As Israeli constitutional legal expert Howard Grief has summed up, there is a “near-universal but completely false belief that it was the UN Partition Resolution of November 1947 that brought the State of Israel into existence. In fact [however], the UN resolution was an illegal abrogation of Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty to the whole of Palestine and the Land of Israel, rather than an affirmation of such rights or progenitor of them…. The General Assembly exceeded its authority [when passing the Partition resolution]. It did not have the power to divide the country” that had already been given to the Jews.
KeepJerusalem’s Chaim Silberstein emphasized that the fight for a Jewish Jerusalem must be waged on all fronts – even vis-à-vis the current patriotic municipal government. “Mayor Barkat was here earlier,” Silberstein said, “and he proudly told us of the numerous cranes that can be seen on the horizon, showing the continuous growth the city is undergoing. I had to restrain myself from jumping up and blurting out, ‘Mr. Mayor, can you point out to me which of the ten Jewish neighborhoods in eastern, liberated Jerusalem – comprising 250,000 Jews, 45 percent of the Jewish population in the city – have public initiated building projects with cranes operating at this time? Why is it that the Arabs continue to build at a rapid pace, without permits and unabated, yet not one crane graces the skyline of eastern Jerusalem in a Jewish project, so crucial to solving the housing crisis in the city?”
Silberstein referred to the incessant illegal Arab construction as a “creeping concrete conquest.” Arab efforts to “create a building continuum from Ramallah in the north to Bethlehem in the south” are largely successful, he warned, and “while the Ulpena neighborhood is being razed because of a claim that has not even been proven in court, the city government and police barely relate to the illegal Arab construction.”
Dr. Gauthier lamented some of Israel’s concessions over the years. “Yes, Israel agreed to UN Resolution 242, which requires Israel to withdraw from ‘territories’ – but not from ‘the territories.’ Israel’s consent to refer to some territories of Judea and Samaria as occupied does not abrogate the Jewish legal claims and rights, but it does weaken them.”
“I am appalled,” he told the King David Hotel audience,”as a lawyer and a legal rights advocate, at the lack of justice done to the Jewish people…. How dare they [the Palestinian Authority] demand that all Jews leave Old Jerusalem and the rest of Judea and Samaria? The Jews have more rights there than anyone else!”
What does all of the above have to do with the situation on the ground today, several people at the AIJJ Conference asked. More than one speaker answered that those who wish to fight for a Jewish Jerusalem cannot do so effectively without knowing the facts and disseminating them. To take part in bus tours of critical parts of Jerusalem, or to receive updates on the battle to keep Yerushalayim, send an e-mail to email@example.com or visit the Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech website at www.keepjerusalem.org.
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 live in Beit El.