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Agenda Jerusalem

Agenda Jerusalem

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Published by Raphael McNamara

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Published by: Raphael McNamara on Nov 22, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Historical Significance: Linking Past to Present
Throughout its 5000 years of history, Jerusalem has continued to thrive as an important political and cultural center, and ahouse of faith for the three monotheistic religions. This city has withstood many wars and conflicts, and despite someturbulent events in the past, it has retained a peaceful image of unity and sacredness. However, due to its addedimportance as a political symbol and a geographic center in the region, it has aroused great struggle over who has theexclusive right of its possession. Its recent history, borne out of the Arab-Israeli conflict, has fueled a long conflict regardingits future, and has rendered Jerusalem a vital but unresolved question in Middle East politics. Till today, the city remains theheart of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The rulers of Jerusalem through history have employed continuous and well-plannedstrategies of territorial, demographic, religious, and property claims in order to maintain control over the city’s sovereignty.
Jerusalem throughout the Ages
Throughout the ages, Jerusalem has had its prosperous times of co-existence and justice as well as somedark periods of oppressive rule and bloodshed. The earliest traces of permanent settlement in Jerusalemdates back approximately 5000 years. The first known tribes were the Caananites and the Jebusites. Around 3000 years ago King David conquered the city from the Jebusites and this era constitutes thefoundation of the Jewish claim to the city. The Jews were later on driven out of Jerusalem by theBabylonians but allowed back by the Persian King Cyrus around 500 BC. A number of foreign rulersfollowed and in 63 BC the Romans gained control over Jerusalem. The city remained under the rule of the Eastern Roman Emperor until the 7th century until it opened its doors to the Caliph Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, to whom the keys of Jerusalem were handed over by the Patriarch Safronios in 638 AD. The Arab Muslim Caliph granted the citizens of the city, the status of “protected people” or
, whichgave them the freedom to practice their religion. This was a period in which harmony and tolerancereigned.
(Armstrong, 1996)
  A darker period ensued at the beginning of the 11
th Century, when theEgyptian Caliph Al-Hakim persecuted Christians and Jews, and destroyedthe Church of the Holy Sepulcher. A later conquest of the city by the Seljuk Turks caused manyoppressive reprisals on the inhabitants of the city. The city then remained under Islamic-Arabrule until it was captured by the Crusaders in 1099 AD. The Crusaders (“Al-Firanja”) massacredMuslims and Jews, and turned Jerusalem into a Christian city where non-Christians were notpermitted to live. Christian rule lasted until 1187 AD when Salah Eddin conquered the city.Salah Eddin restored Jerusalem’s true role; he left the Holy Sepulcher open to Christians andreopened the city in 1192 for pilgrimage. Again, following the fall of Jerusalem to Fredrick II in1229 the city was forbidden to Muslims and Jews, and in 1244 the city came under the rule of Egypt (the Mamluks).
(PASSIA Archives)
The Mamluks governed Jerusalem from Cairo (1260-1516) and were followed by theOttoman empire (1516-1918). The Mamluks and the Ottomans transformed the city’sphysical attributes, endowing it with splendid religious monuments. The Ottomansbuilt the walls and gates of the Old City (1537-1541) and renovated the Dome of theRock. Jerusalem remained in their hands until 1917.
(Armstrong, 1996)
British Mandate (1917-1948)
Following the
Hussein-McMahon correspondence and the
Sykes-Picot Agreement concerning the future political status of the Arab lands of the MiddleEast, General Edmund
troops and the Arab Revolt defeated the Turks.Jerusalem was captured on 9 Dec.
and under the British Mandate (1917-1948), it was recognized as the administrative and political capital of Palestine. Amunicipality was formed with a balanced share of power between the threemonotheistic religions. In April
, the San Remo Conference awardedadministration of the former Ottoman territories of Syria and Lebanon to France,and Palestine, Transjordan and Mesopotamia (Iraq) to Britain. Ronald
 became the first British military governor of Jerusalem. (1917-26) On 24 July
, the League of Nations Council approved the Mandate for Palestine withoutthe consent of Palestinians (the terms of the Mandate became official on 29Sept.
General Edmund AllenbyIbn Al-Khattab CovenantSalah EddinSir Ronald StorrsAl-Aqsa Mosque
against the British rule pressured the Mandate authorities to find a solution to the conflict in Palestine.The British White Paper of 1922, limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine, infuriated the Zionist organizations in Palestine whoput pressure on the British through various means to allow more Jewish immigration. The Arabs continued to resist the BritishMandate policies and there were a number of uprisings and revolts against the British (
, and
). The British,however, were not consistent in their restrictions of Jewish immigration, and in many ways supported Zionist groups in theirattacks against Arabs. Following the 1939 St. James conference, Britain issued a second White Paper, which put restrictions onJewish immigration and promised an independent Palestine within ten years. In 1946, the Morisson-Grady Plan provided for aBritish trusteeship over a federation of two autonomous provinces, one Arab and one Jewish. In 1947, the British Foreign Sec-retary proposed a unified state under temporary British trusteeship with autonomous Arab and Jewish cantons.
(Abdul-Hadi, 1985)
In February 1947, Britain announced that is was not prepared to continue to administer Palestine and turned to the newlycreated United Nations for a solution. The Palestinians together with five Arab states called for an independent state inPalestine. The United Nations did not include this demand in its agenda and instead named in May 1947 a special committee(UNSCOP – The United Nations Special Committee on Palestine) to study the question of Palestine. In the
Partition Plan(Res. 181) UNSCOP recommended the partition of Palestine into an Arab State and a Jewish State, and that "The City of Jerusalem (extending to Bethlehem) shall be established as a
corpus separatum 
under a special international regime andadministered by the United Nations.” The city’s boundaries were to include the 1947 municipality of Jerusalem plus thesurrounding villages and towns. [At the time, Jerusalem – the Old City and Palestinian neighborhoods such as Talbiyeh,Baq’a, and Katamon southwest of the city – was surrounded by 66 Palestinian villages (e.g., Deir Yassin, Lifta, Malha, EinKarem), while the mainly ultra-orthodox Jewishpopulation was concentrated in part of the Old Cityand neighborhoods north-west of it.] The Jewishleaders accepted the plan but the Palestiniansturned the resolution down because they consideredit unfair. The partition assigned to the proposedJewish state 56% of the areas of Palestine, whileJews constituted only 33% of the population andowned only 6% of the non-urban land. The planwas thus never implemented.Prior to the 1948 War, Palestinians formed the over-whelming majority in the Jerusalem district andowned most of the land. The last British Survey of Palestine (Dec. 1946) made the following demo-graphic estimates:
Property Ownership 1948: 
West Jerusalem Jerusalem Sub-District Western Villages
 A Survey of Palestine 
, Britain, 1946; Sami Hadawi,
Palestinian Rights and Losses in 1948.
London, 1988
: ‘Public’ includes land owned by Palestinian relig
ious institutions and government land.)
of Jerusalem in Sub-Districts  Palestinians
65,010 150,590
99,320 102,520
110 160
Total 164,440 253,270UN Partition Plan, Jerusalem, 29 Nov. 1947 (Res. 181)
The 1948 Arab-Israeli War - Al-Nakba
While Arabs refer to the 1948 War as  Al-Nakba (“the catastrophe”), Israelis call it the War of Independence.
On 14 May 1948 the Jewish Agency declaredthe establishment of the State of Israel in thepart of Palestine allocated to the Jews in UNResolution 181. This events was one of thestarting points for the first Arab-Israeli War.The balance of power in the war was veryunequal, with a well-equipped and trainedZionist army fighting against poorly armedPalestinian resistance groups, and manyPalestinian civilians fled in panic after Jewishforces committed massacres in some villages.Before the entry of the Arab armies, the Zionist forces launched two offensives –one from Tel Aviv and one from Jerusalem itself (Dec. 1947-May 1948) – whichresulted in the conquest of West Jerusalem and the corridor leading to the coast - inviolation of the UN Partition Resolution. Until today the international community,including the US, has never explicitly recognized Israeli sovereignty over even West Jerusalem. During the course of the Warof 1948, Jewish forces captured much of the territory assigned to the proposed Arab state, including 85% of Jerusalem(mainly in the city’s western part and surrounding neighborhoods). The Jordanian Arab Legion took control of the West Bank,including 11% of the eastern part of Jerusalem (including the Old City and adjacent villages).The remaining 4% of theJerusalem area was considered no-man's land in which the UN headquarters were established.Some 64,000-80,000 Palestinians wereforcibly driven out of or left the westernpart of Jerusalem and the villages in theimmediate vicinity. In June 1948, theirproperty (including 10,000 homes, furnitureand businesses) came under the control of the Israeli ‘Custodian of 
(Cattan, H.
, New York,1981)
. Some 40 Palestinian villages in andaround Jerusalem were
 and many of them
1949 ceasefire/armistice agree-ment
between Jordan and Israel formallydivided the city into Jordanian-controlledEast and Israeli-controlled West Jeru-salem. In 1950, the Israeli governmentpassed the ‘Absentee Property Law’,which transferred the ownership of ‘left’ property to the Jewish state. This eventmarks the first division of Jerusalem intoEast and West Jerusalem.On 2 Feb. 1949, Israeli PM David Ben-Gurion unilaterally declared that Israeli-held (West) Jerusalem was no longer oc-cupied territory but an integral part of theIsraeli state, and on 13 Dec. 1949, WestJerusalem was illegally (according tointernational law) declared the
of Israel.On 19 Dec. 1949, the UN General Assem-bly voted for
Res. 303
, restating itsintention to place Jerusalem under a per-manent international regime, whichshould envisage appropriate guaranteesfor the protection of the Holy Places, bothwithin and outside Jerusalem, andconfirm the provisions of the PartitionResolution 181 of 1947. However, thisplan was never to be implemented.
Partitioned Jerusalem, 1948-1967
Palestinian refugees crossing thedestroyed Allenby Bridge into Jordan

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