The Conspiracy

Jerusalem (and some Minor Reasons Why Palestinian Independence will not End the Conflict)


Not Actual Photo

This September, the Palestinian Authority will attempt to gain recognition as an independent state via a vote in the United Nations’ General Assembly. It is taking a a page out of the playbook of the Zionist movement and the leadership of what would become Israel. This time, the Arabs will support a resolution that partitions the land into two states. In a lot of ways, it is a big vindication of the Zionist Movement and the State of Israel. After 63 years, the two state solution wins.

That does not resolve the conflict though. Even if Israel under Benjamin Netanyahu stops fighting this political move by Mahmoud Abbas and his Prime Minister, Israel will not withdraw from all of the West Bank – and especially not Jerusalem.

There are a plethora (awesome academic term) of political questions about the past, present and future of the city. Will it be divided along the 1949 armistice lines? Why did the European Union pass a policy resolution last year demanding East Jerusalem be the capital of a Palestinian state, but its members refuse to recognize even just West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? Would Israel and Palestine share control (and government) over certain areas; that is to say, the Temple Mount?

And the last question is why we are far from seeing Israel and Palestine enter into a peace treaty. The negotiating teams have failed to discuss the issue with seriousness. Either 1) one side refuses to talk about it – as it seems Tzipi Livni refused to do (in a meeting with former Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat; check out the Palestine Papers released a couple months back by Al-Jazeera), or 2) the proposals simply do not reflect the complicated and unique reality that two sets of religious law have to be analyzed in order to find an elaborate way for Jews and Muslims to share the spot.

How to Negotiate over the Temple Mount

Despite what we think we know about Judaism and Islam, neither religion has a simple outlook on the location. But it is safe to say that the spot is much more significant to Jews than it is to Muslims. A former big shot in the Israeli security services recommended some months ago that the Temple Mount be the center of the negotiations unless we want to see this whole thing drag out any longer (or explode into another Israeli-Palestinian war).

What needs to be considered is that for two groups the Temple Mount is vital, crucial and indispensable: 1) those Jews who interpret Jewish law as obliging us to not let non-Jews control the Temple Mount, or requiring us to build the Temple ourselves and 2) those Muslims who maintain the sanctity of the current buildings on the Mount.

Well, how indispensable is not clear. The reality is that Jews and Muslims see the whole location as holy, but for very different reasons. FEW PEOPLE REALIZE that Jews and Muslims do not agree on which part of the Temple Mount complex is the central, holiest spot.

While there is no dispute the entire area has deep, legal and/or traditional significance to both religions, the Jewish focus remains on the spot that housed the Holy of Holies, roughly where the Dome of the Rock stands today. The Al-Aqsa mosque on the other hand maintains sanctity as a mosque, something disputed regarding the Dome (some Muslims say the entire Temple Mount plaza is considered a mosque) .

I am not implying coming up with something would be easy – it will be creative – but I am pointing out that what we think is set in stone and impossible to resolve isn’t necessarily so.

The Conflict Once Was National and is Now Religious

One of the mistakes which the above-mentioned security dude alludes to is thinking we can leave religious groups out of the negotiations of the conflict. This is also the view of Rabbi Michael Froman of the West Bank Settlement Tekoa. he is unique not just because he has met Muslim clergymen tied to Hamas and befriended them, but has even pledged he would stay in a Palestinian state if it were created. Aside from these absurdly interesting issues he brings up, his basic premise stands that Religious Zionist Jews and groups like Hamas have to consider their own interests just as important during negotiations.

I cannot pretend that all Religious Zionists or Islamists think this way – many of them see this as an all-or-nothing war or all-or-nothing political game. But I know Religious Zionists who would find what I am saying at least interesting. I doubt there are no Islamists who might think the same way. Having a political, empowering ideology for one’s religion does not preclude being pragmatic or even kind of liberal.

Personally, as an Orthodox Jew, my concerns are about the immediate future of the Temple Mount and Jews’ physical connection to it. The Western Wall is not the object of our affections and duties, but what lies behind it.

The painting above is featured on the website: godsholymountain.org. I do not know who the artist is. The painting does not reflect the my personal opinion of a physical vision for the Temple Mount, but might capture the spirit.

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8 Older Responses to “Jerusalem (and some Minor Reasons Why Palestinian Independence will not End the Conflict)”

  1. JB
    April 13, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    On a 2 state issue for Israel.
    Shall we then devide the USA in 2 and give mexico back Texas, California, and other States prviously occupied by Mexico. You really think that will happen. Then why on Gods green earth do people think that Israel has to devide it’s State, To a people no less, that never had any rights to the land in Israel. God will answer this problem. AND I GUARANTEE IT WON’T BE IN FAVOR OF 2 STATES

  2. Ben Sales
    April 13, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    JB,

    Here’s the difference: All of the formerly Mexican territories that are now part of the US were annexed to the US shortly after the war. So while their capture was unjust, all of the residents in those territories later became citizens of the US. By contrast, the West Bank is not, according to the Israeli government, part of Israel. Had Israel annexed the West Bank in 1967 and made all of its inhabitants citizens, then your analogy would stand. But that didn’t happen.

  3. pheldermaus
    April 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    the sad reality is that Israel is seeing the September move – an international recognition of a Palestinian state – as a threat. Why not embrace this moment and become the biggest supporters of Palestinian self determination?

    It’s even sadder that the US is playing along (against any of its known national interests) with Israel on this. It will be sad to see the majority of the world’s nations vote to recognize Palestine a member of the family of nations, while Israel and the US will be on the wrong side of history.

    regarding Jerusalem: anyone who’s been to the city knows that it is quite dysfunctional as is, with one ruler in charge. The thing about Jerusalem is that it became a big playground for religious and national fanatics who really do as they please there. Any sane person – Jewish or Palestinian – who had the option already left the city to its suburbs and beyond, so there is no logical, rational solution to this mess.

    this Conflict will never end, it seems, but I’ll be happy to be proved wrong.

    http://rottenjewishapple.blogspot.com/

  4. Real Apartheid
    April 14, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    The international community already recognized a state of Palestine in 1988, and rewarded the new state with billions in foreign aid.

    The Palestinians are doing the same thing today. Read the news pehldermaus. Fayyad, an unelected and unpopular Palestinian puppet who basically controls the West Bank, claims Palestine is prepared to be independent (even though half of it is ruled by a rivaling militant, terrorist regime) is going around the world begging for donations. 5 billion exactly.

    Anyone can declare independence. Look at Kosovo or South Sudan. But trying to undermine long-standing bilateral agreements by making unilateral, aggressive moves and bogus claims of independence does not foster peace. It promotes war.

    Of course Israel see’s this as a threat. So does Jordan and Egypt. Perhaps Euros and Americans don’t because they wouldn’t have to deal with the fallout of a sovereign Palestine.

    remember, any attacks originating from Palestine – a sovereign state presumed – would be a declaration of war and Israel, as the victim, could actively retaliate and if need be conquer whatever land necessary to ensure its security.

    So then we would be back to square one.

  5. pheldermaus
    April 14, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    @ Real Apartheid

    you wrote: “But trying to undermine long-standing bilateral agreements by making unilateral, aggressive moves and bogus claims of independence does not foster peace. It promotes war”.

    Do you mean unilateral actions as settlement building in west bank? nightly IDF raids into Palestinian villages? the Separation Wall (excuse me – ‘fence’) build mostly on Palestinian territory? these action will lead to war as they did in the past.

    How many people believed that Ben Gurion and the Jews in mandatory Palestine are ready to have their own state?

    Sadly I see no solution and no end to this conflict, and not just because of Palestinian actions. as a Jew who cares deeply about Israel, I’m concerned by Israel’s actions that currently lead nowhere.

    http://rottenjewishapple.blogspot.com/

  6. Real Apartheid
    April 14, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    “Do you mean unilateral actions as settlement building in west bank? nightly IDF raids into Palestinian villages? the Separation Wall (excuse me – ‘fence’) build mostly on Palestinian territory? these action will lead to war as they did in the past.”

    None of those are unilateral actions.

    The “separation wall” was built after 150 suicide bombings, killing nearly 500 Israelis and injuring thousands. And over 95% of it is FENCE, not wall – but I guess words like “wall” give a more extreme and emotional perspective.

    Clearly you do not care about the facts and seem incapable to respond to my post above without bringing up new issues. If it isn’t settlements, it’s Jerusalem. No wait, Tel Aviv. No, the blockade. No no, occupation of Lebanon. You know, Israel’s very existence.

    You can’t defend the Palestinians or their corruption, all you can do is moan about Israel. Just like the Muslim world.

  7. pheldermaus
    April 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    @ Real Apartheid

    Of course I am a self hating Jew as i do not agree with you. “Just like the Muslim world”!

    According to your logic there are no unilateral actions just because you can find a cause-and-affect. Unilateral actions usually mean actions that one side takes without the agreement or co-operation of the other side(s). Settlements, the Wall, raids, etc. are exactly that, even though they have prior events in history that caused them.

    If Israel does not want a Palestinian state, why play all those “we want peace but only if Palestinians do exactly as we say” games? If you believe that there shouldn’t be a Palestinian state, what does it mean regarding Israel’s never-ending occupation?

    I’m afraid (truly – I’m afraid) that Israel will either end up as Yugoslavia did, or South Africa did, or maybe a mix of both scenarios, with a middle eastern flair. I don’t see any vision or long term plan by Israeli leadership or even an attempt to tackle the tough issues. that is scary when you look ahead: 5, 10, 20 years.

    All we have now are slick lobbyist and lawyer-like answers to any complaint against Israel. nothing positive or pro-active.

    http://rottenjewishapple.blogspot.com/

  8. Real Apartheid
    April 14, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    “If Israel does not want a Palestinian state, why play all those “we want peace but only if Palestinians do exactly as we say” games? If you believe that there shouldn’t be a Palestinian state, what does it mean regarding Israel’s never-ending occupation?”

    Well, let’s go back to the facts, since you seem so interested in a Palestinian state.

    The Palestinian Authority is a failed, corrupt, and illegitimate government incapable of delivering basic resources to the population it controls. Phase 1 of the Road Map, preceding any settlement disputes – has yet to be honored.

    Phase 1 required:

    “An end to all incitement, dismantle all terrorist groups and their infrastructure, and produce a constitution.”

    It’s been EIGHT YEARS, the incitement continues in the media and in the schools. Soccer fields are named after terrorists. Hamas, a recognized terrorist group, was voted into office. And the Palestinian have yet to pass a constitution. The Palestinians have yet to be establish an independent judiciary. The Palestinian president (Abbas) is in his 7th year of office in spite of being elected to a 4 year term (similar to Arafat), there is no free press, and half of Palestine is ruled by a terrorist organization many times more powerful than the West Bank government.

    So, putting Israel aside – it is impossible to defend the Palestinians at this juncture. You cannot run a country by bashing another. The Palestinians wouldn’t survive 10 seconds without international welfare, even they admit this. Fayyad goes around the world begging for billions in further aid.

    This bid for statehood is just another scam. And the only people who will suffer of course will be the Palestinians. but I guess this is what you want. Another war, more activism, more whining about Israel. Would you care about the Pals if Israel didn’t exist? I don’t see you championing for Pals in Lebanon.

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