The Green Line Through Jerusalem

When the United Nations considered dividing Israel into an Arab State and a Jewish State in 1947, it sought to remove the contentious religious sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims into a distinct “corpus separatum” which would be under international control. The area of Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem was to become a “Holy Basin,” and a unique model from the nascent United Nations.

The Arabs rejected partition and five Arab armies invaded Israel. At wars end in 1949, armistice lines with Egypt, Syria and Jordan created new boundaries in the region. Jordan took control and soon annexed the area it seized, including three-quarters of the Holy Basin. The division for the Jordanian frontiers were marked in green and it became known as the “Green Line.”

The division of Jerusalem in the 1949 Armistice agreement between Israel and Jordan

The Israeli portion of the map was marked in blue and Israel applied sovereignty up to that line. The space between the blue and green lines was considered “no man’s land.”

The Jordanian side included the entirety of the Old City of Jerusalem. The line ran right along the western side of the city, including the Jaffa and New Gates up to the Damascus Gate. The Jordanians forbade Jews from living in, visiting or praying at their holy sites in the city.

The map above is from the United Nations and marks the city’s sacred locations. Note that even though the city is only considered the holiest for Jews, the Jewish locations are listed last. The holiest location, the Jewish Temple Mount, is not even marked as sacred to Jews. The Western Wall is marked as holy – to both Jews and Muslims.

The map lists the Christian holy places first and includes numerous locations including each station of the Cross. It lists but does not show the various sacred spots in Bethlehem.
Muslims have the fewest holy sites of the three monotheistic religions, but occupy the dominant platform of Jerusalem. Uniquely among the monotheistic faiths, Muslims have no sites subject to “the status quo” according to the map.

The only holy location on the Israeli side of the lines is the Tomb of David, curiously listed as the only site holy to all three religions.


The world’s vision of Jerusalem from 1949 to 1967 was a place dominated by Christianity in terms of reverence, by Muslims in regards to prominence, and lastly by Jews, whose holiest spot was not even acknowledged and their basic human rights to live and worship were ignored.

Jerusalem Day is a day to mark the upending of that dynamic, at least in part.


Related First One Through article:

The Dark Side of Jerusalem Day: Magnifying the Kotel and Minimizing the Temple Mount

The Arguments over Jerusalem

The UN’s #Alternative Facts about the 1967 Six Day War

“Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

Here in United Jerusalem’s Jubilee Year

The Remarkable Tel Jerusalem

Jordan’s Deceit and Hunger for Control of Jerusalem

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

May 15 is Israel’s Neighbor Day

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

The New York Times Inverts the History of Jerusalem

The Jews of Jerusalem In Situ

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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

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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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The Best Palestinian Response to the Trump Initiative is Welcoming Jews to Palestine

US President Donald Trump put forward a new Middle East Framework called “Peace to Prosperity” (P2P). It was the first Middle East framework offered since the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 (API). The API was, not surprisingly, heavily biased towards the Palestinian Arabs’ demands and not Israeli security. It did not advance peace but rather ushered wars from Gaza in 2008, 2012 and 2014, a war from Lebanon in 2006 and a “stabbing intifada” from the West Bank in 2015.

Unlike the API, Trump’s P2P plan was focused on Israel’s security (and Palestinians’ prosperity), and the Palestinian Authority considered it a non-starter before they even saw it. The acting-President of the PA Mahmoud Abbas has refused to even entertain discussing it.

That is a mistake.

The underlying issue of Israel’s security manifests itself in the plan in a few ways, most notably, that all Palestinian border crossings must be managed by Israel and that a future State of Palestine must be demilitarized. If the PA were to refuse to accept those two principles, there is indeed nothing to discuss regarding any of the other key items for Palestinians such as land, refugees and Jerusalem.

However, if Abbas accedes to those two Israeli security points, he will likely be able to gain much on the other issues that matter to him and to the Palestinians.

Consider the land.

The P2P plan has Israel assuming sections of the West Bank including the entirety of the Jordan Valley. It leaves the Palestinian territory as a patchwork of parcels, with the towns in which Jews reside being annexed by Israel dotted, in between.

However, the Palestinians might be able to obtain almost the entirety of the West Bank if it grants Palestinian citizenship to all of the inhabitants of the Jewish towns. This action would be much like the Jewish State’s in 1948 when it granted Israeli citizenship to all of the Arabs. The Jews would make up a much smaller percentage of Palestine than Arabs’ in Israel today.

As the border would be controlled by Israel, only a sliver of land between Palestine and Jordan would be required to be Israeli instead of the whole Jordan Valley, much like the plan assumes Israel having a thin sliver of land buffering Palestinian territory in the Negev and Egypt. The net result would be the Palestinians gaining almost the entirety of the West Bank other than a sliver along the Jordan River.

The willingness to accept Jewish citizens into Palestine might also open a window for Israel to accept many Arab refugees into Israel, rather than just giving them compensation as mapped under the P2P plan. A new Arab spirit of coexistence might stimulate Israel to take as many as 50,000 Arab refugees per year for a number of years, with the balance receiving compensation and settling in a new Palestinian State.

The capital of a Palestinian State could also become more dynamic, with Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem becoming parts of a Palestinian capital.

In short, Palestinians can gain a lot on all of their key negotiating points by working off of the Trump peace initiative if they endorse coexistence and welcome Jews into a new state. In contrast, the current path of continued demonization of Israel and the denial of Jewish history and rights will only further cement the stagnation for Palestinians in regards to both peace and prosperity.

Palestinians should call the Israeli bluff, and see if hundreds of thousands of Jews are willing to live as a minority in Palestine. If the Israelis balk, then the BDS movement will likely advance globally. However, if the Israelis endorse the principle, Israel will be blocked from annexing any land (pro-Arab), while United Nations Resolution 2334 will be deemed moot and the global BDS movement will come to an end (pro-Israel).


Related First One Through articles:

The Palestinian’s Three Denials

The Peace Proposal Monologues

Taking it Straight to the People: Obama and Kushner

The Cancer in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Is Trump Seeing Mid-East Countries to Combat Religious Extremism, or Visiting Religious Sites to Promote Coexistence?

Palestinian Arabs De-Registering from UNRWA

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

Palestineism is Toxic Racism

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

Considering Carter’s 1978 Letter Claiming Settlements Are Illegal

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The Peace Proposal Monologues

The Trump administration put forward a new Middle East Peace Plan as the latest installment of a series of frameworks over the years to try to find an enduring peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Like every proposal before it, it was declared dead on arrival.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 28: U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participate in a joint statement in the East Room of the White House on January 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. The news conference was held to announce the Trump administration’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images/AFP

The Israelis had made numerous direct overtures for peace through the years, from its founding in 1948, post the 1967 war and in 2008, when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert presented a plan that met nearly every desire of the Palestinian Authority. But in the end, the Arabs rejected every Israeli effort to find peace.

So third parties took a stab at putting forward their versions of a workable peace. The last serious attempt was advanced by the Arab League in 2002, known as the Arab Peace Initiative (API) which was advanced by Saudi Arabia. The API, not surprisingly, was heavily biased towards the Palestinian Arabs. The Obama Administration worked off of the API in trying to strike a peace agreement, and secured small adjustments from the Arab League to make it more palatable for Israel to accept, such as the notion of including “comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land” in 2013.

But the plan did not meet Israel’s basic security needs, and no peace agreement was advanced, particularly after Hamas’ 2014 war against Israel and the Palestinian Authority fomenting the “stabbing intifada” in 2015.

President Trump, in concert with his pro-Israel advisers including Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, realized that a new paradigm needed to be advanced.

Trump’s team spent years developing a new framework based on a long-term vision for the region, rather than simply trying to get Israel to accept the API which would have left it very vulnerable in a tumultuous region. This new initiative recognized several inherent flaws of the Obama-approved API, including lies which had become mainstreamed, or as US founding father Thomas Paine once said “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.

  • “East Jerusalem.” There is no place called East Jerusalem any more than there is a place called East Berlin. That name existed for only 18 years of the city’s 4,000 year history and was an artifice of war that ended in 1967.
  • “Occupied East Jerusalem.” Jerusalem was NEVER slated to be under Arab control in international agreements including the San Remo Agreement, the Mandate of Palestine or the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan. To call it “occupied Palestinian territory” is a complete lie.
  • Refugees. Refugees are people who left a COUNTRY, not a mandate territory or a specific town. To extend the farce of calling for a return of “refugees” when the mandate was later advocated to be split for two peoples is against the very nature of the goal. To continue the charade for several generations entrenches resentment and has long been an obstacle to peaceful coexistence.
  • “Inalienable rights.” The United Nations has pushed forward the notion that Palestinian Arabs have “inalienable rights” of sovereignty. That would make them the only people with such rights – do Hispanic people who lived in New York City in the 1970’s have inalienable rights to their own country? People only have inalienable rights to self-determination.

Beyond the outright lies which have permeated discourse in the Arab-Israel conflict, there has been a denial of facts:

  • Return of “territories.” Israel has already complied with UN resolutions to return territories won in the 1967 War: it returned the Sinai to Egypt and handed Gaza to the Palestinians, the first time Palestinians ever had self-rule of a territory.
  • War from Palestinian territories. Since the Palestinians have ruled Gaza, they launched thousands of rockets into Israeli civilian neighborhoods.
  • Inability to Compromise. The two Palestinians factions have not even been able to negotiate between themselves, so how realistic can it be that they will ever agree to peace with Israel.
  • Rights. Only under Israel has there been freedom of access and freedom to worship for all religions, as opposed to the Arabs from 1949 to 1967 which barred Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem and Hebron.
  • Growth. The Arab population in the West Bank has grown significantly more than the Arab populations in all of the neighboring countries from 1967 until now, demonstrating the positive and stable environment of Israel for all of its inhabitants.

The Trump peace plan takes reality into account as it seriously addresses the security risks of the region. It is a constructive document to counter-balance the flawed Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, and will hopefully enable the parties to chart a course towards an enduring peace.

Like Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” play which included a series of skits meant to address violence against women, the Middle East Peace Monologues now has a new installment to address the violence against and isolation of Israel. The question is whether this latest addition will break the impasse to become a dialogue.


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The Callous-tinian Pause

As is their custom, Palestinian Arabs are calling for a “day of rage” because of what might possibly come out of the Trump Administration this week regarding a proposed peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Palestinians had called for a similar day of “mass protests” when the Trump Administration said that Israeli settlements are not inconsistent with the law in November 2019. At that time, various PA officials made statements about their position of a “rejection and condemnation of the Israeli-American settlement enterprise that aims to eliminate the Palestinian cause,” and that they reject “Zionist and American hostile policy… [that are designed to] liquidate the Palestinian cause.

The Palestinians similarly called for a “day of rage” in March 2018 after Trump moved the US embassy in Israel to its capital city of Jerusalem. Palestinian officials said they “will continue to protest against this decision and the plan to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, as well as attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause.” There were “days of rage” when Israel put metal detectors on Jerusalem’s Jewish Temple Mount after Arabs killed a few people on the holy site.

What is this “Palestinian cause” that is threatened by Jews living alongside Arabs in the West Bank as they do in Israel, and which cannot stand to have the US embassy in Jerusalem? Why do Palestinians hold days of rage when Jews visit the Temple Mount or Israel shows any signs of controlling the site? Why launch this latest “day of rage” before even hearing Trump’s peace plan and stating “[t]he Palestinian leadership, with the support of our people, will fail attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause?

Do Palestinians believe that they will expel all Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem just as the Jordanians did in 1949? Is the “Palestinian cause” designed to deny Jews their presence, rights and dignity to live, visit and pray at Judaism’s holiest site? Was the Arab happiness about Obama’s endorsement of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 about  expunging the history of Jews in Jerusalem and rolling back the “Judaization” of the city?

It would appear that the “Palestinian Cause” has much less to do with the rights of Palestinians than denying the rights of Jews. Its goal is to reintroduce the 18-year ban on Jews which Arabs introduced and enforced during that window of their control of Jerusalem from 1949 to 1967: the “Callous-tinian Pause.”


Jerusalem’s Old City pre-1949, with the Tiferet Yisrael and Hurva Synagogues,
both destroyed by Arab armies.

This Palestinian cause of a Callous-tinian Pause SHOULD be deliberately and specifically liquidated, their calls for days of rage be damned.


Related First One Through articles:

The Arguments over Jerusalem

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

Considering Carter’s 1978 Letter Claiming Settlements Are Illegal

Palestineism is Toxic Racism

Jizyah for Jews in Jerusalem

Jerusalem’s Old City Is a Religious War for Muslim Arabs

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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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The New York Times All Out Assault on Jewish Jerusalem

The week before Israeli elections always brings out the bile in the anti-Zionist New York Times. This election, scheduled for September 17, was no exception.

The front page screed (not worthy of being called news) on September 14, 2019 called “A Challenge to the Essence of Old Jerusalem, Coming by Cable Car,” was written by Michael Kimmelman, an architecture critic, leading a reader to imagine a piece covering the “essence” of Jerusalem’s architecture and the proposed modern cable car. While the article did touch on those points, the observations were drowned out by the paper’s anti-Jewish narrative of Judaism’s holiest city.


Front page and page A8 of the September 14, 2019 New York Times

The opening paragraph directs the reader that Jerusalem is a city of Muslims and Christians and… well, there aren’t any Jews.

“At a glance, Jerusalem’s Old City and its surroundings still look pretty much as they must have looked centuries ago. The Old City’s yellow walls still read in silhouette against an ancient landscape of parched hills and valleys. The skyline is still dominated by the city’s great Muslim and Christian shrines: the gold, glistening Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus was said to have been buried.”

Has Kimmelman even visited the city? The “parched hills and valleys” are dotted with modern apartment buildings and hotels. The Old City skyline includes the newly rebuilt Hurva Synagogue (2010), reconstructed now for the third time, first built in 1694.

Jerusalem’s Old City with a mix of Muslim, Christian and Jewish sites
(photo: First.One.Through)

The article’s second paragraph showed ignorance in addition to blindness.

“But this is about to change. Israeli authorities have approved a plan to build an elevated cable car to the Western Wall, the holiest site in the Jewish world, by 2021.”

The Western Wall, the Kotel, is not the holiest site in Judaism; that is the Temple Mount. The Kotel is only a retaining wall of the Temple Mount where Jews have been relegated to use since Suleiman I kicked the Jews off of the Temple Mount in the 16th century.

With bona fides of ignorance established, the author leaned into his bias, pointing a finger at “right-wing Israeli leaders” as the promoters of a plan which “has provoked howls of protest from horrified Israeli preservationists, environmentalists, planners, architects and others who picture a global heritage site turned into a Jewish-themed Epcot.

This is the “essence” of the article.

Israelis enjoy a full-throated democracy and opine on everything. Such a new visible transportation system would obviously prompt outcries, mostly on the basis of aesthetics, which is presumably why it was an architecture critic penning the article. But The Times’ anti-Israel politics quickly overwhelmed the story.

The article stated that the cable car proposal is being advanced by “right wing” leaders and opposed by many Israelis. The “global heritage site” – which readers were just educated has no Jewish ties – will be transformed by the radicals into a Jewish Disneyland (ie. fake and cheesy to bring in tourist dollars). Even fellow Jews were nauseated. The Arabs must be apoplectic.

Queue the Times’ right-wing racist Prime Minister Netanyahu theme music.

Moving quickly from the architecture of the site, Kimmelman went full-politics describing Netanyahu’s announcement of annexing “nearly a third of the occupied West Bank.” This diversion from transportation and architecture into politics went to the heart of the author’s view: the cable car is a Jewish takeover of Arab sites and heritage. Tying those themes together Kimmelman continued:

“The cable car project is an example, illustrating how Israel wields architecture and urban planning to extend its authority in the occupied territories. Whatever its transit merits, which critics say are negligible, the cable car curates a specifically Jewish narrative of Jerusalem, furthering Israeli claims over Arab parts of the city.

For the Times, the environmentally-friendly approach of helping bring the over 2.4 million tourists visit the Kotel in the cramped ancient city had little to do with tourism or transportation, but served as yet another example of Israel’s right-wing government turning Arab lands into Jewish assets. The article never mentioned that Jews have been a majority in Jerusalem for 150 years, that two Jewish Temples stood at the center of the Temple Mount, nor that Jerusalem is the focus of prayer for Jews around the world.

Instead, the article continued on a theme that Jewish fanatics were forcing Arabs from their homes and entrenching an illegal occupation.

“From Mount Zion, the cars will land near the Western Wall, on the rooftop of what is to be multistory center for a right-wing Jewish settler organization called the City of David Foundation, in the midst of a Palestinian district of East Jerusalem called Silwan. The City of David oversees archaeological excavations centered on uncovering biblical Jewish remains in an effort to cement an ancient Jewish connection to a contested site. Israel considers East Jerusalem annexed, but international law considers it occupied territory.”

A paragraph so rich in alternative facts and fake history, it deserves to be unpacked:

  • The City of David Foundation is not a “right-wing settler organization” but a foundation which promotes archaeological discovery and tourism, something that people of all religions and political persuasions enjoy.
  • The City of David does not “oversee” excavations; they help fund the work which is performed by the Israel Antiquities Authority.
  • The area of Silwan was originally founded by Jews from Yemen in early 1880’s. It is not a “district of East Jerusalem.” East Jerusalem was a blip in history that lasted for only 19 of Jerusalem’s 4,000 years, which ceased to exist over 50 years ago. Further, it is not “Palestinian,” but a predominantly Arab neighborhood which also includes Jews.
  • The notion that the only reason that Israel is doing excavations is to “cement an ancient Jewish connection to a contested site” is vile and disgusting. Israel has archaeological excavations all over the country – do Jews need to validate their history everywhere in the holy land? Uncovering the unified Jewish capital city of King David and King Solomon from 3,000 years ago is an exciting discovery for the entire world and each discovery is a celebration for anyone who has read the bible. But not for Kimmelman, who added “Archaeology works hand in glove here with settler efforts to press Jewish claims to the land.

Remarkably, the article descended into further conspiracy theories from there.

Kimmelman wrote that Israelis treat Arabs as invisible and are forcibly evicting them from their homes to make way for this attraction. The goal is to give tourists a “Jewish version of the city’s history” from a time when “there were no Christians or Muslims.

The author leaves the reader with the feeling that it is also the current intent of the right-wing settler government of Israel to see a city devoid of Muslims and Christians, as “the cladding of East Jerusalem’s settlements in Jerusalem stone, the architectural uniform traditionally worn by buildings in Jewish West Jerusalem, helps spread the image of a single Jewish city.

For the New York Times, the “essence” of the Old City of Jerusalem is its Arab character navigated via narrow walkways, now being violated by right-wing Jewish invaders changing and scarring its demographics, character and approach. Especially at election time, the Times wants to warn everyone that the “essence” of this Israeli government is racist colonial Jewish supremacists.


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The Remarkable Tel Jerusalem

The Jews of Jerusalem In Situ

The Dark Side of Jerusalem Day: Magnifying the Kotel and Minimizing the Temple Mount

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

The New York Times Inverts the History of Jerusalem

The New York Times Major anti-Netanyahu Propaganda Piece

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

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The Remarkable Tel Jerusalem

Archaeologists spend their time excavating and examining sites where humans lived in an effort to better understand the nature of societies from long ago. They let the physical evidence provide clues as to how people lived, what they ate and how they existed as a community.

Some of the best places to explore ancient history are found in tels, hills where one society was built upon the ruins of an earlier society. Such ruins are common in the Middle East, where there has been continuous human presence in many of the same locations for 4-5,000 years.

The issue confronting archaeologists excavating any tel is that one layer of history must be removed to be able to explore the next layer of the human past. Removing the ruins of a floor of a 13th century mosque may reveal a 5th century church, while clearing the 5th century level may reveal a municipal building from the first century BCE. History must be destroyed to find yet more ancient history. Peeling back time yields discovery via destruction.

In the holy city of Jerusalem, the challenges for archaeologists and historians becomes further ensnared in religious and political battles. Why should the ruins of a 16th century mosque be cleared to reveal an ancient Byzantine church? Why should the church be dismantled to uncover an ancient Jewish ritual bath house? Is one truth more significant than another? Does the exposure of ancient Jewish edifices impact today’s realities and political considerations? Is the destruction of an ancient house of worship in favor of another religion’s house of worship an act of historical exploration or a crusade?

The city of Jerusalem became central to the Jewish people 3,000 years ago, when King David sacked the then-Jebusite city and made it the official capital of the Jewish people in roughly 1000 BCE. His son, King Solomon, built the First Jewish Temple in the city in 950 BCE, making the city both the religious center and the political center of the people. Jews made pilgrimages to sacrifice at the temples during both the First Temple period (950 BCE – 587 BCE) and during the Second Temple period (515 BCE – 70 CE). Since the destruction of the Second Temple, Jews continued to live in and make pilgrimages to the city to pray, but without the ritual sacrifices, as Arab Muslims and Christian Crusaders took turns dominating the landscape.


City of Jerusalem during First Temple Period covered a portion of the current
Temple Mount and an area south of today’s Old City walls

Over the last several years, a team of archaeologists has been excavating an old road used by the Jewish pilgrims of two thousand-plus years ago. The “Pilgrimage Road” was one of a series of pathways that facilitated the flow of hundreds of thousands of Jews into the Jewish Temples. It’s route must have changed during the centuries as the walls of Jerusalem changed, and as archaeologists continue their excavations, undoubtedly, more facts will emerge.


The Pilgrimage Road from the Shiloach Pool to the Temple Mount, used by Jewish worshipers in the late Second Temple period, was excavated over the course of six years and unveiled by the City of David organization on June 30, 2019.
(Source: City of David.)

The road now exists as a tunnel lying beneath a predominantly Arab section of Jerusalem, called Silwan. The area was originally settled in modern times by Yemenite Jews in the 1880’s, who were then expelled when Jordan attacked Israel in 1948 and annexed the area in a measure not recognized by almost every country in the world. Just as in ancient history, the sacking and rebuilding of the city continues to play out.

But today’s Israeli archaeologists managed a new feat: they did not destroy the layers of recent history above the Pilgrim Road; they burrowed a tunnel which left the current residents of Silwan still living in their homes. As opposed to the living history of tels which builds one reality on top of another, and excavations which destroy one history to unveil another, both the ancient Jewish history and modern Arab homes coexist.

Historians celebrated the event as did the State of Israel which plans to develop the road as a tourist attraction as an important part of understanding the history of Judaism’s holiest location. Even foreign dignitaries came to the June 30 opening dedication including U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, White House Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and United States Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

But Palestinian Arabs cried foul. Palestinians like PLO veteran Hanan Ashrawi said that the United States “will go to any length to show collusion, identification with and support for all these illegal acts, for the transformation of the character of Jerusalem.” A ridiculous charge which prompted Greenblatt to reply on Twitter that “we can’t ‘Judaize’ what history/archaeology show. We can acknowledge it; you can stop pretending it isn’t true! Peace can only be built on truth.

Traditionally, archaeologists need to destroy one layer of history to reveal the more ancient, but in Jerusalem today, the Israelis managed to uncover a 2,000-year old road used by pilgrims to ascend to the Jewish Temple Mount, while leaving the homes of modern day Arabs and Jews intact. It is a feat which sustains all truths, and underscores both the deep historic and religious ties of the Jewish people to their holiest city, while also respecting the modern sensitivities and political realities of the diverse modern capital city.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Jews of Jerusalem In Situ

Gimme that Old-Time Religion

The Cave of the Jewish Matriarch and Arab Cultural Appropriation

Squeezing Zionism

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

The New York Times will Keep on Telling You: Jews are not Native to Israel

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The Dark Side of Jerusalem Day: Magnifying the Kotel and Minimizing the Temple Mount

The Six Day War of June 1967 was remarkable in many ways, but it also led to shameful disappointments.

  • The Victory of War. Vastly outnumbered in people and armory, the Israeli army nevertheless triumphed over the surrounding Arab Muslim countries which sought to destroy the Jewish State.
  • Victory of Right. While Israel fought a preemptive battle against Egypt and Syria, making its argument of self-defense slightly tenuous, the battle against Jordan was 100% defensive, and therefore the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” is wholly irrelevant to Israel’s retaking of eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria which were an integral part of the Palestine Mandate and rightfully “reconstituting their national home in that country.
  • Victory of Rights. The Arab Muslims of Jordan ethnically cleansed the Jews from eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank and forbade Jews from visiting or praying in Jerusalem from 1949-1967, while the broader Muslim world under the Ottomans had banned Jews from entering or praying at the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs in Hebron for centuries. That ended in June 1967, as Jews were once again able to access their holiest and second holiest locations.

The victories were incredible and continue to be celebrated around the world in Jerusalem Day celebrations, highlighting the reunification of the city and Jewish control of their holiest city.

However, the Jewish generals and leaders of 1967 took two actions immediately after the victory which have led to a falsification of history and belief.

  • Giving Control of the Temple Mount to the Waqf. In an effort to end the war and keep the broader Muslim world from descending upon Israel, the Israeli government decided to hand control of the Temple Mount, the holiest location for Jews, to the Jordanian Waqf, who have maintained a policy of banning Jews from praying at the site to this day.
  • Clearing the Kotel Plaza. Arab homes had filled the area in front of the Kotel for centuries and the Israeli government quickly ordered the low-rise homes to be demolished to enable thousands of Jewish pilgrims to approach and pray en masse at the site.

Mughrabi Quarter before 1946

Clearing the Kotel Plaza, 1967
The combined efforts of giving away the Temple Mount and enlarging access to the Kotel has left the Jewish people and consequently the world with the false idea that the Kotel is the holiest place for Judaism. It is not, nor has it ever been. The Kotel, is just a large exposed segment of the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount built by King Herod 2,000 years earlier in an effort to give Jews greater access and movement on THE TEMPLE MOUNT, not so they’d worship a sliver of the wall which kept the mount from collapsing.

Now, some people even believe that the Kotel was actually the western wall of the Temple itself, also completely untrue.

Jerusalem Day is a moment to celebrate the incredible victory of Jews reestablishing their presence and rights in their holiest city. However, it is also a time to note how actions immediately after that victory reoriented our focus and prayers to a wall built by a mad king 2,000 years ago, rather than the “place which He will choose” (Deuteronomy 16:16), the Jewish Temple itself.


Related First One.Through articles:

It’s the Temple Mount, Not the Western Wall

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

Losing the Temples, Knowledge and Caring

It is Time to Insert “Jewish” into the Names of the Holy Sites

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