Jerusalem Day celebrations 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, much like any clash of civilizations, has a
history rife with significant dates and anniversaries, many of which in
retrospect proved to be decisive.
From the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement to
the 1929 Arab riots on through the 1947 UN Partition Plan, the 1967 Six Day War
and the 1993 Oslo Accords, the struggle over the Land of Israel has known many
crossroads, each of which has played a part in sketching the reality on the
This week is shaping up to be just such a tipping
After years in which a virtual freeze was imposed on Jewish
construction in parts of post-1967 Jerusalem, the government has finally de-iced
the levers of Israel’s bureaucracy and begun to advance a series of important
building projects. Indeed, over the past few days, the Jewish state has taken a
number of steps that may prove essential to preserving Jerusalem as the united
and eternal capital of the Jewish people.
At a meeting of the District
Building and Planning Committee on Monday, a proposal was approved to erect
1,500 apartment units in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo.
Just take a look at the map and you will see why this is so significant. Ramat
Shlomo lies between Ramot and French Hill, thereby creating an uninterrupted
strip of Jewish neighborhoods to the north of the Old City.
As a result,
it will be virtually impossible for Palestiniancontrolled Ramallah and A-Ram to
ever link up geographically with the eastern part of the city, which all but
puts an end to the illusion that Jerusalem can be neatly divided in two.
Straddling the Arab-inhabited neighborhoods of Beit Safafa and Shuafat to its
north and east, Ramat Shlomo is akin to a civilian barricade which prevents
Palestinian penetration to the west.
According to some reports,
construction of the 1,500 apartment units could begin as early as next year,
though it will likely take longer. Meanwhile, equally crucial housing plans for
the southern part of Jerusalem were also slated to be discussed this
One involves Givat Hamatos, which is located east of Beit Safafa,
between Gilo and Har Homa. If approved, it will be the first Jewish neighborhood
added to Jerusalem since 1997. In addition, there is the Slopes of Gilo South
project, which would add another 1,000 housing units to southern Gilo. Like
Givat Hamatos, it too is strategically located and will fortify the Jewish
presence between Bethlehem to the south and Jerusalem.
with the recent approval of the E1 project connecting Jerusalem eastwards to
Ma’aleh Adumim, the advance of the Ramat Shlomo, Givat Hamatos and Slopes of
Gilo construction will further envelop Jerusalem’s outskirts with a solid Jewish
To be sure, much of what happened this week was thoroughly and
tediously bureaucratic in nature, and additional hurdles remain before actual
construction will commence. But anyone who loves and cherishes Jewish Jerusalem
cannot help but be elated by this latest turn of events.
Whether it is
the result of electoral considerations or a reaction to recent Palestinian
shenanigans at the United Nations General Assembly is beside the point. What
matters is the simple fact that Israel is taking steps to create facts on the
ground, strengthening the Jewish presence in Jerusalem and driving a much-needed
stake through the heart of plots to divide the Holy City.
surprisingly, the announcement was quickly followed by an unbecoming outburst on
the part of US State Department spokesman Victoria “Vicious Vicky” Nuland, who
had the gall to accuse Israel of engaging in a “pattern of provocative
Parroting the same talking points across the pond, British
Foreign Secretary William Hague also denounced Israel for what he termed “a
serious provocation and an obstacle to peace.”
What Nuland, Hague and
various other critics fail to understand is that the jig is up. There are now
over 300,000 Jews living in the parts of Jerusalem that were liberated by Israel
in the 1967 Six Day War, and that number is set to soar in the years to come.
There can be no turning back the clock or hitting the rewind button here, so the
world should just accept reality.
Simply put, condemning new Jewish
building projects in Jerusalem is like complaining about the result of last
week’s football game: it won’t affect the outcome one bit.
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rightly put it on Tuesday, “Jerusalem is the eternal
capital of the state of Israel and we will continue to build there. A united
Jerusalem reflects a wide national consensus.”
So let Nuland and Hague
complain all they wish.
Whether the world likes it or not, the
demographic realities on the ground have for all intents and purposes created a
fait accompli: Jerusalem is now truly indivisible.
And, I might add: thus
it shall remain, forever and until the end of time.