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January 06, 1989 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-01-06

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PURELY COMMENTARY

United Jerusalem

Continued from Page 2

They could and should be im-
plemented independently of
political developments
elsewhere, and without waiting
to see what will be the future of
the West Bank and Gaza. The
future of Jerusalem is to remain
united and the capital of Israel,
under the overall sovereignty of
Israel.
There is, however, room for
functional division of authority,
for internal autonomy of each
community and for functional
sovereignty. This would go a
long way toward showing that a
Jerusalem united and shared is
not an obstacle to negotiations;
on the contrary, it would be a
significant contribution to the
creation of a climate conducive
to constructive bargaining.
Teddy Kollek provides an opportuni-
ty for world diplomats to treat the
anguished subject of Jerusalem with
the pragmatism vitally needed for
dignity and respect toward concerns im-
bedded in religious disputes that have
been transformed into antagonisms. All
faiths are treated with dignity in his
proposals and in his leadership.
Nevertheless, he does not submit to
suicidal threats. His plan for action is
within the scope of Jerusalem's historic
position and its adaption as the capital
of Israel.
In a matter of days after the U.S.
concession to meet with the PLO,
former U.S. Ambassador to the United
Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick was in
Israel. In a column written in
Jerusalem she was skeptical of the
latest U.S. attitudes. Fully aware of dire
consequences, she warned against con-
cessions upon our government.
Kirkpatrick gave serious considera-
tion to the Jerusalem aspect of the new-
ly developing situation. She met with
Mayor Teddy Kollek. Her column
quoted this important comment by
Kollek on the status of Jerusalem:

There is also no doubt about
the unacceptability of these ob-
jectives to virtually all Israelis.
That most generous inclusive
Israeli politician, Jerusalem
Mayor Teddy Kollek, stressed to
me this week: "Whatever Arafat
may say, it is impossible to ac-
cept any change in Jerusalem's
status as one united city, under
Israeli sovereignty and as
capital of the state of Israel. Any
attempt or suggestion to change
this situation means . . . return-
ing to the difficult days of a
divided and neglected city, cleft
by high walls and barbed wire.
"Only under Israeli rule has
the city known conservation of
his historical heritage, freedom
of worship and free access for
all to the holy places of all faiths,
and guaranteed rights for all the
religions and nationalities in the
city." These rights, he said, were
denied when Jordan ruled
Jerusalem (1948-1967).
Kollek further emphasized
that "despite the difficulties, the
tensions and the distressing
events that have occurred in the

38

FRIDAY, JANUARY 6, 1989

Teddy Kollek

city, there is a firm consensus in
Israel to live in peace in
Jerusalem."
What then does the future
hold? A confrontation between
the PLO and the State of Israel
with the United States in the
middle.
At issue are the PLO objec-
tives stated in Algiers and
Israel's survival as a sovereign
state. The West Bank may be
negotiable. Gaza may be
negotiable. A Palestinian state
with its capital in Jerusalem is
not negotiable to virtually any
Israeli.
There is nothing a conversa-
tion between the American am-
bassador to Tunisia and the
PLO representatives can do to
resolve this conflict.
It is hard to understand why
Ronald Reagan, George Shultz,
George Bush and Jim Baker
decided to insert the United
States into the middle of so dif-
ficult a conflict. Presumably,
they found the pressure to
negotiate difficult to bear. Wait
until they feel the pressure to
concede.
As mayor of Jerusalem, Kollek has
established a record for fairness that
has won wide admiration. He continues
to strive for a "United Jerusalem" with
justice for Jew, Arab and Christian.
Therefore the emphasis for "sharing" in
the Foreign Affairs article.
This is where he shows the
plausibility of action predicated on
cooperation from all elements in a
population with scores of religious
tendencies and with as many
prejudices.
Kollek's summary of his proposal
for unity demands serious consideration
by all concerned. He asserts in his
outlined invitation for a sharing in a
unified Jerusalem, summarizing it as
follows:
At present no leaders can be
said to represent the Jerusalem
Arabs. The Supreme Muslim
Council and other bodies were
formed after 1967 to direct
Muslim affairs in opposition to
Israel, not in cooperation.

Nevertheless, these bodies exist
and enjoy a measure of
authority.
An ancient and influential
institution is the Waqf, the
religious foundation that ad-
ministers Muslim holy places
and owns large properties.
There are also members of
centuries-old, venerable families
who could regain the con-
fidence of the Jerusalemite
Muslim population . . . Should
the Arabs one day agree to
discuss how they want to live in
one undivided Jerusalem, they
have leaders to negotiate the ap-
portionment of authority to
each community under Israel's
overall sovereignty.
This is not utopia. For many
generations there will remain
some fear, resentment and
religious fanaticism. Some
Arabs will continue to deface
Jewish tombs on the Mount of
Olives as they do now from time
to time, and as they did
systematically after 1948 when
Jewish gravestones were used
for street-paving and latrines.
Some Jews will insist on say-
ing that there is no way of living
with people who deface tombs
and place refrigerators filled
with explosive charges on busy
downtown street corners. Such
attitudes may last for a long
time, but will eventually disap-
pear — so we believe .. .
We must be firm in declaring
that the unity of Jerusalem, the
capital of Israel, is beyond
negotiation. But we must be suf-
ficiently confident to announce
that everything else is
negotiable as a matter of course.
To sum up my modest pro-
posal: we must make new and
permanent arrangements in the
city without waiting for negotia-
tions on the national level, and
we must do so independently of
any such negotiations.
Firmly embedded in the new
status quo must be provisions
for such important matters as
the rights of the communities to
internal self-administration in
areas like education, welfare
and sanitation; rights of com-
munities to the geographical
limits of their homogeneous
neighborhoods as well as the
authority to assess their
members for the cost of services,
jurisdiction of each communi-
ty's tribunals, the modalities of
access to all holy places and the
regulations of dress and
behavior in them, jurisdiction
over trespassers in the holy
places, and any other matter of
importance to each and every
community. As defense and
foreign policy will be reserved to
the government of Israel, there
should be no problem with
sovereignty, real or symbolic,
within one unified city.
We should expand the func-
tional sovereignty and self-
administration rights already

transferred to the Arabs of
Jerusalem. Those who think we
should not are mistakenly
afraid that we cannot afford it
but we decidedly can. The day
we understand this we will be
able to relieve legitimate Arab
grievances without fear of show-
ing weakness, and deal with
violence without outraged sur-
prise or feelings of failure .. .
What Kollek has written here and
has declared in his appeals for tran-
quility can be an important adjunct for
world peace. Hopefully it will not fall on
deafened ears and blinded eyes.

There are many obstacles, from
Arab belligerence to occasional Jewish
fanaticism. The intifada added grief to
an agonized situation. In a very impor-
tant article in a recent issue of the New
York Times Sunday Magazine, Myron
Benvenisti, the former deputy mayor of
Jerusalem, reported on his saddening
experiences with his Arab neighbors in
Jerusalem in an article entitled "Two
Generations — Growing Up in
Jerusalem!'
Benvenisti, who has been among
the most outspoken advocates of Israeli
policies to abandon creation of addi-
tional settlements in Judea and
Samaria, related earlier experiences
when he and his fellow Arabs were
friendly neighbors. Then came a new
hatred generated by the intifada. His
NYTimes story is a most depressing
one.
Benvenisti turned his attention in
his revealing article to the man who is
governing Jerusalem to indicate the
policies sought for an accord. He wrote
about Teddy Kollek as follows:
When soldiers smashed
glasses and damaged property
dispersing a rioting crown in the
Christian quarter, Mayor Kollek
paid for the damages. When
Moslem worshippers rioted on
the Temple Mount and clashed
with police, he calmed the situa-
tion by talking to the Moslem of-
ficials.
Kollek says: "We should have
told the Arabs: 'You've made
your point, you showed that you
are able to fight back, it is your
moral victory.
"Now come forward and
take matters into your hands. I
am ready to give you represena-
tion in the municipal council, a
deputy mayor who will be in
charge of your own affairs: But
nobody is making any decision,
neither the Israelis nor the
Arabs:' .. .
Add to this the fact the Kollek does
have a solution, as outlined in Foreign
Affairs, and you meet with the genius
of the Kollek personality.
It is clear that a serious effort is be-
ing made to resolve the issues at hand.
There are indications that the newly
"unified" Israel government aims for
the kind of autonomy that will also con-
tribute to the peace of Jerusalem. The
world powers have not been helpful.
World Jewry's encouragement to
the tasks for continued defense and sup-
port of Israel must never diminish or be
tampered with.

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