Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Dividing Jerusalem, surrendering Judea and Samaria

In preparation for the US-hosted Mideast conference in November, Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has told the Knesset that the current Palestinian leadership under Mahmoud Abbas wants to move forward toward peace with Israel and that he would not use excuses to stall peace talks. To that end, he told the assembly that ‘Israel would have to give up on some of its deeply held desires’ (ie the West Bank), and has signalled a return to its 1967 borders.

Needless to say, this has not gone down too well, with either religious or secular Jews. When the Prime Minister, a former mayor of Jerusalem, told parliament that Israelis would have to ‘forego some of their national dreams and aspirations’, one heckler shouted: ‘Is Jerusalem a dream?’ Likud Chairman and former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded that the strategy ‘would eventually lead to an Iranian terrorist presence in Jerusalem and the rest of Israel’. With Iran bombing Israel via Lebanon in the north, and a second front from the west through Gaza, Mr Netanyahu says that Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria ‘will lead to a third Iranian outpost’. Starkly, he warns: ‘Olmert will place Hamas men on the walls of Jerusalem. Jerusalem will fast become a pilgrimage site for terrorists from all over the world… The government's policy is afflicted with total blindness…a vision must be rooted in the ground- not suspended in the clouds.’

The most contentious part of the proposals would relate to the Old City, which includes the holy sites. Although no details have yet been outlined, the inference is that there would be less than full Israeli sovereignty. It is mooted that there might be some impartial international presence, which will doubtless satisfy no-one, and may thereby be deemed the most equitable solution.

But neither Prime Minister Olmert nor President Bush will have the last word on this issue, if only because YHWH himself has an interest. There are indeed many difficult issues to resolve, yet Cranmer doubts that the United Nations is capable of acting impartially on this matter. Ultimately, the land of Israel belongs to God: ‘The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof’ (Ps 24:1). However, God promised this land to the descendants of Jacob, and he allotted to Israel more land than is contained in her present borders. God said to Joshua: ‘Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the Great River, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory’ (Josh 1:3f). The land was bequeathed to the twelve tribes of Israel, and it includes land east of the river Jordan, as well as all the land west of it until the Mediterranean Sea.

It is not Cranmer’s view that Israel should be waging military campaigns to conquer and subdue, or to enlarge her borders. But neither is it his belief that Israel should compromise one inch of territory which could imperil her security and lead to her destruction.

And God forbid that the Bill Gates, Tony Blair, Bob Geldof or the Pope should become the UN’s High Representative for Jerusalem.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Israeli government will be in an apparently 'compliant' mode until the US resolves matters militarily (on Israel's behalf) with Iran, Syria, Iraq, etc. The Jerusalem initiative seems likely to be a smokescreen, nothing more.

Israel necessarily plays a long-term game. There may be temporary reversible concessions with the Palestinians, but surely the only logical intent must be for a Greater Israel with geographical features that define its defendable borders (ideally with unthreatening, chaotic 'democracies' beyond).

9 October 2007 at 09:31  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Your Grace,

There are some who would think the Pope perfectly placed to administer Jerusalem. If the Jews and Muslims cannot agree, why not permit the Christians to peacefully mediate?

9 October 2007 at 13:58  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

What Jews and Muslims have in common is that both cause trouble wherever they go, both hate Christianity, and both would do the West a big favour by leaving it. They won't, though, because both want to exploit the peace and prosperity neither could create for themselves.

9 October 2007 at 17:53  
Anonymous Ken Stevens said...

oiznop 13:58

I'm certainly no expert but I was under the impression that the Eastern Orthodox Church was the more significant Christian presence in Jerusalem.

Be that as it may, might it not be more equitable for Jerusalem to come under international jurisdiction, say under the aegis of the UN, given that it houses holy sites of three major religions?

9 October 2007 at 18:02  
Anonymous Dr. Irene Lancaster FRSA said...

I heard Olmert on the radio when travelling by bus to teach in Jaffa today.

The largest Christian denominations in Israel are the Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholics. I teach quite a few of these, as well as Armenian,and Roman Catholics. We also have Muslims in the school. And the chaplain is a Palestinian member of the Church of England. He loves the Beatles, by the way.

It is very kind of posters to suggest trying to keep us Jews in our place, but we have experienced that type of treatment by both Christians and the British in the past. Experience has taught us that it is preferable to be masters and mistresses of our own fates, thank you.

You will no doubt be delighted to learn (especially Nedsherry) that I am helping to devise a new RE syllabus for the school, which will include all the major religions and not just the Christian religion.

We are living in a predominantly Jewish country, after all.

Olmert came over in a rather moving fashion and I for one do not believe it was a smoke-screen.

Whether he is correct is another matter. And His Grace is to be praised for his concern about the fate of Israel and Jerusalem in particular.

9 October 2007 at 22:03  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

We are living in a predominantly Jewish country, after all.

And a predominantly Jewish country should stay that way. Whereas a predominantly white Christian country should cease to be so.

Questions from elsewhere:

Nedsherry, Marx' father converted to Christianity and brought Marx up as a Christian.

You started this saga, so please be precise.


Do you really think it's precise to refer to the atheist, anti-clerical Marx as "Christian" simply because of his background? If so, was Stalin a Christian too?

Freud not only respected the Catholic Church but was taken along to it regularly as a child by his Catholic nanny.

But his respect, according to you, was misplaced, because it betrayed him. Therefore he became its enemy and did all he could to undermine it. Presenting Freud as a friend of the Catholic church does not do your reputation for disinterested scholarship much good, you know.

You still haven't revealed how Jews survived 2,000 years of Christian attempts to exterminate them or whether you think any Jew has ever been at fault in his or her dealings with Christians. And were there communists in your family, i.e. in the past? There were none in mine, to the best of my knowledge.

10 October 2007 at 15:12  
Blogger Jeremy Jacobs said...

"You still haven't revealed how Jews survived 2,000 years of Christian attempts to exterminate them or whether you think any Jew has ever been at fault in his or her dealings with Christians. And were there communists in your family"..............but we have survived. I agree with Cranmer. Israel shouldn't give up an inch. Besides that country next door with the Hebrew name - Jordan should be "Palestinian" homeland

11 October 2007 at 09:41  
Blogger Alfred said...

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Besides that country next door with the Hebrew name - Jordan should be "Palestinian" homeland

Wasn't trans Jordan set up for that particular purpose?

11 October 2007 at 14:40  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

"You still haven't revealed how Jews survived 2,000 years of Christian attempts to exterminate them or whether you think any Jew has ever been at fault in his or her dealings with Christians. And were there communists in your family"..............but we have survived.

Yes. That's why I ask how you survived despite etc. If you hadn't survived, asking how you survived would be a bit foolish. My explanation: Christians never tried to exterminate Jews. Dr Lancaster will not admit this. It is not characteristic of Jews to admit fault or accept blame.

11 October 2007 at 17:46  

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