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Divide Jerusalem? A Dangerous Decision!

December 10, 2007
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Jerusalem is at the front and center of peace negotiations once again, and we should not be surprised. The prophet Zechariah said, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it” (12:2–3, NKJV)

On December 20, 2000, US President Bill Clinton proposed the division of Jerusalem to Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiators Ben-Ami (Foreign Minister) and Saeb Erekat. Clinton’s proposal read: “The general principle is that Arab areas are Palestinian, and Jewish ones are Israeli. This would apply to the Old City as well. I urge the two sides to work on maps to create maximum contiguity for both sides.” Today, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and PA leadership want the same and, maybe for the first time, they have an Israeli government willing to cooperate.

In March 2006, Ehud Olmert was the acting prime minister of Israel. He and his Kadima party officials made it known that they were ready to divide Jerusalem and allow a Palestinian state to be established in parts of Jerusalem. “The Old City, Mount Scopus, the Mount of Olives, the City of David, [and] Sheikh Jarra will remain in our hands, but…Kafr Akeb, Abu-Ram, Shuafat, Hizma, Abu-Zaim, Abu Tur, [and] Abu Dis, in the future, when the Palestinian state is established…will become its capital,” said Otniel Schneller, who represented Kadima at a debate on dividing Jerusalem a year ago. When pressed on Kadima’s policy, Schneller said, “We will not divide Jerusalem, we will share it.”

Rice has been appointed as the chairman for the peace talks set for Annapolis, Maryland, in November. As the month approached, she stepped up her visits to Jerusalem and Ramallah.PA negotiators described the agenda for Annapolis as “difficult and complicated.” They referred to “a package of items” that are proving difficult to resolve, and top of the list is Jerusalem, they said. However, the major debate may not take place in Annapolis, but in Jerusalem itself.

1949: Jerusalem, Israel’s “Heart of Hearts”

Zionists believe the return of the Jewish people to Eretz Israel in 1948 was a fulfillment of prophecy. For centuries, the Jewish people scattered around the world and, more recently, imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps prayed, “Next year in Jerusalem!” The fire of faith remained vibrantly aflame despite repeated persecution and attempts to douse the Jewish fervor.

In the 1948 War of Independence, Jordanian forces captured east Jerusalem, including the Old City, and the Jewish people had to flee the Jewish Quarter. In December 1949, Israel’s first prime minister David Ben Gurion said it was essential for Israel to maintain its presence in Jerusalem: “Jewish Jerusalem is an organic and inseparable part of the State of Israel, as it is an inseparable part of the history of Israel and the faith of Israel and of the very soul of our people. Jerusalem is the heart of hearts of the State of Israel.”

1967: “We Shall Never Move Out of Here!”

For 19 years, Israel watched Jordanian forces trash their old quarter and desecrate their synagogues and the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives. Jewish people were denied access to the Western Wall. In the 1967 Six Day War, Israel Defense Forces retook east Jerusalem, including the Western Wall. Among many memorable moments from that historic occasion are words handed down with passion and pride by the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Rabbi Kook. At the conclusion of the war, he declared, “Never Again!” Israel had returned to the Western Wall never to leave. “We shall never move out of here!” The secular General Moshe Dayan said, ”We have returned to our most holy places; we have returned, and we shall never leave them!” He then gave orders for all the city gates to be opened and the barbed wire and mines to be removed.

The outpouring of joy flowed from the long biblical link to the Land, part of the fiber and essential life-source of the Jewish people. Vitality and Jewish exuberance returned to the city. New suburbs were created. Ramot Eshkol, French Hill, Nevah Ya’akov, and Gilo were settled and thrive to this day. In 1982, the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) passed a law declaring that the two parts of Jerusalem, east and west, would be an undivided city and the capital of the State of Israel.

2007: Jerusalem on the “Operating Table”

www.israelimages.com/Israel Talby These events were all seen as coming to pass because of the faithfulness of the Lord to His promises. Now, strong voices are prepared to put the City of Jerusalem ”on the table,” and many see this decision as a reward for terrorism, suicide bombings, and systematic, sustained abuse of numerous “peace” agreements. Just weeks ago, the Yesha (Judea and Samaria) Rabbis Council, headed by Rabbis Dov Lior and Zalman Melamed, issued a declaration that began thus: “We have been stunned and shocked to hear of the intentions of our enemies from within and without, who speak openly about giving away and abandoning the Temple Mount and parts of the Jewish people’s eternal capital.”

Rabbi Yisrael Rosenne, head of the Zomet Institute for Jewish Law, Technology, and Modern Society, made his own appeal for wisdom in the peace process, but his advice came with a surprising twist. In his weekly column for his synagogue pamphlet, Rosenne wrote: “Once again, Jerusalem is under the knife on the operating table!…Once again, a trial balloon is sent off toward the Israeli public to see how it will respond to major concessions…But Master of the Universe, from how many national and security assets must we divest ourselves? We have conceded and conceded, and made gesture after gesture, and have freed thousands of dangerous terrorists—but did all this move anyone on the other side? Have we heard even the slightest beep of true peace over there?”

General Moshe Dayan Then came the surprise! “In truth, if I thought there was on the horizon a chance for true negotiations that would bring a lasting resolution, I would not balk at the idea of trading territories and their populations. Given the situation in which we live, there is room to talk about transferring Um El-Fahm and environs to Palestinian Authority responsibility, in exchange for the settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria.” Rosenne later told Arutz-7 (October 19, 2007) that he was not referring only to the three settlement blocs that the government is currently insisting on retaining: Maaleh Adumim, Gush Katif, and Ariel, but also the “western Shomron and the Binyamin areas,…Kedumim, etc.”

Pat Robertson, veteran US evangelical who owns the Christian Broadcasting Network, has warned against any nation promoting the division of Jerusalem. “He that touches Jerusalem touches the apple of God’s eye. And if we decide we’re going to wrest east Jerusalem away from the Jews and give it over to the Palestinians (sic), we’re risking the wrath of God on this nation (USA), and I think it’s very dangerous,” he warned.

In a chapter entitled, “The Significance of Jerusalem” (from Israel and the Church: God’s Road Map, see page 18 of this Dispatch), John Anthony asks and answers a very important question: “Why does Jerusalem continue to be at the center of the struggle for peace in the Middle East? The answer is simple. God loves her, and Satan hates her. The Land of Israel and the Holy City of Jerusalem were chosen to play a central role in God’s plan for the world.”

By Ron Ross, BFP Israel Mosaic Radio

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