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November 29, 2015 / 17 Kislev, 5776
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Dividing Jerusalem: Simply Dangerous


How many times does PA chieftain Mahmoud Abbas have to repeat that the Israelis are planning to rebuild the Holy Temple atop the most volatile spot in the world before the world begins to accept it as true?

And if he in fact says it that many times, and the world community accepts that Israel is willing to endanger the entire world via its actions in Jerusalem, how long will it take before the UN, or the G-7, or whatever, “decides” that Jerusalem must be divided and the Old City and the Temple Mount wrested from Jewish hands?

In fact, Abbas repeats the above ridiculous claim a lot, and the world is inching toward a conclusion of sorts that it must not let Jerusalem remain solely under the purview of the Jewish people.

The dangers are very great. Let us review.

Just a few weeks ago, Abbas told the Saudi paper Al-Watan that Israel prevents Arab worshipers “from entering the Mosque [Temple Mount], and [gives] free rein to radical Jews to enter its courtyards and conduct their religious ceremonies – all these actions indicate an evil and dangerous plot to destroy Al-Aqsa and build the alleged Temple.”

He “misspoke,” of course. “Radical” Jews are barely allowed to enter the Temple courtyards; they are also not even permitted to move their lips in prayer there, let alone “conduct religious ceremonies.”

“Unfortunately,” Abbas continued, “these dangers, which are clear for everyone to see, have yet to receive proper Arab, Islamic and international responses.” He was apparently referring to this, as reported two months ago in the PA’s main newspaper: “The [PA] Grand Mufti of Jerusalem summoned citizens to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to fill it and defend it.”

And so: Is jihad in Jerusalem really as far off as we would like to think?

Let us consider: If the Israeli government is pressured into agreeing to a PA state with Jerusalem as its capital, it means the formation of a new Gaza Strip – i.e., an area almost as large as Gaza, and just as closed off to Israeli security bodies – from north of Ramallah to south of Bethlehem, with Jerusalem in its center. It is certain to become a magnet for terrorist organizations vying with each other as to which can operate a more efficient apparatus for terrorist destruction.

With so many targets in their daily sights – a million Jews in Jerusalem and its environs – the terrorists of Ramallah-Al Quds-Bethlehem will make Gaza and its Hamas army look like a kindergarten by comparison.

Nevertheless, Jerusalem-supporters are bombarded daily with questions such as, What is so terrible about dividing Jerusalem? Isn’t it worth it for a once-and-for-all peace agreement with the PLO and the Arab world?

The answers to these questions are critical to the future of Jerusalem, the state of Israel and the Jewish people. It behooves us to internalize, study, and disseminate these well-researched responses wherever possible.

In addition to concrete security dangers accompanying a division of Jerusalem, the rate of Jews leaving the city is bound to climb above even its current alarming level — some 8,000 a year. In addition, Arabs would increasingly flood Jewish neighborhoods, and the Jewish people’s historic and religious bonds with the Holy City would be impaired or worse.

And how about the day-to-day difficulties of governing and living in a city divided by a zig-zagging wall – concrete, barbed-wire, or even just on paper – running through neighborhoods? These are more than mind-boggling.

Some say, let’s just simply redraw the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem thus that Arab-populated neighborhoods such as Isawiya (adjacent to French Hill), Jabel Mukabber (next to East Talpiot), and Sur Bahir (near Har Homa) fall on the “other side.” It appears simple – in theory. But on the ground, the Jewish residents of these and other neighborhoods will abruptly find themselves guarding the border, exposed daily to close-range shooting attacks, Kassam rockets, and mortar fire.

Incredibly, dividing Jerusalem could actually see modern-day Jewish neighborhoods in our holy capital turned into war-torn border zones, under fire of rocket-launching and light weapons-toting terrorists like those who silenced Sderot and Kiryat Shmona for weeks at a time. Remember Gilo in southern Yerushalayim? Within a two-year period during the Oslo War, some four hundred-plus shooting and other attacks were unleashed on this quiet neighborhood by our enemies in the Bethlehem suburb of Beit Jala. Only after the wounding of dozens, the beginning of voluntary evacuation, the provision of concrete barriers and bulletproof glass, and the abating of the Oslo War did the danger pass.

About the Author: Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel's minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel, past senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7, is a veteran writer on Jerusalem affairs. Both have lived in Jerusalem and now reside in Beit El.

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