Jerusalem is one of the most wounded holy cities of all time.
Jerusalem is a holy city for mainstream religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This city is not new to face violence and conflicts. History witnesses off and on bloodshed for the control of the city. Today, it is sandwiched between Israel and Palestine. America, known as a Christian country among the Palestinians, is inclined towards the Israeli claims. Even many argue that the supremacist president is installed by the US authorities only for handing over the holy city to the occupiers. The debate about whether the city mainly belongs to which religion is very wide, but the harshest tussle started since the inception of Israel. Various authorities have different claims regarding the city and its control. Arab states and Israel have been tossing the fate of the holy city much quickly since 1948, fighting two further wars in 1967 and 1973. The intifadas were also highly instinctive towards winning Jerusalem back. Jerusalem has also been the bone of contention between Iran-Israel rivalry. The city has also been the nucleus to form Hamas, PLO, PIJ (Palestine Islamic Jihad Movement) and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.
Keywords: Jerusalem, Palestine, Israel, Israeli settlements, Jews, US, Trump.
Exhausted from the Second World War, Britain threw the towel off her burden on the UN to decide the fate of Palestinians and Jews to be settled there. United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) was made and new Jewish land was installed in the region, with Jerusalem under UN control. The newly independent Arab community did not like this move by the international community and the US recognition of Israel added salt in the injury. In 1948, Egypt and Jordan mainly declared war against the only Jewish state but they were defeated. The war is known as ‘The Nakba’ (catastrophe) in Arabs and the war of Independence among the Jews of Israel. Around 700,000 Palestinians were displaced with complete devastation of their villages, towns, and cities. Even Jordan (then Transjordan) annexed West Bank and Egypt captured Gaza Strip, leaving the Palestinians stateless. Though Jerusalem was not harmed with great intensity but Israel with US recognition and with her victory must have found the courage to annex Jerusalem in the future, which she did today.
The strained relations between Israel and the Arabs got worse when Israel invaded the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt during the Suez Crisis of the year 1956. Israel was also guaranteed that the Straits of Tiran, which Egypt had blocked since 1950, would remain open. In May 1967, the Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser announced to close the straits for the Israeli vessels and then mobilized Egyptian forces on Egypt’s borders with Israel. Israelis got the Egyptian forces with a surprise attack and got air supremacy. Jordan and Syria also joined Abdel Nasser’s forces to counter Israel but they could not do so. Israel captured Sinai and Gaza, snatching these areas from Egypt, got control of the Golan Heights beating Syria there and Jordan lost the control of the West Bank. Israel also got control of the East Jerusalem and her pride of gaining victories made her firm to gain grounds on the city and this is what she did, Israeli Jews started settling in East Jerusalem.
Six years later, on October 6, 1973, another war broke between Israel and the Arabs (Egypt and Syria). The war started on Yom Kippur (Holiest day in Judaism) and also occurred during the Islamic holy month of Ramzan. The war again resulted in the favor of Israel as 5,000 Egyptian forces, 8,000 Syrian soldiers and 2,688 Israeli soldiers were killed till the end of the war. But the surprise attack had jolted Israel as well. “Mighty Israel was caught with its pants down in 1973”, was how one Israeli scholar put it. Despite initial losses, Israel’s grip over East Jerusalem was firmer. The settlement took place not only in East Jerusalem but also in the West Bank and other parts of Palestine.
Camp David Accords of 1978, signed by the Egyptian Premier Anwar Sadat, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in the presence of the US president Jimmy Carter, proved Israel a mightier nation than the all Arab states of the region.
To cut the story short, the main achievement for the Israeli Jews was the victory of 1967, which multiplied Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem. For instance, in December 2012 the Israeli authorities approved plans to build 1,500 more homes at a Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem. Today, 400,000 almost exclusively Jewish citizens of Israel; East Jerusalem settlements are inhabited by over 300,000 Israeli citizens (both Jewish citizens of Israel and Arab citizens of Israel); and over 20,000 Israeli citizens live in settlements in the Golan Heights. Hagit Ofran, a lady living in the occupied territory told an international media news network, “The fact is that Israel is doing it (occupation) unilaterally (and she) is telling the world that we (Israelis) are not going to peace but we are going to annexation.”
If you are still not convinced that Jerusalem is for sale, then here is another example for proving my argument. On December 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump announced the United States recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the planning of the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. On the day of moving the capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, 58 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli forces, the highest single-day death toll since the 2014 conflict between Israel and Gaza. The Israeli officials claimed that the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and the Israeli government defended the use of force as necessary due to rocks and explosives thrown by protesters. The location of the relocated embassy is at the former site of the neighborhood of Arona, in West Jerusalem. This simply means that Israel is now not only looking to annex the Eastern parts of Jerusalem but also the West of the city with American support.
Last blow to prove my argument is Trump’s so-called Peace Plan. It is a proposal by US President Donald Trump and his administration to resolve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict. Trump formally unveiled the plan in a White House press conference alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on January 28, 2020, where Palestinian representatives were not invited. The plan was authored by a team led by Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner. Both the West Bank settlers’ Yesha Council and the Palestinian leadership rejected the plan: the former because it envisaged a Palestinian state, the latter arguing it is too biased in favor of Israel. The plan is divided into two parts, an economic portion, and a political portion. On June 22, 2019, the Trump administration released the economic portion of the plan, titled “Peace to Prosperity”. The political portion was released in late January 2020.
To conclude, Jerusalem is one of the most wounded holy city for a very long time. The weak always suffer and the powerful always dominate and this is what exactly happening in the holy city of Jerusalem today. Even many Jews claim that God has promised them in the divine scripture that the Jews will return one day to their city (Jerusalem) and that day has arrived. The claimers are not only the passerby but also many high-rank office-holders who are proud to stress the claim. For instance, Dany Dayan, a former chairperson of Yesha Settlers Council in the occupied West Bank, also argues that the Jews are returning to their land and the Israeli settlements are irreversible.