Now more than ever, Israel and Jerusalem need real friends and real leaders. The threat we face now isn't from foreign invaders, but rather from international diplomats seeking to locate a simple but incorrect solution to the complex relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. As far as Jerusalem is concerned, we must recall that no divided city in history has ever succeeded."
Thus (having noted the Jewish People's three-millenia-long ties to the golden city) writes Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem, in the Wall Street Journal this week.
'In 1967, Israel reunified its capital, Jerusalem, which had been divided between Israeli and Jordanian control since the Jewish state's founding in 1948. Since then the city has maintained freedom of access, movement and religion. Peace-seeking pilgrims of all faiths can again visit the holy places without limitation or restriction. Tourism to Jerusalem is thriving, as is the city's economy, and its per capita crime rate is among the world's lowest....
By 2030, the city's population will expand to one million residents from 800,000 today (33% Muslim, 2% Christian and 65% Jewish). Where does the world suggest we put these extra 200,000 residents? The expansion of Jerusalem's residential areas is essential for the natural growth of all segments of our population. It enables Jewish and Arab families alike to grow and remain in the city. The capital of a sovereign nation cannot be expected to freeze growth rather than provide housing to families of all faiths eager to make their lives there.
As for "E-1," this land has always been considered the natural site for the expansion of contiguous neighborhoods of metropolitan Jerusalem. "E-1" strengthens Jerusalem. It does not impede peace in our region. The international alarm about planned construction is based solely on the misplaced dreams of the Palestinians and their supporters for a divided Jerusalem.
Jerusalem has been and forever will be the heart and soul of the Jewish people. It is also the united and undivided capital of the state of Israel. The Jewish people and the Jewish state have a bumpy road ahead. We appreciate the support of our friends, and only through continued bold leadership at home—leadership willing to stand up to pressure from foreign capitals—will we get through this challenging time.'