Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Israel did “enjoy” one aspect of the failed PA proposal: Hamas and Fatah could not seem to agree on its exact wording or goals. Leading Hamas member Ezzat al-Resheq Facebooked his criticism of Fatah for attempting to pass a resolution that was “against the national consensus” and “non-binding for the Palestinian people.” He accused Fatah, led by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, of “hijacking fateful decisions belonging to all Palestinians.”

Hamas does not like the fact that Fatah appears – even if only for external consumption – to be settling for Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem for its planned Palestinian Arab state. Hamas insists that the new entity be established not alongside Israel, but in place of Israel.


An attempt by Fatah to amend the resolution did not mollify Hamas – but should serve as a warning to Israel as to the direction in which the PA is headed. The new draft resolution was to stipulate “East Jerusalem” as the capital of a future Palestinian state; that all Israeli “settlements” built after 1967 would be considered illegal; Israeli construction in the post-’67 borders must stop; and more. Experience has shown us, of course, that giving away Israeli land does not bring peace but rather the opposite.

But even just to deem some of Jerusalem’s largest and most thriving neighborhoods and districts “illegal” seems beyond rational understanding. Perhaps the UN could also, with a show of hands, deem “illegal” the Upper West Side of Manhattan?

It might seem incredible to residents of and visitors to Yerushalayim that important Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Gilo, Pisgat Ze’ev, and even Ramat Eshkol might be categorized as “illegal settlements.” Though close to a quarter of a million Jews live in these areas, the Palestinian Authority still considers them fair game, and demands their demolition.

Most of these neighborhoods were built and populated after Israel liberated them from largely unrecognized Jordanian control in the Six-Day War of 1967. Many, such as Gilo, Talpiyot, Pisgat Ze’ev, and Ramat Shlomo are built on the remains of ancient Jewish settlements, or have signs of Jewish life from the Holy Temple periods or later. And N’vei Yaakov was a full-fledged Jewish community beginning in 1924 when it was built on a plot of land purchased by members of the American Mizrachi movement. Only the 1948 war and the loss of the area to the Jordanians led to its demise – until it was rebuilt once again after the Six-Day War. If it was internationally- recognized Jewish land in 1924 (see League of Nation’s British Mandate for Palestine), how can it be illegal to rebuild there today?

The bottom line of all the above? The legitimacy of Jerusalem as the Jewish people’s 3,000-year-old capital is still not accepted by countries whose capitals are perhaps 1 or 2 percent of Jerusalem’s age. Though we are a “nation that dwells alone,” as Deuteronomy says, the other nations still insist on having their say on how and where we dwell – and we must be on our constant guard.


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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 is the former senior editor of Arutz-7. For bus tours of the capital, to take part in Jerusalem advocacy efforts or to keep abreast of KeepJerusalem's activities, e-mail [email protected].