Trump’s “eastern Jerusalem” and Biden’s “East Jerusalem”

As people concerned about the Israel-Arab conflict consider the US presidential elections, an important understanding of the two candidates can be found in their articulation of where a theoretical capital of a future Palestinian state would be located.

President Donald Trump announced the US road map to peace In January 2020 which included proposed contours for a two state-solution, the first such third-party proposal since the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. In regards to a Palestinian state, Trump said:

“The Palestinian people have grown distrustful after years of unfulfilled promises — so true — yet I know they are ready to escape their tragic past and realize a great destiny.  But we must break free of yesterday’s failed approaches.

This map will more than double the Palestinian territory and provide a Palestinian capital in eastern Jerusalem where America will proudly open an embassy.  (Applause.)  No Palestinians or Israelis will be uprooted from their homes.  (Applause.)”

The map highlighted areas within the eastern part of the city of Jerusalem which would become a “Palestinian capital.” The phrase “eastern Jerusalem” highlighted that the United States recognized not only that Jerusalem is a single city but that “East Jerusalem” has not existed for over fifty years; it had a brief turbulent life for nineteen years as an artifice of war in the 1948-1967 time period. Those dark years had barbed wire running through the heart of the city with the Jordanian Arabs controlling the eastern portion after they expelled all of the Jews. The Arabs would not let any Jew enter the Old City, even for prayer at Judaism holiest location.

Vice President Joe Biden sees Jerusalem quite differently as can be inferred by his recent comment in May 2020:

“I will reopen the US consulate in East Jerusalem, find a way to reopen the PLO’s diplomatic mission in Washington, and resume the decades-long economic and security assistance efforts to the Palestinians that the Trump Administration stopped.”

Biden referred to “East Jerusalem” as a proper noun as if such city exists and had any legitimacy. He spoke about it as if the United Nations had proposed splitting Jerusalem in 1947 and giving “East Jerusalem” to Palestinian Arabs. He conjured a world in which Israel hadn’t already divided the UN’s “Corpus Separatum” giving the Palestinian Authority the city of Bethlehem in 1996 while it held Jerusalem.

Biden spoke of pure fantasy. He might as well as have mentioned his Obama Administration’s permitting UN Security Council Resolution 2334 to pass which advanced a time-altering, human rights-scoffing principle that Jews living in their holiest city is illegal and an occupation of Palestinian territory.

Vice President Joe Biden addressing AIPAC in a pre-recorded message March 2020

Names highlight a particular narrative, and President Trump’s “eastern Jerusalem” and former Vice President Biden’s “East Jerusalem” underscore how each party understands the nature of the city. One party will deal with the Israel-Arab conflict on the basis of reality and the other in the construct of harmful fiction.


Related First One Through articles:

The Subtle Discoloration of History: Shuafat

“Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”

Abbas’s Harmful East Jerusalem Fantasy

“East Jerusalem” – the 0.5% Molehill

Ramat Shlomo, Jerusalem and Joe Biden

Jizyah for Jews in Jerusalem

The Remarkable Tel Jerusalem

The Jews of Jerusalem In Situ

Western Jerusalem’s U.S. Consulate and Embassy

I call BS: You Never Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

The New York Times Inverts the History of Jerusalem

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

Arabs in Jerusalem

Related First One Through video:

I Hate Israel – East Jerusalem

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Ramat Shlomo, Jerusalem and Joe Biden

In March 2010, Vice President Joe Biden visited Israel with the hope of pushing the Palestinians and Israelis towards a peace agreement. A 10-month settlement freeze which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in November 2009 was just drawing to an end with no engagement by the Palestinian Authority over the duration, but Biden was trying to move the parties forward.

Not long after he arrived, Israel announced the advancement of 1,600 homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo which is located north of the 1949 Armistice Lines. In response, Biden scolded Israel, sayingI condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem.” The statement using “condemn” was shocking, as it is normally only used regarding terrorism. Netanyahu’s 10-month freeze also never included any construction in any part of Jerusalem, so the Israeli activity was not surprising.

Further, it is important to understand Ramat Shlomo.

Ramat Shlomo, Jerusalem

Ramat Shlomo is not a vacant plot of land, it is not privately owned by Arabs and it is not located in the middle of Judea and Samara / the West Bank. It is an established Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem.

  • This “East Jerusalem” neighborhood is located northWEST of Hebrew University which was built in 1925.
  • It is located southWEST of Pisgat Ze’ev, the second largest neighborhood in Jerusalem and just next to Ramat Alon, the largest neighborhood
  • it is located northWEST of the Jewish Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest location
  • It is located just on the other side of Highway 1 from Mobileye, a company which Intel bought for over $15 billion

The population in Ramat Shlomo is mostly ultra-Orthodox, and include Chabad and Litvish communities. The neighborhood has a median age among the youngest in Jerusalem and highest birth rates. Yet from 2006 to 2017, the population of Ramat Shlomo was flat at around 14,700 people. The lack of new homes and flat population growth despite the high birth rates meant that families actually had to leave their neighborhood. The Jerusalem Institute noted “The highest negative migration balance in relation to the size of the neighborhood’s population was recorded in Ramat Shlomo.

Things finally turned around in 2018 with 500 new apartments commencing construction, the most in Jerusalem according to the Jerusalem Institute. The neighborhood also had the largest voter turnout for municipal elections in 2018, with 83% of eligible voters, indicating a highly engaged populace.


As the U.S. presidential election season moves into high gear, people will consider Biden’s relationship with Israel and the 2010 Ramat Shlomo incident will surely be discussed. It is therefore worth reviewing how Biden’s highly critical comments slowed the natural growth of that residential Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem for many years until just recently.


Related First One Through articles:

Time to Define Banning Jews From Living Somewhere as Antisemitic

Joe Biden Stabs a Finger at Israel

“Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”

The New York Times All Out Assault on Jewish Jerusalem

The Jews of Jerusalem In Situ

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

Arabs in Jerusalem

The Arguments over Jerusalem

The Subtle Discoloration of History: Shuafat

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Is Columbia University Promoting Violence Against Israel and Jews?

Columbia University has claimed to be a champion of free speech. It was in that spirit that it invited the noted anti-Semite Malaysian Prime Minster Mahathir Mohamad to speak on campus in September 2019. Mohamad has called Jews “hook-nosed,” said they “rule the world by proxy” and questioned the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust. He has even said he is “glad to be labeled anti-Semitic.”

That same week, seemingly to make the Jewish students on campus feel particularly unwelcome, one of Columbia’s professors, Lis Harris, released her book “In Jerusalem.” The student-run Columbia Spectator magazine reviewed the book in its Winter 2019-20 edition.

The review was shocking in seemingly endorsing the author’s contentions that Israel is an oppressor of Palestinians without adding any facts or context.

The article is set up to inform the reader that the book will have a natural “pro-Israel” tenor, as the author Lis Harris “grew up in a secular Jewish family in the United States fully alert, she says, ‘to the wrongs done to the beleaguered Jews across the ocean,’ but with little sense of the ‘wrongs done to the Palestinian people.’” Ah, if someone with a pro-Israel bias can see how terrible Israel is, it certainly must be true. The birth of a woke anti-Zionist is a cause for a progressive party.

Facts in the review and/or the book were seemingly few in the offering.

We are told that the book tries to look at the conflict through the lens of two families, a Jewish one living in “West Jerusalem” and a Palestinian one “living across the border wall in East Jerusalem.” This is fiction. There is no “border wall” between “West Jerusalem” and “East Jerusalem.” In 1967, Israel tore down the fence that divided the Jerusalem after Jordan illegally attacked Israel, and reunited the holy city. There is no West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem, and the fence which had existed from 1949 to 1967 was explicitly declared to NOT be a border by Israel and Jordan in their Armistice agreement. The “security barrier” which Israel began to erect in 2002 to stop the terrorism of Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank is to the east of unified Jerusalem.

Perhaps the facts make the author’s shuttle diplomacy seem less daring, but it’s a sad intro for a writer “who spent more than ten years gathering research and interviews for the book.” The book established zero credibility from the outset.

The review then moves from the gross inaccuracies to ignoring Jewish history and blessing Arab terrorists.

We are informed that the stories in the book are told by “accomplished women” and intelligent and respected family members who “want peace and a fair solution to the conflict.” The Jewish woman’s aunt escaped Nazi Germany who found asylum in Mandatory Palestine “as a refuge from violence.” There is no mention that Mandatory Palestine was designed to REESTABLISH the Jewish homeland years before Nazis came to power. Jews were not dumped into Mandatory Palestine in a reaction to the Holocaust; the land of Israel has been the Jewish homeland for 3,700 years. Modern Zionism pushed for Jewish sovereignty in that land decades before the State of Israel came into being. That’s why Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority since the 1860’s, all facts not covered in the review and presumably not in the book.

This Jewish aunt “is juxtaposed with the experience of Niveen’s [the Arab’s] aunt. At twenty-one, Rasema Odeh was accused of terrorism, illegally tortured, and served ten years at the Ramla prison… Rasmea’s story is shocking, but the chapter devoted to it is one of the book’s best.” The review made it sound like Odeh was a poor victim, unjustly “accused of terrorism.” It neglected to state that she was convicted of terrorism in which she placed a bomb at a supermarket killing two civilians (her accomplices openly admitted such on Palestinian TV). It failed to state that Odeh lied about the events in getting a visa into the United States in 1994 and was stripped of her citizenship in 2017 and deported. It failed to note that many countries – including Germany in 2019 – banned her from speaking in public and denied her a visa as she calls violence against Israel. The mayor of Berlin said about Odeh that “anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic resentments, wrapped up in liberation rhetoric, have no business here. I am glad that we have found a way to stop this propaganda.

This “juxtaposition” of a Holocaust survivor finding refuge at the expense of Palestinian Arabs seems to take a page out of the book of pathological liar U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) who claimed she found comfort that her ancestors created a safe haven for Jews when they actually did everything they could to kill the Jews and/or keep them out of Palestine. It is called Seeing the Holocaust Through Nakba Eyes, which turns the Jews from victims to oppressors, and the Palestinians from participants in the Holocaust to victims themselves.

The article continues with more inanity such as “Harris is clear-sighted and firm in her own view that the Israeli government is more oppressor than victim. She does not condemn the Palestinian people fighting to live in their occupied home of East Jerusalem (but neither will she excuse the violence of Hamas).”  No commentary that the Arab population in the eastern part of Jerusalem has grown FOUR TIMES since 1967, a rate that surpasses the population growth of Arabs in any neighboring country. It also neglects to mention that Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem have the option of becoming Israeli citizens and thousands have opted to do so. Palestinians aren’t “fighting to live;” they are fighting to evict the Jews and destroy the Jewish State.

The Spectator adds that “Harris was able to comment on President Trump’s rash recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” Rash? Was President Truman’s recognition of Israel in 1948 also rash? The snide comment didn’t even attempt to hide the reviewer’s bias.

In summation, the review states that “through the people she comes to know in Israel and Palestine, Lis Harris sees hope, and this brave new book ultimately helps us see it too.” Palestine? The United States recognizes no such country. And to the extent that it recognizes “Palestinian Territories,” those are limited to Gaza and Areas A and B, and certainly not “in Jerusalem.”


Columbia University has chapters of anti-Israel hate groups like Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace as student-run groups on campus. Their voices seem to have penetrated not only the student-run paper and magazine but the University itself which includes a faculty with anti-Israel authors and promoters of boycotts of Israel, and enabled the invitation of proud anti-Semites like the Prime Minister of Malaysia onto its campus. Beyond the student agitators, maybe the university’s anti-Israel platform was purchased by foreign donors like Saudi Arabia who pumped more than $193 million into Columbia between 2011 and 2017.

In October 2019, a report entitled “A Hotbed for Hate” produced by the Alumni for Campus Fairness listed over 100 anti-Jewish incidents at Columbia and Barnard since the 2016/7 academic year. In addition to the on-campus activities like a swastika painted on a Jewish professor’s office, the report listed numerous faculty members who deny the history of Jews as well as peddle forms of Holocaust denial.

At the very moment when antisemitism is on the rise, the murder of Jews is becoming commonplace and the demonization of Israel is accepted, it is a travesty that New York City’s only Ivy League school gives credibility, honor and an open mic to such vile sentiments.


Related First.One.through articles:

Arabs in Jerusalem

The Jews of Jerusalem In Situ

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

The War Against Israel and Jewish Civilians

Students for Justice in Palestine’s Dick Pics

A Response to Rashid Khalidi’s Distortions on the Balfour Declaration

The New York Times All Out Assault on Jewish Jerusalem

The Remarkable Tel Jerusalem

Both Israel and Jerusalem are Beyond Recognition for Muslim Nations

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

Today’s Inverted Chanukah: The Holiday of Rights in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria

The Arguments over Jerusalem

“East Jerusalem” – the 0.5% Molehill

Jerusalem, and a review of the sad state of divided capitals in the world

When You Understand Israel’s May 1948 Borders, You Understand There is No “Occupation”

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Judea and Samaria (music by Foo Fighters)

The Anthem of Israel is JERUSALEM

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“Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”

The United Nations once again displayed its opposition to the Jewish State and to facts.

On November 11, 2019, the UN General Assembly held a vote on an agenda item by the “Special Political and Decolonization Committee” regarding Israel. It referred to the “State of Palestine” as one of the drafters of the resolution, a curious oddity, as the UNGA only granted the “State of Palestine” observer status in 2012, and not one of an official state to submit resolutions.

The item, “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” referred to East Jerusalem as an actual entity and one that is occupied by Israel, twenty times. It was a peculiarity twice over, as “East Jerusalem” existed only for a brief moment in time as a matter of war between 1949 and 1967, and that the entirety of Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem was NEVER designated to be Palestinian territory.

Corpus Separatum

The United Nations voted to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish States in Resolution 181 (11/29/1947) and called for it again in Resolution 194 (12/11/1948). Those two-state resolutions specifically called for separating Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem into an internationally-run “corpus separatum,” a distinct entity.

Annex B of UN 1947 Peace Plan showing Corpus Separatum,
of Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem

Although the Jews voted in favor of the resolutions, the Arabs rejected them and launched a war to destroy the Jewish state. At the war’s end, Israel controlled the western part of Greater Jerusalem and Mount Scopus while the Arabs controlled everything else including the eastern part of Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem which contained all of the sites holy to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Corpus Separatum (orange line) divided into
Jordanian area in white and Israeli area in blue

After the war, on December 9, 1949, the UNGA passed Resolution 303 which once again stated “that Jerusalem should be placed under a permanent international regime, which should envisage appropriate guarantees for the protection of the Holy Places.” The Arabs rejected this resolution also, and Jordan annexed almost the entirety of Corpus Separatum (see map above) and forbade Jews from having any access to their holy sites in “East Jerusalem.” That situation remained until the Jordanians (and Palestinians who were granted Jordanian citizenship) attacked Israel again in June 1967 and lost control of their illegally seized lands.

“East Jerusalem” represents a policy which the United Nations specifically rejected for decades: an Arab-controlled city which forbade Jews from living in the city and visiting and praying at their holy places. The United Nations calling “East Jerusalem” an “Occupied Palestinian Territory” is both a rejection of history and embrace of an anti-Semitic credo.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Israel was never a British Colony; Judea and Samaria are not Israeli Colonies

Time to Define Banning Jews From Living Somewhere as Antisemitic

The Hypocrisy Between An Embassy for Israel in Jerusalem and East Jerusalem, OPT

The United Nations’ Adoption of Palestinians, Enables It to Only Find Fault With Israel

Palestineism is Toxic Racism

When You Understand Israel’s May 1948 Borders, You Understand There is No “Occupation”

The United Nations Bias Between Jews and Palestinians Regarding Property Rights

A Response to Rashid Khalidi’s Distortions on the Balfour Declaration

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The Green Line (music by The Kinks)

The Anthem of Israel is JERUSALEM

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The Hypocrisy Between An Embassy for Israel in Jerusalem and East Jerusalem, OPT

There are so many examples of the bias at the United Nations in favor of Palestinian Arabs over Israel, that the obvious ones are sometimes overlooked.

Consider the situation of Jerusalem, a holy city for three religions which has had a Jewish majority since the 1860’s.

In trying to find a solution for the hotly contested city, the UN General Assembly voted on November 29, 1947 to place Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem into a distinct corpus separatum which would neither be part of a Jewish State of Israel nor an Arab State of Palestine. The nations at the UN voted 33 in favor, 13 against and 10 abstentions. (The 13 countries that voted against the partition were mostly the Arab and Muslim countries of Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen.) The proposal would never come to pass, as the “corpus separatum” was divided after Israel’s War of Independence with Israel controlling the western half of Jerusalem and the Jordanians controlling all of Greater Bethlehem and the eastern portion of Jerusalem.

Israel declared Jerusalem as its capital city and located its federal government buildings there, but virtually no countries recognized Israel’s assumption of the western part of the city, nor the Jordanian occupation of the eastern part of the city. That was the situation from 1949 to 1967, and continued to be true after the Jordanians attacked Israel again in June 1967 and lost its portion of corpus separatum and the rest of the West Bank.

For decades, countries have continued to withhold their recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, much as they had since Israel founding.


Israeli flag waving in front of the Western Wall of the Jewish Temple Mount
(photo: First.One.Through)

That changed recently.

In December 2017, the United States decided to acknowledge the fact that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem, to the chagrin of many other countries. A few weeks later, the UN voted to condemn the United States’ relocation of its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem by a vote of 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions. Many of the 128 countries voiced opinions that Jerusalem is a final status issue to be resolved between the Israelis and Palestinian Authority. Any recognition that either the Israelis or Palestinian Arabs has a superior claim to areas of corpus separatum was to be avoided.

Yet, with no sense of embarrassment or question of hypocrisy, many of those same nations which voted to admonish the US, chose to vote at the UN on November 16, 2018 on several resolutions which referred to East Jerusalem as “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

  • Draft resolution “Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories” (document A/C.4/73/L.19) passed by a vote of 154 to 5 with 8 abstentions.
  • The draft resolution titled “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan” (document A/C.4/73/L.20) passed by a recorded 153 votes in favour to 5 against with 10 abstentions.
  • The draft resolution “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” (document A/C.4/73/L.21) passed by 153 to 6 with 9 abstentions.

If countries want to be consistent in their treatment of Jerusalem and desire for peace, they have a choice: either recognize Israel’s claim to the western part of the city and move their embassies to the western part of Jerusalem just like the United States, OR refuse to call “East Jerusalem” part of “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

Any country refusing to move its embassy for Israel to Jerusalem while simultaneously calling the eastern part of Jerusalem part of “Occupied Palestinian Territory” is spitting in the face of Israel and rejecting participating in the peace process.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Abbas’s Harmful East Jerusalem Fantasy

Western Jerusalem’s U.S. Consulate and Embassy

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

I call BS: You Never Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Both Israel and Jerusalem are Beyond Recognition for Muslim Nations

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

Arabs in Jerusalem

The Arguments over Jerusalem

The United Nations’ Adoption of Palestinians, Enables It to Only Find Fault With Israel

Maybe Truman Should Not Have Recognized Israel

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

The UN’s Disinterest in Jewish Rights at Jewish Holy Places

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Abbas’s Harmful East Jerusalem Fantasy

The acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas spoke to the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2018. The first words from his mouth were “Jerusalem is not for sale.” If only he understood the real truth in those words – Israel is not going to sell Jerusalem.

But, alas, Abbas thinks that the Palestinian Authority is the owner of Jerusalem, the PA controls it and will not compromise on its status.

Even more, Abbas ruled out any peace agreement without Jerusalem. At 18:04 of his speech, Abbas said “Peace in our region cannot be realized without an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, with all its holy sites…. East Jerusalem, which has been occupied since 1967 is our capital. There is no peace otherwise.

Abbas has long refused to acknowledge many truths. He imagines that Israel is a racist state which practices apartheid, even while it is the most open and liberal society for thousands of miles in any direction. Abbas pretends that he does not support terrorism, even while he sends terrorists’ families money and names schools and government properties after murderers.

Those lies lead Abbas to despise Israel and foment more violence and bloodshed. But, at least theoretically, he could advance peace and coexistence with such vile beliefs. However, his lies about Jerusalem are particularly harmful to the region, as he ties his fantasy to the ability to move forward to live in peace with Israel.

Jerusalem was never the capital of a Palestinian state nor intended to be a capital of an Arab state in any peace formulation. Ever.

When the United Nations voted on a partition plan for a Jewish State of Israel and Arab State of Palestine in 1947, it clearly marked a corpus separatum, a distinct international entity to hold Greater Bethlehem and Greater Jerusalem.

Annex B to resolution 181 (II) of the General Assembly,
dated 29 November 1947 for Greater Bethlehem and Greater Jerusalem

The Arab countries rejected the UN proposal and by May 1948 launched an attack on the new State of Israel. At war’s end, Jordan illegally seized control of three-quarters of the corpus separatum including all of Greater Bethlehem and the eastern half of Jerusalem, in a move that the world did not recognize. Israel took control of the western half of Greater Jerusalem and made it its capital. Jordan expelled all of the Jews from the area it seized and granted all non-Jews Jordanian citizenship in an outrageous antisemitic act in 1954.

The Jordanians gave Jordanian citizenship to the Palestinians in the newly named “West Bank” and “East Jerusalem.” They would make no attempt to give them independence or sovereignty throughout their period of illegal control until 1967.

In 1967, Jordan (and the Palestinians who had Jordanian citizenship) attacked Israel again and subsequently lost all of the “West Bank” and Greater Bethlehem and eastern Jerusalem. Israel took control of the area, and expanded the borders of Jerusalem in 1980, declaringJerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.

As a sign of good faith during the Oslo Accords, Israel handed the Palestinian Authority a core part of corpus separatum, Bethlehem. With Israel, the PA and its peace sponsors all supporting the move, the concept of corpus separatum ended.

Abbas remains undeterred by facts. Before 1948 Jerusalem was to be an international city; from 1949 to 1967 the Jordanians controlled the city and made no efforts to give it to Palestinians; and from 1967 the entirety of the city has been the capital of Israel.

While Israel has permitted the Jordanian Waqf to have administrative responsibilities for Muslim holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem (and no King Abdullah, Jordan has NO responsibility for Christian sites), the ownership, control and sovereignty of the city is Israel’s.

Jerusalem has never been a Palestinian capital, was never intended to be a Palestinian capital and is not a Palestinian city to even contemplate in a “sale.”


Related First.One.Through articles:

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

The Arguments over Jerusalem

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

Arabs in Jerusalem

I call BS: You Never Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Recognition of Acquiring Disputed Land in a Defensive War

Here in United Jerusalem’s Jubilee Year

The Invisible Flag in Judo and Jerusalem

The New York Times Inverts the History of Jerusalem

Today’s Inverted Chanukah: The Holiday of Rights in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria

The Battle for Jerusalem

“East Jerusalem” – the 0.5% Molehill

Jerusalem, and a review of the sad state of divided capitals in the world

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The Anthem of Israel is JERUSALEM

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The 1967 “Borders” (The Kinks)

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“Ethnic Cleansing” in Israel and the Israeli Territories

The term “ethnic cleansing” has been used often in the Arab-Israeli conflict.  The reactions to the comment are in inverse relation to the truth.

Palestinians Claim
of Israeli “Ethnic Cleansing”

In 2012, the acting-President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, stood at the United Nations and claimed that Israel was engaged in “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinian Arabs.  At first, he spoke about “ethnic cleansing” when Israel declared independence:

“The Palestinian people, who miraculously recovered from the ashes of Al-Nakba of 1948, which was intended to extinguish their being and to expel them in order to uproot and erase their presence, which was rooted in the depths of their land and depths of history. In those dark days, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were torn from their homes and displaced within and outside of their homeland, thrown from their beautiful, embracing, prosperous country to refugee camps in one of the most dreadful campaigns of ethnic cleansing and dispossession in modern history.”

Abbas neglected to say that the Palestinian Arabs left their homes while their fellow Arabs launched an attack on the nascent Jewish State to destroy it completely.  The Arabs failed in their genocidal quest.  Yet for its part, Israel granted all of the Arabs living in its territory full citizenship.  A complete inversion of his claim that Israel “intended to extinguish their [Arab] being and to expel them in order to uproot and erase their presence.”

Abbas continued to claim that Israel was engaged in “ethnic cleansing” to this day:

“We have not heard one word from any Israeli official expressing any sincere concern to save the peace process. On the contrary, our people have witnessed, and continue to witness, an unprecedented intensification of military assaults, the blockade, settlement activities and ethnic cleansing, particularly in Occupied East Jerusalem, and mass arrests, attacks by settlers and other practices by which this Israeli occupation is becoming synonymous with an apartheid system of colonial occupation, which institutionalizes the plague of racism and entrenches hatred and incitement.”

Abbas conveniently neglected to mention the hundreds of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel throughout 2012. He also neglected to mention that Israel left Gaza in 2005, allowing the Palestinian Arabs to rule themselves for the first time in hundreds of years.

No matter.  The people at the United Nations gave Abbas a standing ovation.

abbas-at-un
Acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas
addressing the United Nations in 2012

United Nations Claim
of Israeli “Ethnic Cleansing”

In 2014, the “Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories” (yes, that’s an actual title) whose job it is to report on Israelis, declared that Israel was committing “ethnic cleansing” in East Jerusalem.

“The continued pattern of settlement expansion in East Jerusalem combined with forcible eviction of long residing Palestinians are creating an intolerable situation that can only be described, in its cumulative impact, as a form of ethnic cleansing.

The facts are the exact opposite: the Arabs in Jerusalem are growing faster than the non-Arab population.

As detailed in “Arabs in Jerusalem,” the Arab population in Jerusalem now stands at 36% of the city, up from 26% when the city was reunited in 1967.  From 1967 to 2011, the Arab population in the city grew by 5.7 times, while the Jewish population in the Israeli capital only grew by 3.4 times over the same period.

No matter the facts. “The Special Rappoteur “called on the Council to undertake efforts to have the UN’s top court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), assess allegations that the prolonged occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem possess elements of “colonialism,” “apartheid” and ‘ethnic cleansing.'”

No comments from United States or anyone else about the absurd and caustic statements, nor on the lunatic who made them (who incidentally, is a big 9/11 conspiracy theorist).

Israeli Prime Minister Claims
of Palestinian “Ethnic Cleansing”

In September 2016, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Palestinians of “ethnically cleansing” Jews from their historic homeland of Judea and Samaria / the West Bank.  Netanyahu made his statement because Abbas has stated he cannot accept a single Israeli living in a new state of Palestine.

Netanyahu did not even bring up a variety of other Palestinian Authority laws, as detailed in “Abbas Knows Racism,” such as:

  • Palestinian Authority law that condemns any Arab that sells land to a Jew to death.
  • Palestinian universities bar entry to Jews

The origins of Arab ethnic cleansing of Jews dates back decades, to when the Jordanians illegally annexed eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1950 and expelled all of the Jews from the area.  Jordan then passed a citizenship law in 1954 that specifically EXCLUDED Jews from being granted citizenship in their own homeland.

“Any person who, not being Jewish, possessed Palestinian nationality before 15 May 1948 and was a regular resident in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan between 20 December 1949 and 16 February 1954″ (Article 3)

So what was the world reaction when Netanyahu finally stated some clear and obvious facts?  Condemnation.

The spokesperson for the US State Department responded to the Netanyahu video: “We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful.”

When Abbas heard that Netanyahu used the “ethnic cleansing” charge, Abbas doubled-down by saying again that Israel uses “ethnic cleansing” against the Palestinians.

No comment from the State Department about Abbas’s use of the term.

The current United States administration and United Nations have no time or interest for Israelis stating simple truths. It would appear, that if you want the world to agree and applaud, you would best be served by denying facts like the Palestinian Arabs.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Palestinians of Today and the Holocaust

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

The UN Fails on its Own Measures to address the Conditions Conducive to the Spread of Terrorism

Names and Narrative: Genocide / Intifada

The Left-Wing’s Two State Solution: 1.5 States for Arabs, 0.5 for Jews

The US State Department Does Not Want Israel to Fight Terrorism

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Obama’s Select Religious Compassion

US President Obama spoke about the United States’ plan to admit refugees from Syria, while he was in Turkey for the G20 Summit. He spoke with emotion in his voice as he dismissed the suggestion that America would not admit Muslim refugees due to security concerns, after the terrorist attacks committed in Paris by the Islamic State killed 129 people just days before.

Obama saidwhen I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.

Obama G20
President Obama speaking at G20 Summit in Turkey
(photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivals/QP)

It is interesting that Obama suddenly feels that religion should not be a test for allowing people to live in certain places.

Just last year, Obama’s White House Spokesman made the following comment about Jews moving into apartments they recently purchased in the eastern part of Jerusalem: “The US condemns the recent occupation of residential buildings in the neighborhood of Silwan by people whose agenda provokes tensions.”

Those “people whose agenda provokes tensions” were ordinary Jews moving into apartments they purchased.

The White House condemned Jews from moving into their legal residences because Palestinian Arabs were angry about having Jewish neighbors. Does Arab anti-Semitism dictate American policy or “compassion”? Why did the anger of Palestinian Arabs get an endorsement, while the concerns of Americans about their own safety get condemnation from Obama?

Obama is correct that America was founded on the principle of religious tolerance. That is who “we” are.

That Obama would uniquely advocate for the banning of Jews from living in their own homes, says who he is.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Real and Imagined Laws of Living in Silwan

Obama’s “Values” Red Herring

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Palestinians agree that Israel rules all of Jerusalem, but the World Treats the City as Divided

The Palestinian Arabs and Israelis last managed to negotiate an agreement in September 1995. That agreement, Oslo II, was intended to be an interim agreement after which a permanent resolution was to be reached in five years. However, five years later in September 2000, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat walked away from the Israeli peace proposal and launched multi-year riots which claimed thousands of lives.

The terms of Oslo II still live on, decades later.

Oslo II signing
Rabin and Arafat sign maps prior to the Oslo II signing ceremony at the White House, as US president Bill Clinton, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Jordan’s King Hussein look on, September 28, 1995 (photo credit: GPO)

Goals of Oslo II

Oslo II was meant to set in place an interim Palestinian Authority which would become the basis of a Palestinian political structure. Oslo II had NO calls for an independent Palestinian state, but stated the goal of the negotiations was to lead to a permanent settlement based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

  • Security Council Resolution 338 was declared after Egypt attacked Israel in the Yom Kippur War. The goal was to stop hostilities and commence peace negotiations.  The thrust of SC 338 was to implement SC 242 to establish “a just and durable peace
  • Security Council 242 was drafted after the Six Day War in 1967. In that war, Israel preemptively attacked Egypt and Syria that were readying an attack on Israel, and Israel defended itself from an attack from Jordan.

Without delving into the nuances of SC 242 here, the thrust of the resolution was to have Israeli armed forces pull back from some territories which it won in the 1967 War and that all states respect “the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area… free from threats or acts of force.” It also proposed “a just settlement of the refugee problem.

Oslo II built on these UN Security Council goals with an interim roadmap. It began with Israel’s handing over certain territories to the Palestinian Authority (Gaza and Jericho) as well as other major Palestinian cities.

Status of Jerusalem in Oslo II

Jerusalem is mentioned eight times in the Oslo II Accords. In every instance, the entire city is referenced, not just the eastern half that Israel acquired from the Jordanians and Palestinian Arabs in 1967.

The first six times “Jerusalem” appeared in the Oslo II agreement relate to future Palestinian elections in which Palestinian Arabs located in Jerusalem would be able to participate. The remaining two times specifically state that Jerusalem is a point for final status negotiations:

  • ARTICLE XVII Jurisdiction
    1. In accordance with the DOP, the jurisdiction of the Council will cover West Bank and Gaza Strip territory as a single territorial unit, except for:
    2. issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations: Jerusalem, settlements, specified military locations, Palestinian refugees, borders, foreign relations and Israelis;
  • ARTICLE XXXI Final Clauses
    5. Permanent status negotiations will commence as soon as possible, but not later than May 4, 1996, between the Parties. It is understood that these negotiations shall cover remaining issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbors, and other issues of common interest.

According to the agreements executed by the Palestinians and Israelis:

  • Jerusalem is not part of the West Bank, as it is broken out separately
  • Jerusalem is not a “settlement”, as the agreement stated later that “settlements” are entities in the West Bank and Gaza – “For the purpose of this Agreement, “the Settlements” means, in the West Bank the settlements in Area C; and in the Gaza Strip – the Gush Katif and Erez settlement areas, as well as the other settlements in the Gaza Strip, as shown on attached map No. 2
  • Israel controls Jerusalem“Israel shall continue to exercise powers and responsibilities not so transferred”

There is therefore no basis for any of the United Nations, the EU or the Unites States to claim that Jerusalem is a settlement and that Jews should have any restrictions from living anywhere in the city.  Should there be any modifications to the Israeli rule of the city, it will be made by mutual consent in permanent status negotiations.

Yet, the world ignores the Oslo II foundation document of a peace agreement.

United Nations Ignores Oslo II on Jerusalem

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon made an address on the “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” in 2013:

On Jerusalem’s Jewish “settlements”:All settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem must cease.  Measures that prejudge final status issues are not to be recognized.
Announcements of thousands of new housing units cannot be reconciled with the goal of a two-state solution and risk the collapse of negotiations”

These statements ignore Oslo II in many respects: it broke apart “East Jerusalem” as a distinct entity; it claimed that Jews living in “East Jerusalem” were in “settlements”; it called for a two-state solution (while not in Oslo II, both the Israelis and Palestinians later agreed to such plan); it suggested that Jews living in “East Jerusalem” hurt a two-state solution.

On Palestinian homes in “East Jerusalem”: “Of particular concern are developments in East Jerusalem, where this year alone, some 100 [Arab] structures have been demolished, displacing 300 people.  Hundreds more Palestinians are at risk because their homes were built without Israeli-issued building permits”

The UN leader voiced concern with more Jews moving into eastern Jerusalem and not enough Arabs being accommodated there.

On the Permanent Status Negotiations of Jerusalem: “Jerusalem is to emerge from negotiations as the capital of two States, with arrangements for the holy sites acceptable to all”

Ban Ki-Moon voiced a conclusion not made in Oslo II and “prejudged” an outcome that Jerusalem must be divided, even though Israel already divided the UN’s “Holy Basin” when it gave Bethlehem to the Palestinian Authority 20 years earlier.  Amazing commentary from someone who is concerned with “prejudging final status issues.”

European Union Ignores Oslo II on Jerusalem

The EU has taken positions adopted by the Palestinian Authority which are outside of the agreements reached by Israel and the PA in Oslo II:

On Jerusalem’s Jewish “settlements”: “EU considers that settlement building anywhere in the occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, is illegal under international law, constitutes an obstacle to peace and threatens to make a two-state solution impossible.”

On Palestinians in “East Jerusalem”: “The EU supports [Arab] institution building work in East Jerusalem, notably in the areas of health, education and the judiciary.” 

On the Permanent Status Negotiations of Jerusalem: “the EU has repeatedly confirmed its deep concern about accelerated settlement expansion in the West Bank including East Jerusalem. This expansion prejudges the outcome of final status negotiations and threatens the viability of an agreed two-state solution”
“The EU considers that the peace negotiations should include the resolution of all issues surrounding the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states. The EU will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties.”

Like the United Nations, the EU ignored the mutual recognition of both Palestinians Arabs and Israel that only Israel administers all of Jerusalem, and any modification to such arrangement must be made by mutual agreement. Oslo II made no suggestion that the holy city be divided.

The United States Ignores Oslo II on Jerusalem

On Jerusalem’s Jewish “settlements”: Jen Psaki, Spokesperson for the US Department of State said on October 27, 2014: “we continue to make our position absolutely clear that we view settlement activity as illegitimate and unequivocally oppose unilateral steps that prejudge the future of Jerusalem. Israel’s leaders have said they would support a pathway to a two-state solution, but moving forward with this type of action would be incompatible with the pursuit of peace”

On the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem: While the US does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or any country (and therefor does not maintain on embassy in Jerusalem), it has nevertheless decided to establish an office for Palestinians in Jerusalem.  The United States Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (USSC) sounds like it services both Israel and the PA, but its mission is to serve and assist the PA in meeting its security needs. “The USSC directs all facets of U.S. security sector assistance to the Palestinian Authority and synchronizes international supporting efforts…The USSC assists the Palestinian Authority to transform and professionalize its security sector.

The US decided to place such office to assist the PA in Jerusalem, rather than Bethlehem or Jericho. The address is home of the Consul General of the US in Jerusalem which serves US citizens from Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

On the Permanent Status Negotiations of Jerusalem:  Back in 2009, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs made a point that recognized that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations, but said he was opposed to construction in “East Jerusalem”. “The United States opposes new Israeli construction in East Jerusalem. The status of Jerusalem is a permanent status issue that must be resolved by the parties through negotiations and supported by the international community. Neither party should engage in efforts or take actions that could unilaterally pre-empt, or appear to pre-empt, negotiations. Rather, both parties should return to negotiations without preconditions as soon as possible. The United States recognizes that Jerusalem is a deeply important issue for Israelis and Palestinians, and for Jews, Muslims, and Christians. We believe that through good faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem, and safeguards its status for people around the world.”


 

There have been very few agreements between the Palestinian Arabs and Israelis throughout history.  When the parties last mutually agreed to move forward with a peace process, they agreed that all of Jerusalem was controlled by Israel.  The agreement had no caveats about what Israel could or could not do anywhere in the city. It made no suggestion that the city was or would be divided.

Despite that reality, a new perception has taken hold in world bodies that Israel should prohibit Jews from living in parts of their capital and holiest city.  It is being repeated more frequently and with greater force: at one point, world bodies opposed Israel building new neighborhoods in the eastern part of Jerusalem; now they decry Jews moving into existing homes that  they legally purchased privately.

How can Israel expect to negotiate a final status agreement if the world rejects the agreements Israel makes with Palestinian Arabs as it did with Oslo II? How can Israel enter negotiations when the world advances a prejudged outcome to such negotiations to which Israel never agreed?


Related First One Through articles:

The Arguments over Jerusalem

Real and Imagined Laws of Living in Silwan

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

Obama supports Anti-Semitic Palestinian Agenda of Jew-Free State

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

A “Viable” Palestinian State

A Disservice to Jewish Community

Summary: There is a Jewish community in New York with a long-standing effort to maintain a strong Community: among the various denominations of Judaism within the city, and in staying connected with the Jewish State. For the 67th birthday of Israel, it opted to destroy all of those efforts.

 

The Jewish community of White Plains NY is not a typical New York City suburb. The five synagogues of the city (5SWP) – Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and two Modern Orthodox – all sit within 1.5 miles of each other and actively seek to maintain a sense of close community. Each temple helped to establish the communal eruv around the residential neighborhood. The rabbis have study groups together. And lastly, the members of the shuls do their Israeli programming together.

In the spring of 2015, a group from the Israel Action Committee of the 5SWP decided that it was time to invite a left-wing speaker to address the group, as past speakers included right-of-center speakers including Bret Stephens and Malcolm Hoenlein. While voices of dissent came from within the committee as they learned about the proposed speaker’s line of work as a lawyer for Palestinian Arabs that sues the government of Israel, the group elected to invite Danny Seidemann to speak anyway – on Israel’s Independence Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut.

Danny Seidemann was presented to the audience as a “Leading Israeli Expert on Contemporary Jerusalem.” He spoke to the group for roughly one and one-half hours, including Q&A. If Danny is an expert, it is in deception. For 90 minutes, the group of 70 attendees heard deliberate misstatements and lies of omission. However, Danny’s views and message were very clear: that Jerusalem has never been united and can never be a united capital of Israel.

20150426_060648

Seidemann’s Lies

Here is a selection of some of Danny’s lies to support his position.

Palestinians are deliberately excluded from Jerusalem society. Danny made several remarks early in his talk that he clearly knew to be untrue. He stated that Palestinians in East Jerusalem are “deliberately and permanently disenfranchised” and “are not allowed to be leaders” in Israel. However, in Q&A at the end of the talk, he admitted that Palestinians in East Jerusalem are permitted to ask for Israeli citizenship and thousands have already become citizens. How can the Palestinian Arabs be “permanently disenfranchised” if they can become Israelis, similar to the over 1 million Arabs that are currently citizens of Israel? Those Israeli Arab citizens include members of the Israeli Knesset and the Supreme Court.

A minority of Jerusalem’s residents celebrates Israel Independence Day. Danny asserted that the capital of Israel barely celebrates Yom Ha’azmaut, undermining the claim that the city can truly be the capital of Israel. Along with Palestinian Arabs living in Jerusalem who are not Israeli citizens, are roughly one-quarter of the population that are Ultra-Orthodox Haredi who are not Zionists according to Danny, leaving only a minority of the population in Israel’s capital celebrating the holiday. However, Danny later admitted that the Haredi do actively participate in Israeli elections and actively seek roles in the Israeli Knesset. Does he not like the black hat brand of patriotism? Further, these Haredi Jews predominantly live in the western half of Jerusalem- does Danny question the legitimacy of the western part of the city too?

No Jew enters East Jerusalem. Danny claimed that “80% of East Jerusalem is off-limits to Jews.” First, that is untrue as many Jews go into East Jerusalem all of the time (and not just the Old City). For example, Pisgat Ze’ev, the largest Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, lies next to Shu’afat. Further, would a neighborhood being dangerous or consisting of a single ethnic group mean it ceases to be part of a city? If few Jews visit Umm al-Fahm, an Israeli city that is nearly 100% Arab (compared to the eastern part of Jerusalem which is 60% Arab), would that mean that the city is not part of Israel? When few white people entered areas of black Harlem in the 1970s, did Harlem cease to be part of New York City?

No Arab enters West Jerusalem. Danny said that Arabs no longer enter the western part of the city. That is patently false. On most days, there are more Arabs in Independence Park than there are Jews. Danny may claim that these are Israeli Arabs and not Palestinians from East Jerusalem, but how could he make such claim without speaking to the hundreds of Arabs that anyone can see in the streets of western Jerusalem every day without talking to each one?

Countries do not recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel because of East Jerusalem. Danny argued that Jews pretend that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital but that such claim is untrue as no country places its embassy in the city. His point deliberately led the audience to believe that this international action is a direct result of Israel’s annexing the eastern half of the city. That is completely false. No country moved their embassy BEFORE Israel annexed the eastern half of the city because the entirety of Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem (known as the “Holy Basin” in the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan) was planned to be an international city. World governments are waiting for final status negotiations before moving any embassy, as they viewed the 1949 Jordanian annexation of East Jerusalem and the Israeli annexation of West Jerusalem as contrary to that 1947 Plan. It has NOTHING to do with Israel’s taking East Jerusalem in 1967.

 1947plan jerusalem
United Nations 1947 proposed map for an international “Holy Basin”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not want Peace. Danny claimed that the four-term Israeli Prime Minister “is a terrible person who preys on Israelis’ fears of security.” Not only did Seidemann ignore Netanyahu’s numerous statements supporting a two-state solution (without any part of Jerusalem for Palestine), but Danny also failed to relay that it was Netanyahu who handed over half of the Holy Basin (Bethlehem) to the Palestinian Authority back in 1995.

The US Democratic Party Considers East Jerusalem too Controversial. Danny relayed how the 2012 Democratic National convention had removed its long-used platform language that Jerusalem would be the capital. He said that Americans were “tired of being bullied” about the contested city. What Danny failed to say was that the 2012 platform also removed the standard language that: Palestinian refugees would be settled into a new state of Palestine, not Israel; that it is unreasonable to expect that the borders of Israel would follow the 1967 “borders”/ the 1949 Armistice Lines; and that Hamas is a terrorist organization. Are Democrats tired of believing all of these platform items too? Are they now welcoming Hamas? Danny made it appear that the status of East Jerusalem was the only reason Democrats were breaking with Israel, while in fact, it was the entire pro-Israel platform that was either intentionally or unintentionally gutted.

Olmert ultimately realized the need to give up East Jerusalem. Danny said that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ultimately concluded late in his career that the only way to get to a final status agreement with the Palestinians was to give up East Jerusalem. What Danny failed to say was that Olmert only pitched this approach as he was about to get indicted on bribery charges, and was hoping that he could win over the liberal Israeli press to save him for going off to jail (it was too late and he was ultimately sentenced). Further, Danny failed to mention that acting President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas never responded to Olmert’s plan for Jerusalem.

If Jews move to East Jerusalem, then Arabs will have an added case for the Right of Return. The “expert” on Contemporary Jerusalem has no understanding of the Palestinian claim of the “Right of Return.” Danny spoke about recent “terrible” news of Jews legally (according to Israeli law) buying homes in an East Jerusalem neighborhood called Sheik Jarrah. He described that some of these homes had been owned by Jews before the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, which were then taken over by Arabs at the war’s end.

For starters, it should have been noted at some point in the speech that the Israeli War of Independence started when several Arab armies initiated an attack to destroy Israel when it declared independence at the end of the British Mandate.  The land wasn’t “Arab” and Israel’s war was of self-defense.

Secondly, Danny failed to clarify that the Jordanians (and Palestinians who accepted Jordanian citizenship), evicted all Jewish inhabitants from East Jerusalem and all of the West Bank, and then further barred their reentry after the war, counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention. Conversely, after the war, Israel granted citizenship to roughly 160,000 Arabs.

Third, Jews acquiring homes in East Jerusalem is legal according to Israeli law in the same way that Arabs may buy homes in West Jerusalem; there is no discrimination either way. These are private transaction between private people, and the government does not get involved. Danny’s commentary left the exact opposite impression that the Israeli government acted in a discriminatory manner.

Lastly, and perhaps most telling, the private purchases of homes have absolutely NOTHING to do with the Palestinian Arab claim for a Right of Return. A quick review for this “Israeli expert”:

  •  Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “[e]veryone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his COUNTRY (emphasis added).” The law is about returning to a person’s country, not a particular house where someone’s grandparent may have lived.
  • In regard to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, UN Resolution 194 Article 11 “Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and LIVE AT PEACE WITH THEIR NEIGHBOURS (emphasis added) should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.” Palestinian Arabs are not refugees, but the children and grandchildren of refugees. And as Seidemann makes abundantly clear throughout his talk, they have no intention of living at peace with Israel.

Jews acquiring properties in Silwan or Sheik Jarrah or any other parts of East Jerusalem have absolutely nothing to do with these laws and give Palestinian Arabs no additional rights or claims to any “Right of Return” to any part of Israel or western Jerusalem.

 seidemann
Daniel Seidemann at Yom Ha’atzmaut Discussion

These were just some of the false comments that the speaker made about Jerusalem. Seidemann did say that Jerusalem is holy to Jews and referred to “Jewish Jerusalem,” but he made the comment only about the western part of the city. He gave no historical context that the area called “East Jerusalem” was an artifice of war. That its creation was solely from a war started by Arabs to utterly destroy any Jewish state, and the only reason that there are fewer Jews than Arabs in that part of the city was because of the ethnic cleansing committed by the Palestinian and Jordanian Arabs.

  • There was no clarification that Jews have been a majority in ALL of Jerusalem since the 1860s.
  • No mention that the Ottomans never limited where Jews could live in Jerusalem for 400 years.
  • No mention that the British Mandate of Palestine allowed Jews to live throughout the region, including what some today refer to as the “West Bank.”

Overall, Seidemann’s speech was an attempt to portray Israel as an evil, racist occupier of eastern Jerusalem. To the more informed in the audience, all his speech actually conveyed was that the Palestinian Arabs hate the Jews, hate Israel and will never want to be part of the Jewish State.

That may be true, but it certainly does not make Israel an evil racist occupier and does not mean that Jerusalem isn’t completely part of Israel.

Seidemann’s Call to Action

An hour into the Seidemann story, he became particularly excited.

Call for BDS of the “Settlement Enterprise. Danny gave a short preamble that what he was about to say was illegal. He then raised his hand and voice and declared that all settlers living in the West Bank should be boycotted. That all businesses in the territory should be boycotted. That he, as a “true Zionist” that paid taxes and served in the army needed to protect his country from “right-wing idealogues” who threatened his vision of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

At that point, people in the audience finally began to leave.

Seidemann Refusal to Engage

At the reception after the talk, Seidemann continued to lie (or being more generous, show how uninformed he was):

  • Palestinians support Abbas. Seidemann claimed that Abbas enjoyed broad support of the Palestinians. When he was confronted that it was not true as shown in every poll conducted by Palestinians themselves, including recent university elections, he refused to back off his claim.
  • Abbas is in control. When Seidemann was asked how Israel can possibly negotiate with Abbas since he lacked control of the people and territory, he reiterated that Abbas had complete control. After it was pointed out that if Abbas was in control, he was therefore responsible for the Gaza war that fired thousands of rockets into Israel, Seidemann ripped off his yamulke and stormed away.

While the speaker demanded total silence and respect from the audience, he showed the group none.


A community that sought to be educated about Israel was lied to for 90 minutes. A group that wanted to bond with fellow Jews and Israel, heard from a speaker that called for Jews to punish and economically strangle Israeli Jews.

As this self-declared UberZionist drove away, the community was left with bitter feelings. At least it was no longer on the Israeli Independence Day.


Related First One Through articles:

It isn’t “Arab Land”

Legal Israeli Settlements

A “Viable” Palestinian State

The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

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