Reprinted from The Jerusalem Post of May 18, 2000

JERUSALEM NOW

By Uri Dan

Woe to the people who bring the test of strength to
its own capital. It raises the question whether we really deserve a state.

The Israeli War of Independence officially commenced on May 15, 1948, about six months after the Arabs started it when they rioted, pillaged, and burned the commercial center of Jerusalem.

On May 15, 2000 the Palestinians started their own War of Independence, scenting the smell of victory over the Jews and the State of Israel. On a background of violence and terror on the part of the Palestinians and with overt firing by their PA "policemen" on IDF soldiers, the Jewish government met and decided to withdraw within the walls of its capital city, to retreat from Abu Dis and Eizariya.

Fifteen ministers, by voting in favor of the decision, brought Arafat's war arsenal even closer to the heart of their capital. From Ramallah, Arafat himself gave the green light for the violence which culminated in death. On the same black day in Israel's short history, the Jewish government in Jerusalem gave the impression that it was fleeing under Palestinian fire. And this is only the beginning.

The positive side of Prime Minister Ehud Barak's step in handing over Abu Dis and Eizariya to the absolute control of Yasser Arafat is that the future and security of Jerusalem have now been put on the table. Whether or not he intended to do so, Barak has armed the explosive Jewish-Palestinian conflict with the ultimate detonator. For if there is one issue, for which not only many Arabs but also not a few Jews are prepared to give their lives, this is Jerusalem. Many of them have for some time conceded the settlements of the north, the Golan Heights, and the settlements of Judea and Samaria.

Since 1967, every time negotiations have begun between the Jews and the Arabs, and the question of Jerusalem has of course been raised, the Jews have avoided discussing the issue. Some of them, such as Levi Eshkol, Menachem Begin, Golda Meir and of course Yitzhak Shamir, were, justifiably, not prepared even to hear of negotiations about Jerusalem.

There were also some who tried to be clever, such as the late Yitzhak Rabin and of course, Shimon Peres, Yossi Beilin, and the apparatchiks of the Left who said that the question of Jerusalem would be discussed "at the end of the process." Or, in other words, after Israel has lost most of its territorial assets as a result of the Oslo accords "in order to advance the peace process," they would then discuss Jerusalem. They of course immediately added, with a pious expression, "Jerusalem was and will remain the undivided capital of Israel."

Barak has put the cart before the horse: Jerusalem now, in the middle of the process. THE PRIME minister's apologists are ridiculing the matter and declaring that this is a territorial concession totaling only "a few fractions of a percentage."

"Did our forefathers pray for Abu Dis and Eizariya?" they ask. These remarks probably result from ignorance or demagogy. I'd like to believe that Barak really knows what he is doing. He's bringing Arafat to the gates of Jerusalem and saying to him, as it were, 'now let's see if you agree to my demands regarding the framework agreement. Are you really prepared to be as flexible as I am? Will you prevent Jerusalem from being fired on from Abu Dis and Eizariya, or will your "policemen," when they arrive there, act in the same way as when they fired on our soldiers in Ramallah, with the Kalashnikovs we gave you?'

Even if I am mistaken and Barak does not intend to check this out, the handing over of Abu Dis and Eizariya is catalyzing the Jewish-Palestinian struggle for the heart of the capital of Israel.

In any case, woe to the people who bring the test of strength to its own capital. It raises the question whether we really deserve a state.

Every Jew in Israel and throughout the world will be able to view live the development of the Arab siege of the capital of Israel. They will be able to see how, in the next wave of rioting and violence, Fatah and Arafat's "policemen" will run wild, with a hail of shots, firebombs, and stones, launched not only from the Gaza Strip, Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah and Tulkarm. This wave, however, will be visible from their homes in Jerusalem: near Rehavia, Talbiyeh, Givat Ram, and of course near their homes in the Jewish Quarter, overlooking the Western Wall.

Perhaps Barak really believes that the advance payment, with nothing in return, that he gave to dictator Arafat when he advanced his "policemen" (soldiers) to the walls of Jerusalem, will satisfy Arafat's appetite so that he will be able to come to some kind of agreement with him.

However, reality and the facts have already proved him wrong. On the very same day on which he rushed to obtain the approval of his government and the Knesset for his concession in Jerusalem, the Palestinians rioted, under Arafat's orders, with wild firing.

Their War of Independence has entered a new phase, without the excuse of "Bibi's Tunnel," simply because Barak has given in to them. The results will be immediately more serious than those of 1948.

(c) Jerusalem Post 2000



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