Editor’s Note: This installment of “Keeping Jerusalem” was written by Hillel Fendel. Chaim Silberstein, the usual co-author of the column, was a featured speaker at the International Jerusalem Alliance event.
An international non-Jewish pro-Israel organization has declared: The UN must “reject any resolutions and actions that would violate Israel’s legitimate sovereignty over all of Jerusalem.”
The reference, of course, is to the upcoming United Nations assemblage at which the Palestinian Authority is planning to request recognition as a bona-fide state in all of Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem.
In “honor” of the occasion, the Alliance for International Justice in Jerusalem convened in Basel, Switzerland earlier this month – precisely 114 years after the original First Zionist Congress was convened in the same building by Herzl. The message was the same: A call to the international community to recognize, grant and sustain national rights to the Jewish people in the Land of Israel.
As the UN General Assembly prepares to vote next week on a non-binding resolution to grant statehood in Eretz Yisrael to the Palestinians, the Alliance calls on the UN member states to “honor their solemn and irrevocable pledges as well as their legal obligations to the Jewish People established under the law of Nations.”
The conference was founded by Dr. Jacques Gauthier, a Christian Canadian lawyer who, after 20 years researching the legal status of Jerusalem, concluded: “Jerusalem belongs to the Jews, by international law.” His thesis, detailed in his work of 1,300 pages and 3,000 footnotes, is that the world community of nations granted the Jewish people irrevocable legal rights to Jerusalem via the formalization of the Balfour Declaration at the San Remo Conference. This was effected by the Supreme Council of Nations, the precursor to the League of Nations, as well as the League itself, and the United Nations.
Gauthier explained that by virtue of the legal principle of “la chose jug?e” (judged issue), all legal rights and claims recognized by the Supreme Council became irreversible and forever binding in a “sacred trust.”
Many Jews and Israelis also participated in the 2011 Basel Conference, and among the speakers was Chaim Silberstein, founder and president of Keep Jerusalem- Im Eshkachech (and in most cases the co-author of this column). His presentation included the grave scenario that would likely develop were a Palestinian state to be established in Judea and Samaria. He concentrated, however, on the severe implications of a divided Jerusalem.
Contrary to the popular misconception that the division of Jerusalem is a simple pre-condition for peace, Silberstein explained that “We must develop a new narrative, the truthful one, that says that dividing Jerusalem will inevitably bring about a terrible increase of hostilities and all-out war.”
He began by noting that the campaign to divide Jerusalem is being waged and led by Arab countries and others whose concern for long-term Israeli interests is non-existent. “The tremendous pressure they exert from various fronts has created a perceived ‘reality’ that dividing Jerusalem will bring peace,” he said, “when in fact, it will do exactly the opposite.”
He emphasized that the upcoming UN vote calls for the division of Yerushalayim almost neatly down the middle, reminiscent of the 1948-1967 situation when the Old City was off-limits to Jews and thousands of Jewish gravesites on the Mt. of Olives were desecrated by Jordanians and other Arabs. Silberstein listed the following among the expected ramifications of a divided Jerusalem: the strangulation of the Holy City; increased terrorism; the exodus of the Jewish population; no access to the Western Wall and other holy sites; lack of room to expand Jewish neighborhoods; and reduced tourism and severe economic damage.
Perhaps most significantly, he noted, dividing Jerusalem and giving key parts to an Arab sovereign state would mean the “continued realization of the Phased Plan as formulated by the Palestinian National Council in Cairo in 1974.” Article 4 of the declaration states that “Any step taken toward liberation” – i.e., any piece of the Land of Israel acquired by a PLO entity via whatever means – “is a step toward the realization of the [PLO]’s strategy of establishing the democratic Palestinian state [on the entire area] “
Articles 8 and 9 specify more clearly: “The Palestinian national authority will strive to achieve a union with the aim of completing the liberation of all Palestinian territory [and] will strive to strengthen its solidarity with the socialist countries, and with forces of liberation and progress throughout the world, with the aim of frustration all the schemes of Zionism.”
To counter this, the Alliance for International Justice in Jerusalem “re-affirms the inalienable historic and legal rights of the State of Israel and the Jewish people to a unified Jerusalem as their capital.”
And, to close the circle, “the Alliance acknowledges the tremendous contribution of Theodor Herzl, who outlined his vision for the restoration of a Jewish State at the first Zionist Congress held in this same hall in Basel on August 29, 30 and 31, 1897. This vision was realized on May 14, 1948.”
Bottom line: The 2011 Basel Conference calls upon the nations of the world as represented in the United Nations to “display wisdom and courage when making decisions that relate to Jerusalem.” These are not just empty words; if their courage fails them, or they do not find it at all, the ramifications for them themselves – and for Israel in particular – will be very dangerous indeed.
If you would like to have your say, go to www.keepjerusalem.org and sign the Jerusalem Covenant to reaffirm your commitment to a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty.
Hillel Fendel, past senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7, continues to write and edit.He resides in Beit El.