Sami Jamil Jadallah
The violent events of the last weeks in Jerusalem from stabbing to premeditated targeted killings to planting of knives next to Palestinians after being shot and killed should tell us few things. Israel is unfit and unqualified to mange and run the city. The PLO failings in Oslo also make it unfit and unqualified to represent the interests of Palestinians in the city.
That Israel, contrary to its marketed slogan “ the only democracy in the Middle East” is a racist xenophobic country and never a country for all of its citizens. That the Palestinian leadership of the PLO is a self serving, corrupt, inept organization not trusted to represent, let alone protect the life and rights of those it claims to represent. That nothing short of providing international protection for the Palestinians population of Jerusalem, certainly in the entire Occupied Territories will do. That the US as party to the conflict is never to be trusted as fair and honest broker.
The Palestinians under Israeli Occupation are “damn if you do and damn if you don’t”. While all nations and people have an absolute and inalienable right to resist foreign occupation including armed resistance, Palestinians are the only people and nation denied such rights. Any form of resistance is seen as “acts of terrorism”, sanctioned by the PLO, Oslo and the United State.
All official Israeli armed acts and the acts of criminal trespassing settlers are deemed “self defense” no matter what are the circumstances, including targeted assassinations, detentions without charges, house demolitions, acts of arsons and cold blooded murders, uprooting, burning of hundreds of thousands of olive trees, confiscation of properties and denial of access to one land and farm. The Palestinians are denied any rights of self-defense let alone any rights of resistance to the Israeli Occupation. Keeping in mind the Palestinian Authority and leadership role is a commercial and security partner with the Israeli Occupation.
For over 48 years, since the Six Day War, Palestinians in Jerusalem have been suffering from daily Israeli practice of discrimination and ethnic cleansing, supported for the most part by wealthy Jewish Americans using tax exempt organizations to confiscate Palestinian properties under the pretenses of being “Jewish” properties. Israeli courts for the most part allow falsified and fraudulent deeds in support of such criminal activities as we have seen most often in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sheik Jarrah and Bab-Alamoud.
The violent events of the last several weeks, while not a full fledge Third Intifada is an expression of pent-up anger and frustration over the ethnic cleansing that has seen over 80,000 Palestinians losing their residency in Jerusalem and the confiscations of their properties. Palestinians in Jerusalem are denied the basic right of building or adding rooms on their own properties, while Israeli Jews are allowed not only to steal the land but also build on it.
Since the founding of Israel and prior to the 67 War, Jerusalem, as we know it today, was divided by barb wires with East Jerusalem under Jordanian control and West Jerusalem under Israeli control with some minor UN presence.
It was only after the Six Day War that Jerusalem was united under total Israeli control, formally annexed to Israel shortly after the end the war.
Israel moved quickly and swiftly to consolidate its control over East Jerusalem making dramatic and drastic changes in the city demographic, totally destroying entire Arab neighborhoods as was the case with “ Maghreb Quarter” near the Dome of the Mosque.
Declaring the unified city as its eternal capital of Israel began to use a series of dubious laws as legal means to ethnically cleanse the city of its Arab residents. First it denies Palestinians their rights of residency under many pretenses and then uses “absentee laws” to officially steal and confiscate their properties.
The violent events of the last few weeks while not rising to a full fledged uprising or Intifada, it is an expression of anger and frustration over the treatment Palestinians receive at the hands of Israelis both soldiers and settlers.
While not denying the fact that some Palestinians in the absence of any rights to use arms to resist have resorted to “knifing” as a mean of expressing their anger and frustration with scores of Israeli suffering from such attacks.
Israel and Israelis taking full advantage of the “knifing” and the wide coverage in America and international media, began to plant knives next to murdered Palestinians. There are many videos out their clearly showing the planting of knives to justify the cold-blooded premeditated murders.
By now and after 48 years of total control over Jerusalem, Israel proved over and over is not a fair and honest trustee of a city of both Jews and Arabs (Christians and Muslims), its policies are so discriminatory it disqualifies it from managing unified city.
On the other hand, and not withstanding empty statements by the late Yasser Arafat and his successor Mahmoud Abba, Jerusalem and its Arab residents was never a priority, never received the necessary material support to help Arabs fight Israel’s onslaught on their very existence in the city.
The Palestinian leadership never translated its words to on ground deeds to help Arab residents fight to stay. Little if any legal support was given to the Palestinians to help them fight expulsion or confiscation and demolition of their properties. The cost of one international trip by Mahmoud Abbas and his entourage perhaps could have covered all the legal costs and fines. The Palestinian PLO leadership just like Israel is not qualified to represent and guard the interests of Arabs in the city.
While recognizing the efforts of the Organization of Islamic States to provide material support to Arab residents, it falls short of the massive comprehensive plans needed supported by a UN Security Council resolution. One also has to admit the difficulties the Organization of Islamic State face in support of those remaining in the city.
As Chairman of the Organization of Islamic State’s Committee on Jerusalem King Mohamed VI of Morocco has taken upon himself the difficult task of champion Jerusalem and the rights of the Arab citizens (Christians and Muslims) and with much appreciations, funded and continues to fund several projects to help Arab residence remain in the city.
Last year His Majesty held an international conference of member’s states specially to address the needs of both the people and the city emphasizing the importance of maintaining the Arab, Muslim and Christian character of the city.
While appreciative of the great efforts by His Majesty King Mohamed VI in supporting the city, the events of the last few weeks necessitate the urgent need for an international conference on Jerusalem, a “Jerusalem for All” that not only keep the city unified under international agreement but preserve the unique qualify of the city and its special status as a holy city for Jews, Christians and Muslims.
It will be worth while to explore such an international conference, supported by a UN Security Council resolution, and His Majesty King Mohamed VI with his good standing among the people of all faiths, is well qualified to take the lead in calling for such conference, inviting the leading and heads of all faiths and denominations, Jews, Christians (including the Pope) and Muslims (Sunnis and Shiites) and world leaders to such conference, a conference that guarantees, respect and preserve the rights of all citizens in the city and preserve its unique historical structures and heritage, a city open to every one of all faiths and united for all of its citizens, a Jerusalem for All.