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October 26, 1990 - Image 37

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-10-26

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erusalem has witness-
ed an explosion of
bloodshed over the
past month as Palestinian
violence precipitated the
killing of 21 Arabs on the
Temple Mount, the revenge
murders of a Jewish taxi
driver the following day and,
on Sunday, the stabbing to
death of three Israelis by a
frenzied Palestinian youth
chanting "Allahu
Akhbar"(God is Great).
While Sunday's assailant
insisted to police that he had
acted alone, within hours
both PLO leader Yassir
Arafat and the fundamenta -
list Islamic Jihad (holy war)
The Temple Mount area in east Jerusalem.
movement were claiming
responsibility for the attack.
The very heart of the Arab-
Israeli conflict — the
priceless jewel in the crown
of both sides -,-- is possession
of Jerusalem, the ancient
city which has been a focus
of the political and religious
aspirations of the three
great monotheistic religions
for two thousand years.
Nothing in the current
dispute between Israel and
its Arab neighbors — not the
West Bank, the Gaza Strip,
the Golan Heights, the pro-
spect of Palestinian
autonomy, confederation or
independence — evokes
greater passions than their
competing claims to the city,
which was divided for 19
Foreign Correspondent
years until its conquest by
Israel during the Six Day
War in 1967.
less worthy and should be
Unlike the West Bank and
scattered around the world.
the Gaza Strip, the status of
But here, too, glowing and
Long after the disputants
Jerusalem was not left in
glowering above the Wall on
have resolved all their other
limbo when the guns fell
the Temple Mount itself, is
contentious differences,
silent in June 1967: one of
the golden-capped Dome of
Jerusalem will remain the
the first acts of the Knesset
the Rock and the Al-Aksa
intractable rock to which the
(parliament) was to formally
mosque, third-holiest site in
Jews and the Palestinians
annex Jerusalem and to
Islam (after Mecca and
will cling and upon which a
declare unequivocally that
Medina) and the point from
slew of international diplo-
whatever else might be sub-
which, according to tradi-
mats will continue to stub
ject to negotiations, the city
tion, the prophet Mohamm-
their neatly manicured toes.
would remain the undivided,
ed ascended to heaven.
Whatever else may divide
eternal capital of Israel.
Impartial observers can
Israel's two major political
Here, within the Old City,
listen to the claims advanced
blocs, Jerusalem is the one
is the Western Wall, a rem-
by the two sides, weigh the
issue on which the center
- nant of the ancient Second
relative strength of the
has held and the consensus
Temple, the most sacred site
arguments and atte
t a
remained solid: neither a
in Judaism (denied to Jews
Solomonic-like judgment
Likud nor a Labor govern-
during its 19-year control by
based on the merits of the
ment would be prepared to
Jordan) and the focus of
debate, but neither the Jews
negotiate the future status
unabated spiritual yearning
nor Arabs will ever be con-
of an undivided Jerusalem
by generations of Jews
vinced that their claim is
wherever they have been

over whether Israel could
apply United States aid to
building apartments for
Soviet immigrants in East
Jerusalem (Levy apparently
said "no" when he really
meant "yes.")
Second was the United
Nations Security Council
resolution, supported by
Washington, which con-
demned Israel for shooting
21 Palestinians on the Tem-
ple Mount and demanded
that a fact-finding mission
be dispatched to investigate
the circumstances of the in-
According to Israel's Likud
government leaders, it was
the question of Jerusalem's
sovereignty that was at the
heart of the Security Coun-
cil's resolution — and of
Israel's total rejection of the
Binyamin Netanyahu, the
highly articulate Israeli
Deputy Foreign Minister,
accused the Security Council
of imbalance in its condem-
nation because it did not
take account of the pro-
vocative Palestinian behav-
ior —pelting Jewish wor-
shipers at the Western Wall
with stones — which
precipitated the shooting.
In rejecting the fact-
finding mission, he insisted
that Israel had nothing to
hide: "This is a free society.
We have more television
crews per square inch than
you'll find anywhere. And
we have an investigative
commission of unimpeach-
able integrity which will
under Israeli sovereignty.
make all the facts available.
This month, Jerusalem
"Our objection regards the
was thrust into the center of
sovereignty of Jerusalem.
two rancorous debates, both
The issue for us is that the
of which raised serious ques-
UN is seeking to intervene
tions about thus claim. But
in questions of law and order
the cause of the seismic
in our own capital."
shock waves that re-
No one, he said, had sug-
verberated through Israel
gested sending a fact-finding
was the fact that both in-
mission to Beirut, where
volved the United States,
Syrian troops slaughtered
which has never accepted
an estimated 700 Lebanese
Israel's sovereignty over
the same week: "I don't
Jerusalem but which has
think that any country
generally sought to play
would accept an interven-
down the issue.
tion by the UN in its capital.
First was the now celebra-
Israel stands on the princi-
ted "misunderstanding" bet-
ple of sovereignty."
ween Israeli Foreign Min-
Perhaps so. But while
ister David Levy and Secre-
Israel drew its line in the
tary of State James Baker

The Genie

Washington's decision to score political
points with its new Arab allies, at Israel's
expense, may prove to be a costly error.



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