Thursday, May 21, 2009
Today is יום ירושלים, Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day in Israel.
It's a national holiday commemorating the reunification of David's City by the IDF during the Six Day War.
It's odd to reflect that it only happened by chance. The Israeli government had appealed to Jordan's King Hussein, who had illegally occupied the eastern part of the city in 1948 to stay out of the fighting.
Had he done so, Jerusalem would not have been reunited on that day. Instead Hussein listened to Egypt's dictator Gamel Abdul Nasser, who told him that the Israeli Air Force had been destroyed and that Egyptian troops were marching on Tel Aviv. Not wanting to miss out on the jihad against the Jews and the anticipated plunder, Hussein treacherously began shelling civilians in Israel and sent Jordan's Arab Legion into battle - where they were decisively defeated.
The battle for Jerusalem took place on Ammunition Hill, where the Jordanians had a military base. The Israelis didn't want to bomb it because of the risk of civilian casualties, so they stormed it with ground troops belonging to the Israeli 3rd company of the 66th Battalion, paratrooper's brigade. The battle took about 4 1/2 hours over rugged terrain with the Arab Legion firing down from the heights at the paratroopers, and 37 Israeli soldiers were killed in the battle in one of the bloodier battles of the war. Ten of the soldiers who fought at Ammunition Hill were given citations, and the site is a national memorial today.
It's also the site where the traditional Jerusalem Day Ceremony is held.
Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu, just back from Washington had a few things to say to mark the event:
"Jerusalem was always ours and will always be ours. It will never again be partitioned and divided," Netanyahu said at the official state ceremony marking Jerusalem Day and the reunification of the capital during the Six Day War 42 years ago.
"Only under Israeli sovereignty will united Jerusalem ensure the freedom of religion and freedom of access for the three religions to the holy places," he added.
As I mentioned yesterday, I think the rumors about Obama Administration officials promising half of Jerusalem to the Palestinians are a case of the Arabs hearing what they want to.
While President Obama might like the ideas, he's at least intelligent enough to understand that there's no way Netanyahu would agree to it, nor would the members of his coalition...or the Israeli public. it's a red line, and trying to force Israel to yield it up would pretty much be the end of any kind of harmonious relationship between the Obama administration and Israel, and end any leverage Obama might have on Netanyahu.Even Shimon Peres wouldn't acquiesce to it - although Tzipi Livni probably would, in a heartbeat.
The only way Obama could get Israel to give up Jerusalem would be to use US troops to try and conquer it, and while an attempt to do that is not totally out of the realm of possibility with this president and his pro-Arab appointees, I don't see it happening.
Why are the Jews so unwilling to let the Arabs have any control over Jerusalem? Maybe because they've seen how that works in the past.
After the Jordanians took over the Eastern part of Jerusalem in 1948, they killed or drove out every Jew who lived there - which is how it became, in that phrase so beloved by al-Reuters, the AP and the BBC, 'traditionally Arab East Jerusalem'.Many of the Palestinians who claim they've 'lived in Jerusalem for generations' are squatters who appropriated Jewish homes after the residents were killed or exiled.
The Jordanians demolished half of the Old City's fifty-eight synagogues, and the historic Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives was plundered for its tombstones, which were used as paving stones and building materials. Some of the synagogues were turned into public latrines. The area around the Western Wall, Judaism's most sacred site, was turned into a public dump.
Since Arafat took over, the Palestinians have made a point of defiling or destroying any Jewish Holy sites that are in the areas of Judea and Samaria (AKA the West bank) that they occupy, like the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron or Joseph's tomb.
And, oh yes..that was just another of those pesky Oslo requirements Arafat agreed to and never even bothered to look like he was fulfilling.
Any other country but Israel would have driven him and his friends over the borders and disposed of the problem once and for all. As a matter of fact, a lot of Arab countries like Jordan, Kuwait and Iraq did just that.
No, the Israelis are going to be hanging on to Jerusalem. It's theirs, no matter how much some of the thieves around them might want to steal it and desecrate it. The blood price was paid a long time ago.