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April 06, 1984 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-04-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

22

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Students debate Jerusalem

BY HENRY SREBRNIK
Special to The Jewish News

ANN ARBOR — The
status of Jerusalem, always
a contentious issue, has be-
come front-page news as a
result of the U.S. President-
ial election campaign.
Democratic Party
Presidential candidates
nary Hart and Walter
Mondale, hoping to appeal
to Jewish voters in key pri-
mary states like New York,
have both in recent weeks
come out in favor of moving
the United States Embassy
from Tel Aviv to Israel's
capital. Daniel Patrick
Moynihan, the Senator
from New York, has intro-
duced legislation in Con-
gress which would require
the government to do just
that. Although Israel is the
only country in the world
where an American em-
bassy is located outside the
capital city, the Reagan
Administration has made it
clear it will oppose the
move.
It was within this context
that a number of students at
the University of Michigan
Hillel Foundation discussed
the question of Jerusalem
and its holy places at a sym-
posium held last week. The
students have been attend-
ing a two-month course
entitled "The Arab-Israeli
Conflict from the Perspec-
tive of International Law"
which was taught by Doron
Levinson. A former officer
in the Israeli Army who had
been badly wounded in the
1973 Yom Kippur War,
Levinson has since gone on
to obtain law degrees from
Tel Aviv University and
U-M. He is now studying
towards a doctorate at the
University of Michigan Law
School.
Levinson's course dealt
with the religious and secu-
rity importance of
Jerusalem, _i_nd itg status in
international law. Students
learned about the Balfour
Declaration, the League of
Nations Mandate assigned
to Great Britain in 1922, the
1947 United Nations parti-
tion resolution passed by
the General Assembly, and
the 1967 reunification of
West and East Jerusalem
after the Six-Day War.
Those students who spoke
at the symposium concen-
trated on the question of Is-
raeli rights over both the old
and new cities of Jerusalem,
as well as the future of the
holy sites.

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The students agreed that,
before 1917, the Ottoman
Empire had sovereignty
over all of Palestine, includ-
ing Jerusalem. This was
tranferred to the victorious
Allied Powers after World
War I; in turn, the League of
Nations, with England as
the Mandatory power, was
granted the power to govern
Palestine.
However, the League
ceased to exist as a result of
World War II, and it is un-
clear whether its rule in
Palestine devolved upon the
UN. In any case, the No-
vember 1947 partition reso-
lution, which called for
Arab and Jewish states, the

Doron Levinson

internationalization of
Jerusalem, and an economic
union, was not legally bind-
ing, but only a recom-
mendation, and the Arab re-
jected it.
In effect, there was a
"sovereignty vacuum" in
Jerusalem in 1947 — it was
terra nullius, "a land with-
out owners." In such cases,
sovereignty is a matter of
"first come, first served,"
though it can only be ac-
quired through lawful acts.
In 1948, upon being invaded
by its Arab neighbors, Is-
rael used the right of self-
defense, in accordance with
Article 51 of the UN Char-
ter, and thus acquired
rights over the western part
of Jerusalem. In February
1949, the Knesset moved to
Jerusalem and the city be-
came Israel's capital.
Jordan, on the other
hand, entered the Old City
of Jerusalem unlawfully in
1948 — articles 2(4) and (6)
call on all states to refrain
from the use of force to settle
disputes — and annexed it
illegally in 1950. Jordan's
19-year rule in East
Jerusalem was marked by
desecration of the Old City's
synagogues, the vandaliza-
tion of the ancient Jewish
Quarter and the destruction
of Jewish cemeteries. There
were occasional border inci-
dents involving snipings,
resulting in deaths. The
Jordanians also refused
Jews access to the Western
Wall, contrary to their
commitments.

Since Jordan attacked Is-
rael in 1967, the Jewish
state acted lawfully in tak-
ing over the Old City. Israel
has legal sovereignty over
both sectors of Jerusalem,
the students concluded.
Since the reunification of
Jerusalem, Moslems, Chris-
tians and Jews have all
been free to visit their re-
spective holy places. Yet
there are those who remain
opposed, and have brought
forward alternatives, in-
cluding the -full inter-
nationalization of
Jerusalem; making the Old
City a mini-state, like the
Vatican; creating a bi-
national Israeli and Jorda-
nian administration in the
Old City; and even re-
partitioning Jerusalem be-
tween Israel and a future
Palestinian state.
These ideas, it was de-
cided, were both impractical
and unnecessary. In any
case, Jerusalem is more im-
portant to Jews than it is to
Christians and Moslems;

only under Jewish jurisdic-
tion has it been a capital,
never under Arab or Tur-
kish rule. It is the living
center of the Jewish faith.
Some also felt the Arabs
could not be trusted with
control of the holy places,
given Jordan's record.
The symposium was par-
ticularly outraged by the
American reluctance to
move the embassy. "The
U.S. has no right to deter-
mine where a country's cap-
ital is," said one, and there
should certainly be no ques-
tion about Israel's tenure in
West Jerusalem. Another
felt it was "ridiculous" that
such a proposal should be
construed as pro-Israeli — it
was only common sense. Is-
rael, it should be remem-
bered, was an American
ally, and gave more support
to the U.S. in the United
Nations than did any other
country. "Evenhandedness"
on the part of Washington
just got both the Arabs and
the Israelis angry.
Apart from finding it "in-
comprehensible" that the
embassy was not located in
Jerusalem, the seminar also
disapproved of another dip-
lomatic anomaly: the fact
that the U.S. maintains a
consulate in Jerusalem
which operates totally in-
dependently of the Tel Aviv
embassy and reports di-
rectly to Washington. This,
too, was a way of signalling
that the U.S. did not recog-
nize Israeli sovereignty in
the city. One student felt
the consulate_ should at
least answer to the em-
bassy, "until we get a
President courageous
enough to move the em-
bassy to Jerusalem."

Haddad's
successor
takes over

Tel Aviv (JTA) — Gen.
Antoine Lahad, a Maronite
Christian, took command
Wednesday of the South
Lebanon Army (SLA), suc-
ceeding the late Maj. Saad
Haddad who was Israel's
closest ally in Lebanon until
his death Jan. 14.
Haddad, who was post-
humously promoted to the
rank of colonel, commanded
what was then known as the
Christian militia in south
Lebanon although many of
its soldiers were Shiite Mos-
lems. He was consulted on
the appointment of Lahad to
succeed him as a comman-
der of the newly formed
SLA, to which he agreed
shortly before his death.
The succession was not
immediately announced in
order to allow Lahad time to
move his 'parents, wife and
son safely from northern
Lebanon to their new home
at Marjayoun.
Lahad is believed to be a
follower of former President.
Camille Chamoun who
backs the government of
President Amin Gemayel.
He is said to consider Leba-
non a multi-ethnic society,
an outlook which satisfies
the Israelis who are the
SLA's main supporters.

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