Istanbul, that very beautiful city recently (November 15-17) hosted the first Al-Quds International Institution (Jerusalem Forum) with more that 2,000 delegates from all over the world attending the conference with the objective of making sure that Jerusalem will always have a Muslim and Christian presence and that such communities will never be excluded from the city as a direct result of the continuous Jewish war on Jerusalem.
The conference initiated by the International Jerusalem Establishment in cooperation with the Turkish Organizations for Endowments and Federations of Public Societies. This is indeed the first such efforts on the part of Muslims and Middle East Christians to stand up and make sure they are present and will always be present in Jerusalem.
For over 60 years ever since the founding of Israel, Jerusalem was administer first by Jordan until the 67 War with the resulting transfer of the entire city of Jerusalem, East and West under the total control of Israel.
It is true that there was a separation wall between East and West along the armistice line of 48 and it is true that Israelis were not permitted to visit and worship at the Wailing Wall; however Jordan never planned and carried out anything that will erase Jewish history in Jerusalem. Unlike Israel which is making sure that its 67 War does not stop and its assault on Jerusalem never stop making sure that it erases all Muslim and Christian presence in the Holy City.
The Palestinians especially under Arafat PLO never gave Jerusalem any importance and when Arafat and the PLO had tens of billions in its coffers never took any concrete steps to help the Arabs, Christians and Muslims, to withstand the on going assault on their presence in Jerusalem and never had a well funded plans to offset the well organized ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem of its Muslims and Christians citizens, which culminated in the ethnic cleansing of more than 100,000 Arab citizens who were forced to leave the city where they lived for centuries to allow room for new immigrants with suspected Jewish origin to move in and take their place.
Neither the PLO nor the PA took any steps to give Jerusalem the importance and the priorities needed to offset the Christian-Zionist and Israeli Jewish efforts to make the city “Jewish” at the exclusions of Arab Christians and Muslims. With the very limited support Arafat gave to the late Faisal Hussaini, there was never the kind of financial support to offset the billions being spent by Israel. Arafat later on withdrew the carpet from underneath Faisal Hussaini when he sensed Husssaini may be a potential and competitive leader.
Jerusalem as a city does not belong to the Palestinians only and it will be a fatal mistake for the city if the present leadership of both Fatah and Hamas took total control and manage the affairs of the city. Both organizations and based on their experience of managing liberation not to mention garbage collections are simply unfit, and unqualified to look after and represent the world interest in the City of Jerusalem.
Future forums on Jerusalem must take into considerations that this city is not a Palestinian or an Israeli city; it is a city of the world. It is city for the Jews, for the Christians and for the Muslims and the world’s interest is not limited to holy and historical building but goes beyond toward the city and its unique culture and civilizations.
Jerusalem for All must not be left to the Israelis to make the decisions that affect other communities, and the world must never allow Israel to continue with its ethnic cleansing and exclusions of all non-Jews from the city. In the same time, the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah and Gaza lacks the vision and credibility to represent the interests of all citizens of Jerusalem, Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Jerusalem for All is too important to be left to the Lieberman and the Netanyahu of the Jews and too important to left to the like of Marion (Pat) Robertson and US Christian -Zionists and too important to be left to the like of Abbas or Qurai. What Jerusalem need more than any other times, is international leadership that has the qualifications and competence to represent and look after the interest of ALL the people of Jerusalem, Jews, Muslims and Christians.
Next May 2008, Israel announced that both former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush will lead the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the foundation of Israel. Of course both presidents will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of a country that continues to be at war with all of its neighbors, they are celebrating a state that until now does not have declared borders and believe that its borders should be decided by its army. Both former presidents will be celebrating Israel that hosted more than 1 million Palestinians in its jails during the last 40 years. Both presidents will be celebrating a state that dropped more than one million cluster bombs on civilians’ targets in Lebanon and the forced exiles of more than 5 million Palestinians. This is a country that forbids (Arab) Muslims and Christians of a certain age from entering the city.
Both presidents will be celebrating the birth of country that builds Apartheid Wall separating Palestinians from their homes, families and farms and schools. They will be celebrating a country with a policy of destroying Palestinian homes as a matter of standard public policy. They are celebrating a nation whose legislative body in the middle of the night passes legislation depriving Palestinians of their rightful property. First they ethnically cleans the city of its Arab citizens and then they pass legislation to take over their properties under the laws of Absentee ownership.
Jerusalem of All is too important to be left to Palestinian and Israel leadership to decide the future of such city. What we need is to gather more than one million person in Washington, yes, Washington, to demonstrate and demand a Jerusalem for All, to take place and coincide with Israel celebration of its 60th anniversary. A million will be a good message for the American administration which the political and financial sponsor of Israeli Occupation of Jerusalem and a strong message to US Congress that the people of the world will not accept any thing less than a Jerusalem for All. An open, united city for Jews, Christians and Muslims and a city for the world.