Christmas came early for Israel’s enemies this holiday season. On December 1 a draft statement from the European Union calling for the immediate restart of negotiations leading to a “viable state of Palestine … with East Jerusalem as its capital” made worldwide news.
This is very curious because, after all, “East Jerusalem” does not actually exist. At least not yet. Let’s remember that East Jerusalem is what the Bible means when it refers to Jerusalem itself.
Words and names have meaning. Especially in the Middle East. The European Union obviously chose to use the words of Israel’s enemies deliberately.
So just what is “East Jerusalem” and why is adding the word “East” to describe part of Judaism’s holiest city and Israel’s capital of any serious magnitude?
East and West in Israel are not the simple geographic terms they are in the U.S. Northeast Philadelphia, the Upper East Side in Manhattan and East L.A. are used to denote neighborhoods and sections of a city. In Israel, where Judea and Samaria have been labeled the West Bank, things are different.
The term West Bank is used to de-emphasize the area’s inherent Jewishness and to disassociate the land from the State of Israel. The same is true with the term East Jerusalem.
What is East Jerusalem? In the Christian Bible, every instance where a specific location in Jerusalem is mentioned it refers to an area the EU would like to see given to the Palestinians. The term East Jerusalem cannot be found in a Christian Bible. And that is because East Jerusalem is about as real as Santa Claus.
The expression “the Lights of Chanukah” refers to the menorah in the ancient holy Temple in Jerusalem. The EU sees the Temple Mount (the site of the Temple in biblical times) as part of this mythical East Jerusalem in its unholy Palestinian state. There is no East Jerusalem in Judaism.
According to Wikipedia, “East Jerusalem refers to the part of Jerusalem captured by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and subsequently by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. It includes Jerusalem’s Old City and some of the holiest sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, such as the Temple Mount, Western Wall, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.”
So East Jerusalem is Jerusalem’s Old City and its surrounding neighborhoods. The original and oldest parts of Jerusalem are in this East Jerusalem. There has never been an independent municipal entity known as East Jerusalem. (For the record, there has never been an independent national entity known as Palestine. But that’s another story.)
When anti-Israel partisans use the term East Jerusalem, it is to rip Israel’s capital apart as part of their long-term quest to defeat Israel. This effort tragically gained full force with the Oslo Accords, as was explained in the B’tzedek Online Journal on December 30, 1996 in an editorial titled “The War Has Just Begun”:
“The Oslo Accords are indeed the fulfillment of the PLO ‘salami’ strategy. That is to say, Israel shall be destroyed not through overt military action of Arab nations, but through the whittling away of Israeli resolve and slow but determined territorial expansion of a Palestinian state. Slice by slice Israel will be carved away by the knife of terrorism and world opinion, both deftly handled by the Israeli-created Palestinian entity.”
The very name Jerusalem means city of peace, city of completeness and city of perfection. This was something Bible-believing Americans in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were taught. A Jerusalem that is not complete is just not Jerusalem.
The United States can do much to confront the EU on Jerusalem. The late senator Jesse Helms wrote in 1996 that “Israel is the only nation in the world denied the right to choose its own capital. This second class citizenship among nations must end.”
Now is the time for friends of Israel to apply more pressure on the Obama administration to move America’s Embassy. The U.S. government has failed to relocate the American Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv for more than ten years.
The Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed by Congress on October 23, 1995; the law stipulates that “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel” and declares that “the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.”