UNESCO’s Jerusalem Resolution Insults Both Judaism and Christianity

Oct. 31 2016

Last week, UNESCO passed a resolution condemning Israel for fictive violations of the Muslim holy places on the Temple Mount, without making any mention of the fact that they are located on an ancient Jewish sacred site. Charles Krauthammer comments:

[The resolution] refers to and treats [the Temple Mount] as an exclusively Muslim site, a deliberate attempt to eradicate its connection—let alone its centrality—to the Jewish people and Jewish history.

This Orwellian absurdity, part of a larger effort to deny the Jewish connection to their ancestral homeland, is an insult not just to Judaism but to Christianity. It makes a mockery of the Gospels, which chronicle the story of a Galilean Jew whose life and ministry unfolded throughout the Holy Land, most especially in Jerusalem and the Temple. If this is nothing but a Muslim site, what happens to the very foundation of Christianity, which occurred 600 years before Islam even came into being?

But while such an attack is merely symbolic, Krauthammer notes that the UN could do much more serious damage should President Obama, as has been rumored, decide to support a Security Council resolution declaring a Palestinian state in the areas Israel seized from Egypt and Jordan in 1967:

There is a reason such a move has been resisted by eight previous U.S. administrations: it overthrows the central premise of Middle East peacemaking—land for peace. . . . Land for peace would be replaced by land for nothing. Endorsing in advance a Palestinian state and what would essentially be a full Israeli withdrawal removes the Palestinian incentive to negotiate and strips Israel of territorial bargaining chips of the kind it used, for example, to achieve peace with Egypt.

The result would be not just perpetual war but incalculable damage to Israel. . . . [C]onsider but one example: [Israel] would now be open to the absurd judicial charge that [its] possession of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem constitutes a criminal occupation of another country. Israel would be hauled endlessly into courts (both national and international) to face sanctions, boycotts (now under color of law), and arrest of its leaders.

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More about: Barack Obama, Christianity, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Jerusalem, Judaism, Temple Mount, UNESCO

No, Israelis and Palestinians Can’t Simply Sit Down and Solve the “Israel-Palestinian Conflict”

Jan. 17 2019

By “zooming out” from the blinkered perspective with which most Westerners see the affairs of the Jewish state, argues Matti Friedman, one can begin to see things the way Israelis do:

Many [in Israel] believe that an agreement signed by a Western-backed Palestinian leader in the West Bank won’t end the conflict, because it will wind up creating not a state but a power vacuum destined to be filled by intra-Muslim chaos, or Iranian proxies, or some combination of both. That’s exactly what has happened . . . in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. One of Israel’s nightmares is that the fragile monarchy in Jordan could follow its neighbors . . . into dissolution and into Iran’s orbit, which would mean that if Israel doesn’t hold the West Bank, an Iranian tank will be able to drive directly from Tehran to the outskirts of Tel Aviv. . . .

In the “Israeli-Palestinian” framing, with all other regional components obscured, an Israeli withdrawal in the West Bank seems like a good idea—“like a real-estate deal,” in President Trump’s formulation—if not a moral imperative. And if the regional context were peace, as it was in Northern Ireland, for example, a power vacuum could indeed be filled by calm.

But anyone using a wider lens sees that the actual context here is a complex, multifaceted war, or a set of linked wars, devastating this part of the world. The scope of this conflict is hard to grasp in fragmented news reports but easy to see if you pull out a map and look at Israel’s surroundings, from Libya through Syria and Iraq to Yemen.

The fault lines have little to do with Israel. They run between dictators and the people they’ve been oppressing for generations; between progressives and medievalists; between Sunnis and Shiites; between majority populations and minorities. If [Israel’s] small sub-war were somehow resolved, or even if Israel vanished tonight, the Middle East would remain the same volatile place it is now.

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More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Middle East