Latest update: March 7th, 2013
And despite all the talk of guaranteeing freedom of worship to all, when Jordan controlled Jerusalem from 1949-1967 Jewish rights of access to holy sites there were brutally denied. Baker notes that 55 synagogues and yeshivot in the Jewish Quarter were either destroyed or desecrated by Jordanian forces; it is also known that thousands of gravestones in Jewish cemeteries were turned into latrine walkways and worse.
Baker makes an important point: “Despite this blatant violation by Jordan of its international commitments pursuant to the 1949 Armistice Agreement, between 1952 and 1967 the U.N. did not consider the question of the status of Jerusalem and Jordan’s violations as being worthy of being placed on its agenda.”
Can it possibly be conceived that if the situation today were reversed, it would not be a major subject of anti-Israel discussion in the U.N.?
In any event, when Israel liberated Jerusalem and other biblical areas in the Six-Day War of 1967, Foreign Minister Abba Eban told the UN, “For twenty years there has not been free access by men of all faiths to the shrines which they hold in unique reverence. This access now exists. Israel is resolved to give effective expression, in cooperation with the world’s great religions, to the immunity and sanctity of all the Holy Places.”
Given the wide gaps in the respective Jewish and Arab positions regarding Jerusalem, there can be only two alternatives: Either Israel weakens and allows its position to be whittled down – or the Jewish people stands strong in its love for its eternal holy city so that it will remain united under Israeli sovereignty. It is up to us.
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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