The Many Myths of Jerusalem: Part 1

Given the penchant for myth-making in the Middle East, it is no surprise that many legends have popped up around the Holy City of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, given the pervasive nature of these myths, most people don’t even recognize them as such.

So we here at the Judean People’s Front, having long since abandoned our suicide squads have instead decided to fight back by exposing these myths for what they are: lies.

This begins our multipart series on The Many Myths of Jerusalem

###Myth Number 1: Jerusalem Must be Internationalized

Most people probably think the current borders of Jerusalem are a result of the Jordanian occupation of the eastern part of the city in 1948 that led to the city’s division for 19 years. However, this was only a partial cause. The true source of this actually stems from Jordan’s sponsor at the time: Great Britain.

After 27 years of unsuccessfully ruling its Mandate of Palestine, the British resolved to abandon the territory, recommending it be divided between the Jews and Arabs, with the Arab section to be joined with Jordan (then known as Transjordan or East Jordan in Arabic). In dividing the territory, it only made sense for areas with a Jewish majority to go to the Zionists, and areas with an Arab majority to go to the Arabs.

But this brought up a major problem: since Jerusalem was two-thirds Jewish (with over 100,000 Jews, 1/6th of Israel’s population at the time) that would require handing the holy city over to Israel. That simply would not work for the British, so they had to find a workaround.

After putting together all the heads in Perfidious Albion, the Brits finally came up with a solution:

If Jerusalem has a Jewish majority within its current borders, let’s just redraw the borders until “Jerusalem” has more Arabs than Jews!

From UNGA Resolution 181 (II) Part III, Section B:

The City of Jerusalem shall include the present municipality of Jerusalem plus the surrounding villages and towns, the most eastern of which shall be Abu Dis; the most southern, Bethlehem; the most western, Ein Karim (including also the built-up area of Motsa); and the most northern Shu’fat, as indicated on the attached sketch-map (annex B).

Guess what happens when a number of Arab towns, villages, and even a whole city, none of which have ever been considered part of Jerusalem, with a combined population of over 40,000, is added to the municipality? Surprise, surprise, Jerusalem all of a sudden has a slight Arab majority for the first time in over 100 years.

Corpus Separatum

(The above map is from the “Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs.” It quotes Section A of Part III if UNGAR 181, but noticeably ignores Section B where the expansion of the city is discussed.)

Now that the British had manipulated the situation to make it seem as though Jerusalem had an Arab majority, they needed to make the disconnect between the city and Israel permanent. So they added Section D to Part III announcing that after ten years, should the Trusteeship Council agree, the “residents of the City” could vote in a referendum “their wishes as to possible modifications of the regime of the City” such as adding it to the Arab state. In this way, the British were hoping to make sure that Jerusalem would never fall under Jewish control since the new Jewish minority would be unable to vote for unification with Israel.

Since UNGAR 181 takes the expanded borders as a fait accompli, it refers to the Corpus Separatum simply as the “City of Jerusalem.” Unless you were to actually read this single paragraph of 53 words, you’d never know there was a change at all.

Had the Arabs accepted UNGAR 181 (as Israel did) Israel would have lost the entire city of Jerusalem from the start. However we all know the Arabs did not accept partition - the second in a long line of peace deals they have rejected - and their ensuing attack allowed Israel to retaliate and retain the western half of the city. Unfortunately, this also meant the eastern half was conquered by Jordan, which subsequently desecrated and destroyed anything that looked remotely Jewish.

###Renewed Calls for Internationalization

Today, there are once more calls from the radical fringes to internationalize Jerusalem. Of course, after 1950, there were no such entreaties (how interesting!), which would have entailed removing Jordanian and, therefore, Muslim control.

You might be thinking “sure, but this is only suggested by radicals,” and that is true… for now. But radical ideas can become mainstream when not properly understood or countered by rational and factual arguments. This radical idea also has the added advantage of still being the official position of the UN, EU, US, and Vatican.

In order to ensure the international community does not accept such an extreme position, it is important to recognize that just as the first drive for internationalization was attempted against the wishes of the majority population through tricks of demographics and border modifications, and the same is true today.

It also is interesting that although it is currently quite fashionable to rail against the colonial pasts of the British and French empires and their drawing of borders throughout the Middle East without regard for the wishes of the local populations, when it comes to Jerusalem, these same people wish to reestablish just such a border.

I guess colonialism is only ok when it is to the detriment of the Jews and not the Arabs. Go figure. ___