell to any peace process. They have said, and rightly so, that they won't accept the USA as a mediator any more to resolve the crisis. Trump has forfeited that privilege.

These statements and resolutions, as well as many others adopted by United Nations bodies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and religious groups, demonstrate the continuing determination of the international community to remain involved in the future of Jerusalem. They also show the great concern over the delicate status of the peace process and the unanimous desire that no actions be taken that could jeopardize that process.

Since its birth, the Israeli plan has been to totally ignore international law, given the absence of any enforcement device, and to work hard to create facts on the ground, in the belief that sooner or later the international community, including the Palestinian leadership, would be forced to accept the ‘ground reality’ of the absolute lawlessness of ‘might is right’. So far, thanks to its powerful international backers wielding tremendous economic and political power, esp. the USA government and its ‘Amen Corner’ in the Capitol Hill, Israel has succeeded in its devious plan, but that won’t sanctify what is immoral, illegal, unjust and unfair.

Jerusalem is important for adherents of the three great monotheistic religions. Her international status can neither be unilaterally declared by Israel nor blackmailed by any other state. Her heritage is as much, if not more, Islamic as it is Christian and Jewish. As the hallowed site of Isra and Mi’raj and the place of many Prophets (AS) of the Qur’an who walked and lived there, the world Muslim community can never abandon its heritage nor can they renounce their rights to it. As for the land, the Zionist occupation of it is accidental and came about because of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, betrayal of regional Arab leaders, and weakness of Muslim post-colonial nation states. Who knows, things may change one day, and Jerusalem will belong to those who would uphold her sanctity and make it a true center of world peace and blessings!

--- Concluded

- Asian Tribune -

The Jerusalem Question: Part 4
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