Why Keeping Jerusalem United Required a New Law

On Tuesday, the Knesset passed a bill emending the Basic Law—Israel’s de-facto constitution—so that a two-thirds majority will be needed to approve any measure that would cede any part of Jerusalem to another state or entity. Nadav Shragai explains the bill’s logic:

This is a practical law, not a theoretical one. The Knesset has now placed a serious obstacle in the path of any government that tries to hand over such Jerusalem neighborhoods [as] Issawiya, Jabel Mukhabar, or Tzur Baher to the Palestinians. These neighborhoods and others like them lie flush against Jewish neighborhoods such as French Hill or Mount Scopus in the north, or Armon Hanatziv or Kibbutz Ramat Rachel in the southeast. On Tuesday, the Knesset reduced the likelihood that the Palestinians will ever resume shooting attacks from the seam, [that is, the area between the borders of Jerusalem and the barrier that cordons off much of the West Bank], like the ones in [the Jerusalem neighborhood of] Gilo that occurred after the adjacent town of Beit Jala was handed over to the Palestinians.

The new legislation is also vital to prevent any possibility that, after any division of the city, the Palestinians would interfere with freedom of access to, and worship at, the Jewish holy sites in the city. They have done so in the distant and recent past with the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives, and Rachel’s Tomb.

The law will also preserve the joint day-to-day life shared by Jews and Arabs in the capital. This is something else that exists in Jerusalem, along with the ethno-religious conflict, and to a much greater degree than most of the public is aware of. Dividing the city would definitely hurt that co-existence.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel's Basic Law, Jerusalem, Knesset

Yasir Arafat’s Decades-Long Alliance with Iran and Its Consequences for Both Palestinians and Iranians

Jan. 18 2019

In 2002—at the height of the second intifada—the Israeli navy intercepted the Karina A, a Lebanese vessel carrying 50 tons of Iranian arms to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). But Yasir Arafat’s relationship with the Islamic Republic goes much farther back, to before its founding in 1979. The terrorist leader had forged ties with followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that grew especially strong in the years when Lebanon became a base of operations both for Iranian opponents of the shah and for the PLO itself. Tony Badran writes:

The relationship between the Iranian revolutionary factions and the Palestinians began in the late 1960s, in parallel with Arafat’s own rise in preeminence within the PLO. . . . [D]uring the 1970s, Lebanon became the site where the major part of the Iranian revolutionaries’ encounter with the Palestinians played out. . . .

The number of guerrillas that trained in Lebanon with the Palestinians was not particularly large. But the Iranian cadres in Lebanon learned useful skills and procured weapons and equipment, which they smuggled back into Iran. . . . The PLO established close working ties with the Khomeinist faction. . . . [W]orking [especially] closely with the PLO [was] Mohammad Montazeri, son of the senior cleric Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri and a militant who had a leading role in developing the idea of establishing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) once the revolution was won.

The Lebanese terrorist and PLO operative Anis Naccache, who coordinated with [the] Iranian revolutionaries, . . . takes personal credit for the idea. Naccache claims that Jalaleddin Farsi, [a leading Iranian revolutionary]. approached him specifically and asked him directly to draft the plan to form the main pillar of the Khomeinist regime. The formation of the IRGC may well be the greatest single contribution that the PLO made to the Iranian revolution. . . .

Arafat’s fantasy of pulling the strings and balancing the Iranians and the Arabs in a grand anti-Israel camp of regional states never stood much of a chance. However, his wish to see Iran back the Palestinian armed struggle is now a fact, as Tehran has effectively become the principal, if not the only, sponsor of the Palestinian military option though its direct sponsorship of Islamic Jihad and its sustaining strategic and organizational ties with Hamas. By forging ties with the Khomeinists, Arafat unwittingly helped to achieve the very opposite of his dream. Iran has turned [two] Palestinian factions into its proxies, and the PLO has been relegated to the regional sidelines.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hamas, History & Ideas, Iran, Lebanon, PLO, Yasir Arafat