President Trump’s as-yet unannounced “ultimate deal” to resolve the Arab-Jewish conflict has received a setback following Saudi Arabia’s King Salman reassuring Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that Saudi Arabia would oppose any Trump peace plan that did not accept the PLO stance on East Jerusalem becoming the capital of an independent Palestinian Arab state.
The PLO claim to East Jerusalem is based on its own propaganda and that of the United Nations which claims East Jerusalem to be “occupied territory”.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 – adopted on 23 December 2016 – expresses this claim in the following terms:
“1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;
2. Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard”These clauses are flawed – denying Jewish claims in East Jerusalem and lacking legitimacy for the following reasons:
- East Jerusalem is not “Palestinian territory”. Jews had lived there for 3000 years until every Jewish inhabitant was forcibly expelled in 1948 by six invading Arab armies.
- East Jerusalem is “reoccupied territory” – not “occupied territory” – having been reclaimed by the Jewish people in the 1967 Six Day War from Jordanian occupation that had made East Jerusalem Judenrein for 19 years.
- The legal right to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in East Jerusalem was unanimously affirmed by all 51 member states of the League of Nations under article 6 of the 1922 Mandate for Palestine and preserved by article 80 of the UN Charter.
- Jews are the only people to have ever had a capital in Jerusalem:
“Jerusalem has stood at the center of the Jewish people’s national and spiritual life since King David made it the capital of his kingdom in 1003 BCE. The city remained the capital of the Davidic dynasty for 400 years, until the kingdom was conquered by the Babylonians. Following the return from the Babylonian exile in 538 BCE, Jerusalem again served as the capital of the Jewish people in its land for the next five and a half centuries.”
- The Palestinian Arabs failed to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital between 1948 and 1967 – choosing instead unity with Transjordan to create a new sovereign entity called “Jordan”
- The PLO on its formation in 1964 expressly rejected any claim to sovereignty in East Jerusalem.The terms “occupied territory” and “occupied Palestinian territories” have been used to beat Israel over the head for decades. They are false and misleading.
“Reoccupied territory” and “reoccupied Jewish territories” posit an entirely different mindset.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has made Trump’s intentions very clear:
“From now on, every country knows that the United States will not just block anti-Israel measures, we will shine a light on those who are responsible. There won’t be any more free passes for those who bully Israel at the UN”Trump should reject these fictitious PLO and UN propaganda ploys to remind King Salman of the speciousness of PLO claims to East Jerusalem.
King Salman told Abbas:
“We accept what you accept and we reject what you reject”Blind submission to PLO dictates is not the way to confront President Trump.
Semantics are important. One word – “reoccupied” instead of “occupied” – makes a world of difference.
(Author’s note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article – is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators – whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog)