|Palace of King Hussein, as seen from a suburb|
of northern Jerusalem. It's the flat topped structure
on the crest of the hill in the distance.
Then, in an unconscionable act of self-tribute, the Jordanian king built himself a large mansion on a Jerusalem hill-top that we can see as we type these words.
Ostensibly a tribute to his dominion over a city holy to three religions, it serves as an indictment of his hypocrisy and that of the nations of the world who were evidently content with what was done by and in the name of the Hashemite regime to eastern Jerusalem and its historical and religious uniqueness during those nineteen miserable years.
The war of 1967 that was explicitly intended to drive the Israeli Jews into the sea (a euphemism for mass killing) resulted in the east and west parts of Jerusalem being reunited under Israeli rule. The city began to flourish in ways that it had not for two thousand years. Its splendour today is greater than at any time in the past. The freedoms it offers its residents and visitors in 2012 are the polar opposite of how things were when the Jordanians ruled.
|The same palace from a closer vantage point.|
Construction was interrupted (permanently)
by the astonishing events of June 1967
Throughout those dark years of Jordanian control, tourists entering East Jerusalem had to present baptismal certificates or other proof they were not Jewish [source]. Under the Jordanians, the ancient Jewish Quarter and its ancient synagogues were systematically destroyed, and gravestones from the Jewish Cemetery on the Mount of Olives were used to build latrines for Jordanian army barracks. These were among the blackest years of one of the world's oldest and most important cities.
Mahmoud Abbas stands at the head of the PLO today. Carefully ignoring the infamy of those 19 years of Arab rule in half of Jerusalem - the only Arab rule the city has ever known - he has propounded an invented heritage and a bill of complaints, both of them fashioned from ideological claims, both of them bearing only the slightest connection to the reality of then or now.
We want to defer to the excellent Elder of Ziyon blog which has some sharp observations to make about this major event. Elder quotes from the conference keynote speech delivered this morning Mahmoud Abbas which is notable for its distortions, inaccuracies and air of incitement.
Elder quotes Abbas saying this:
"The Israeli occupation authorities, using the ugliest and most dangerous methods, are accelerating in an unprecedented way the implementation of plans ...to erase and remove the Arab-Islamic and the Christian character of East Jerusalem. The occupying power is attempting to change the parameters and the structure of the Maqdisi scene the smallest details, believing they can wipe from the memory of the world and consciousness that are immediately evoked by the name of Jerusalem the image of the shimmering golden Dome of the Rock, the remarkable image of the juxtaposition of the brotherhood of the minarets of mosques and the domes of the churches, in the shadow of the city walls that are witness to the history and memories and facts, and the illusion that they are able to replace them, and bring a different scene serving illusions of superstition and arrogance of power, and they are by virtue of brute force that are able to invent history and install their allegations, and the abolition of facts, religious and historical."
"Abbas here is not claiming that the Jews are trying to destroy the Dome of the Rock. He is referring to the building of synagogues in the Old City, specifically the Hurva. When the Hurva was rebuilt and dedicated, on the exact spot that it had been destroyed by Jordanian troops along with some fifty other Jerusalem synagogues in 1948, the major objection by Palestinian Arabs was that - given that the Jewish Quarter is on a hill - the Hurva's dome is taller than that of the Dome of the Rock. (Islamic law says that the tallest structure in a city must be a mosque.) So now photos of the skyline of the Old City prominently show a synagogue, just as they did before 1948. This is what Abbas is objecting to, as he hypocritically is claiming that Israel is fabricating history of the city. And he himself is now claiming that Jerusalem historically only had churches and mosques - but no synagogues. In other words, the liar Abbas is trying to destroy the Jewish character of Jerusalem, today, while he falsely claims that Israel is destroying its Christian and Muslim character... Israel demolished the area in front of the Kotel in 1967 in order for Jews to be able to worship there, as the Arab homes there would have made that impossible..."
"Abbas is stating as fact that Israel plans to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque, a lie designed to incite Muslims to rise up against Jews. He is also lying in saying that Israeli archaeological work has not found any evidence of Jewish history in Jerusalem. In fact, the most important findings in recent years came not from Israeli digs - but from sifting the discarded remains of the disgusting wanton destruction of priceless artifacts by the Waqf on the Temple Mount, in the news again today. Beyond that there have been exciting findings nearly every week that prove beyond all doubt the ancient Jewish character of the city - as if that is even in dispute by anyone... Of course, Jews have formed the majority of Jerusalem's population since the mid-1800s. And there is no "ethnic cleansing" - there are more Arabs in Jerusalem now than at any time in history."
"The occupation authorities [he means the Government of the State of Israel] work through the impoverishment of the holy city and the destruction of its infrastructure and hit its economy, which has always been in all ages the booming center and head of economic activity and tourism, medical, educational, and an incubator for cultural, intellectual and artistic endeavors in Palestine."
Elder reminds us that
"Between 1948 and 1967, Jerusalem was a neglected backwater of the Arab world. There were essentially no Muslim pilgrims going there. And while thousands of Christians would indeed visit Jerusalem every Easter, that number increased dramatically after Israel regained possession of the holy city."
This cannot be because international law supported the Jordanians. The opposite is true: Jordan’s annexation of Jerusalem - the so-called Greater Syria Plan - was treated as illegal and void by almost everyone including the Arab states. Great Britain, Iraq and Pakistan formally recognized it, but no one else did.
More importantly, Jerusalem's Arab residents who are so careful to term themselves Palestinians today accepted it, if their actions are a guide. The total number of emergency sessions of the UN Security Council called to deal with the Jordanian Arab occupation of the Holy City throughout all the years of its occupation was of course zero.