The UN on the Status of Jerusalem

UN Secretary-General António Guterres spoke to the General Assembly on May 20, 2021 as the latest battle between HAMAS and Israel was coming to a close. He spoke of the status of Jerusalem several times:

  • “I am also deeply concerned by the continuation of violent clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, where several Palestinian families are under the threat of eviction.”
  • “I urge Israel to cease demolitions and evictions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.  All settlement activities, including evictions and demolitions, are illegal under international law.”
  • Jerusalem is a holy city for three world religions.  I underscore that the status quo at the holy sites must be upheld and respected.”
  • “We must work towards a resumption of negotiations that will address the status of Jerusalem and other final status issues, end the occupation and allow for the realization of a two-State solution on the basis of the 1967 lines, United Nations resolutions, international law and mutual agreements, with Jerusalem as capital of both Israel and Palestine.”

Note how the UNSG switched between “East Jerusalem” and “Jerusalem.” He referred to it as an actual place when connected to the “occupied West Bank” but conceded that it is a single city otherwise.

When it came to East Jerusalem, he stated that Arabs have rights to live there while Jews have none. Any house where a Jew lives was transformed into a “settlement” even a building which he owns and where his ancestors lived.

As it relates to the “status quo at the holy sites” which currently includes a ban on Jewish prayer at their holiest location of the Jewish Temple Mount, Guterres wants that ban to remain in place. He also appears to want the Arab squatters in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood which refuse to pay rent to the Jewish owners, to be able to remain. However, he seemingly wants to see all the Jews living in “East Jerusalem” to be expelled from the city, as they are doing so illegally “under international law.”

Sheik Jarrah neighborhood as mapped out by Pro-Palestinian group Peace Now. Homes where Jews live are considered “settlements” while other homes get no special markings.

Guterres also called for resumption of negotiations between the parties but simultaneously called for the outcomes favored by the Palestinians: that the negotiating position starts from “the 1967 lines” and that Jerusalem will be the “capital of both Israel and Palestine,” positions not favored by Israel.

The various positions show inconsistency in application, unless viewed as seeking outcomes favored by Arabs.

If the United Nations favors the “status quo” on matters like the ban of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount and protecting the residence of Palestinian squatters, it implicitly recognizes all Jews already living in East Jerusalem and should no longer call them “settlers.” If the UN seeks coexistence between Jews and Arabs, it should support full equal rights for Jews on the Temple Mount, and for Arabs and Jews to live together freely as they choose throughout Jerusalem. Lastly, if the UN wants the two parties to negotiate a peace, it should allow the parties to do so without prejudging an outcome on particular issues.

But the UN doesn’t truly support the status quo, coexistence or a peace negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians. The UN only backs the Palestinians, its adopted wards, which makes it impossible for the organization to play a constructive role between the parties. It also underscores the importance for the United States to remain squarely behind Israel.


Related First One Through articles:

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

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

The Legal Israeli Settlements

Jerusalem Population Facts

Abbas’s Harmful East Jerusalem Fantasy

The Green Line Through Jerusalem

The Remarkable Tel Jerusalem

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English Lesson: Eviction, Expulsion and Ethnic Cleansing

Progressive politicians and the left-wing media are using three terms interchangeably regarding Arab residents of Jewish Israeli-owned homes in the Sheikh Jarrah section of Jerusalem. Doing so is not only inaccurate but inflammatory.

Here is a primer to understand the difference of the terms:

  • Eviction is the act of removing a single entity (person/ family) from a single location.
  • Expulsion is the act of removing a single entity from an entire region.
  • Ethnic Cleansing is the act of removing an entire ethnic/ religious group from an entire region.

The situation in Sheikh Jarrah is an eviction. It pertains to Arab squatters who have not paid rent to their landlords for several years. These tenants are not being forced from the neighborhood and are free to move into adjacent apartment buildings inside of Jerusalem. The Israeli courts, which have jurisdiction on the matter whether someone believes that the eastern section of Jerusalem is Israel or believes Israel is responsible as the “Occupying Force,” ruled that the evictions are legal.

This case is discrete. Israel is not involved in a massive expulsion of Arab residents from Jerusalem. As proof, from 1980, the year Israel formalized Jerusalem as its eternal undivided capital in its Basic Laws, until 2019, the Arab population in Jerusalem grew 3.4 times, dwarfing the Jewish population growth rate which was only 1.9 times over that period. The number of households (homes/ apartments) for Arabs rose 188% since 1990 compared to just 64% for Jews. Further, all Arab residents can apply for Israeli citizenship and these past few years have seen a spike in Arabs becoming Israelis.

In sharp contrast, an example of ethnic cleansing can be seen by what the Jordanian Arabs did to Jews in Jerusalem from 1948 to 1954. First they invaded Israel and killed or expelled all of the Jews from the “West Bank” region they illegally seized. They destroyed 58 synagogues in the Old City of Jerusalem and barred any Jews from even visiting their holiest location during their duration of illegal rule. And they annexed the entire area including eastern Jerusalem, passed a law making it illegal to sell land to Jews and granted citizenship to anyone “not being Jewish.

That’s actual ethnic cleansing, which is a very different dynamic than Arab residents of Jerusalem have experienced under Israeli rule.

But the alt-left is doing its utmost to paint Israel as racist:

  • Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) said that Israel “is practicing ethnic cleansing.
  • Ilhan Omar (D-MN) saidThis [Jerusalem] deputy mayor is describing ethnic cleansing here, yet everyone is [sic] the West is pretending that’s not what’s happening to Palestinians.
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke about “the expulsions of Palestinians.
  • The New York Times wrote about “the plight of six Palestinian families facing expulsion from their homes.

These lies have inflamed the passions of radical jihadists. Hundreds of people have died and millions of dollars of damage has been done in large part because of the incitement.

Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, who has has often been accused of anti-Semitism, lead the false charge against Israel of an “ethnic cleansing” of Jerusalem Arabs. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) 

Progressive politicians and the far left media have a direct hand in the deaths and injuries of hundreds of Arabs and Jews in and around Israel over the past weeks. While their lies and smears caused horrific damage thousands of miles away, it is a price the alt-left is willing to pay to boost their bona fides with anti-Zionist extremists who support them and keep them in positions of influence.


Related First One Through articles:

The Original Nakba: The Division of “TransJordan”

The Three Camps of Ethnic Cleansing in the BDS Movement

“Ethnic Cleansing” in Israel and the Israeli Territories

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

NY Times Select “Evictions” in Jerusalem

Will the UN Demand a Halt to Arabs Moving to Jerusalem?

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Does the UN Only Grant Inalienable Rights to Palestinians?

On November 10, 1975, the United Nations went on an anti-Zionism tear. There were two disgraceful resolutions passed on that day, UNGA 3376 and 3379. UNGA 3379 was known as the “Zionism is Racism” resolution which uniquely defined the national aspirations of Jews to reestablish their homeland as racist. It took until 1991 for the United States to successfully repeal that resolution.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then the American ambassador to the United Nations, addresses the U.N. General Assembly on Nov. 10, 1975, the day the General Assembly adopted the “Zionism is racism” resolution. Moynihan said that the U.S. “will never acquiesce in this infamous act.”

However, UNGA 3376 still lives and threatens. It established the “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.” The committee granted special “inalienable” rights only to Palestinian Arabs, that they alone had the right to “national independence and sovereignty.” Do the Kurds have that right? What about Yazidis? How about Nevadans? No one has the right to an independent state, only to self-determination.

The committee also enshrined “The exercise by Palestinians of their inalienable right to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted.

If the United Nations maintains the position that Palestinians have the “inalienable right” to move into homes that ancestors lived in during the 1940’s (even if they were just renting or the homes no longer exist), that same logic demands that Jews must be able to move into the homes that they own and lived in the Sheik Jarrah section of Jerusalem before being expelled by the invading Jordanian army. Either the UN must support the eviction of the Arab squatters in Sheik Jarrah today or nullify the right of return for all Palestinians.

The US may have prevailed at eliminating a single “Zionism is Racism” resolution in 1991, but the Biden administration is seemingly fine with the UN still treating the Jewish State with utter contempt and complete hypocrisy as it manufactures special rules uniquely for Palestinian Arabs.


Related First One Through articles:

Time to Dissolve Key Principles of the “Inalienable Rights of Palestinians”

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

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

A Tale of Three Palestinian Refugees, With and Without UNRWA

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