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Response to Abbas: We'll be together in Jerusalem forever

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at the International Conference on Jerusalem in Doha on Saturday set off the most proverbial alarm bells in Israel.

Caveat: Without actually seeing the full text of the speech, or being at the conference, I am dependent on excerpts in news reports that seem designed to reinforce auto-pilot rallying cries of each side.

Abbas’ general theme seemed to be raising awareness of the grave injustices perpetrated on the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem, such as Israel’s attempt to build walls to keep them in or out, Judaize the eastern part, and use archeological/historical research to justify the Jewish claim to the city. His speech was quoted by Ma’an news agency, and picked up by the Jerusalem Post whose article was republished on the website of the conference:


The Israeli occupation authorities are using the ugliest and most dangerous means to implement plans to erase and remove the Arab-Islamic and the Christian character of east Jerusalem.” The Palestinian Authority president accused Israel of “surrounding Jerusalem with an Apartheid wall and a band of settlements in order to isolate the city from its surroundings in the West Bank.” Abbas slammed Israeli authorities for setting up barriers preventing Palestinians from entering Jerusalem without “almost impossible to obtain” permits.


On cue, Prime Minister Netanyahu called the speech “lies” and “severe incitement.”

Mainstream Jewish and Israeli readers can shut their eyes here: that quote is justified and correct; I have seen it with my own eyes. It is true, it is wrong and must be stopped, full stop.

But this morning’s print Yediot Ahronot (which bears little relation to the parsimonious English Ynet piece) bothered me more. The headline read: “Abu Mazen: Israel wants to establish the Temple on the ruins of al-Aqsa.” This sounds like unnecessary religious incitement. The article’s first line went on to state:


Jews have no relation to Jerusalem. Jerusalem has been an Arab city for 3000 years; the story of the existence of the Temple is an unsubstantiated Israeli claim – these are some of the claims heard yesterday at the conference…”


None of that opening part quoted Abu Mazen, but the implication is that he was responsible for these statements. Indeed, the article goes on to say [my translation]:


Abu Mazen, who spoke at the opening of the session, cast doubt about the links of the Jewish people to Jerusalem, and to the Temple Mount itself. He accused Israel of preparing models to erect the Temple on the ruins of the Al-Aqsa mosque, and accused it of conducting archeological digs in Jerusalem that threaten the mosques and are designed to prove the Jewish Israeli narrative. ‘Israel is deluding itself that it can replace the mosques and the Muslim history in Jerusalem with a story of legends, through which they want to invent a history that will cancel the religious and historical facts of Jerusalem.’


Haaretz also noted that he cast doubt on the existence of the Temple, but the article did not provide direct quotes.

Abu Mazen, presumably to drive home his two-state vision, was then quoted in Yediot as stating “East Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Palestinian state.”

Now other readers will find their reasons to criticize me: I am not sympathetic to claims that there is no Jewish connection to Jerusalem, that the Temple is a fiction and by implication, that Jerusalem belongs only to Muslims and Christians. Leaving the Jewish heritage out of his UN speech was one thing; actively denying the Jewish spiritual connection is another.

Surely stalwart seculars will ask why I should care about the Temple. The response should be clear: It’s time to stop this absurd belief that ancient historical facts are at issue. Peoplehood, the weight of history, emotional bonds to a cultural, spiritual and yes, religious axis mundi are at issue and I believe passionately in the need for Jews to accept those aspects of Palestinian life. It is fair to desire the same understanding from the people with whom I hope to live peacefully, when they are un-occupied, under any form of just political solution that will be reached.

I can already hear the voices saying that Israeli Jews have no right to criticize as long as the asymmetrical occupation makes life intolerable for the Palestinian population; that it’s just too bad if the occupier doesn’t like how its victims resist. Why should the oppressed care?

But that’s just it. We are on the same side, and we need each other. Let’s cast off the notion of a conflict between Israelis and Palestinians already, which I sometimes feel is a brilliant decoy of the far right. The truth is, we have long been in a conflict between extremists and moderates, between hateful and compassionates, between exclusivists and inclusivists. A genuine liberal universalist approach must accept that even those who believe in universal rights have a national, religious, cultural and spiritual identity they cherish (perhaps not surprisingly, Israeli scholar-cum-politician Yuli Tamir is a prominent thinker on this issue).

Whether we end with one, two or twenty states, we’ll be together in Jerusalem for eternity. That should be something to look forward to, and I do not accept that it has to be an ongoing source of conflict.

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    1. Palestinian

      @ Dahlia , so we will be together in Musrara and Ma’aman Allah (as the immigrants/occupiers call it today Mamilla ,funny)? What Abbas said is true ,thats reality on the ground.

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    2. Philos

      Acht nein Ich sense zee outpourings of zee Romanticist neccessity of cultural, spiritual and historical facets of zee volk. Ja, ja, vee all know verr zeys brilliant ideaz vill lead us all. Ja, ja. Zee Jerusalem is proof of zee stoopidity of zee menchen; uber und unter alike.

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    3. Sinjim

      Your second to last paragraph reminds me of an article that appeared in the Guardian a short while ago in which the writer — who was white, of course — made the claim that race isn’t real, nothing more than a “myth” invented by the far right racists of the world (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/17/race-is-a-myth-deborah-orr). That the only race is the “human race.” This was met by an outcry from people of color in Britain. Of course race is real, even if it’s not organic. To deny the existence of race, even out of an opposition to racism, is to deny all the effects of racism, from the legacy of slavery down to the modern day poverty of slaves’ descendants.
      Similarly, by proclaiming that there is no conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, rather a conflict between “moderates” and “extremists,” you are denying what Palestinians have experienced at the hands of your country and the racial and ethnic nature of your government’s oppression.
      I know you dismiss this preemptively in your article, but the fact that you are an Israeli Jew basking in the privilege afforded to you by the state by virtue of your Jewishness is absolutely relevant here. This piece, more so than others you’ve written before, betrays that privilege to a shocking degree.
      Perhaps, you meant this piece as a form of dialogue with Palestinians. If so, then I have to say what you’re doing here is talking at us, not to us. How else could you possibly give Palestinians reassurances about the eternity of our presence in the city of sorrows when only last week your army was attacking Palestinians in the compound of the Haram or when a young man was shot and killed point blank at Qalandia or when your government put out new orders to demolish yet another Palestinian family’s home?
      I can understand your good intentions, but you have to see how incredibly insulting to be told that the ethnic and racial components of this conflict are a mere invention of the “far right.” No, they’re not inventions. They are as plain and real as the noses on our respective faces. If the goal is truly a Jerusalem that is collectively ours, then the last thing we should be doing is glossing over that fact.

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    4. Philos

      In all seriousness though historical truth has been totally warped by this damn conflict. There is no archaeological evidence for the First Temple or Solomon & David, and plenty of genetic and etymological evidence indicating that Palestinian Arabs are descendants of the inhabitants that lived here two and three thousand years ago (i.e., Judeans, Israelites, Imudeans, and so on who were all Semites and all Jews).
      Unfortunately, Israeli Zionists don’t want to accept the overwhelming evidence that their national ethos is, like German, British and whatever, based on mythologies. The Palestinian nationalists, sadly, also don’t want to countenance that, horror of horrors, they might be descended from Jews thus rendering the whole damn “narrative war” pretty damn ludicrous.

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    5. Philos

      As for “liberal nationalism” I prefer Michael Mann he rightly points out that it is as guilty of the same amount of genocide and militarism as fascist nationalism; albeit the liberal variety has been directed by settlers (in America, Africa, wherever) in a do-it-yourself fashion rather than the centralized massacres of the fascist states.

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    6. Sinjim, You really can’t believe that I’m glossing over anything, so I cannot see any reason to answer to the charge. There is no disagreement about what the conflict has been. I’m trying to talk about where it could go in the future. I’m suggesting that if we stop viewing ourselves as puppets in the inevitable human drama of ethnic conflict, we might actually make some progress in finding solutions among like minded people. The semantics of talking “at” or “to” leave me cold. Was Abbas talking at me or to me? Let’s stop with meta-conversation, and talk peaceful, just solutions, create a critical mass of those who agree and start taking to the streets.

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    7. XYZ

      (1) Why should Abbas fear Israeli archaeological work if he is correct and there never was a Temple or a Jewish Kingdom?
      (2) Why is it okay for Abbas to oppose “Judaization” of east Jerusalem by having Jews move in there, and yet at the same he time he demands “Arabization” of pre-67 Israel by way of his demand for the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees?
      (3) Dahlia-it’s ALL about history. Sure, it would be nice to move beyond this and talk about the future, but history is deeply ingrained in the thinking of the people of the Middle East. For example, in modern discussion about the uprising in Syria, anti-Assad forces will continually mention that his Alawite sect allied itself with the Crusaders almost a thousand years ago. Similarly, when Saddam Hussein kept calling his war against the US, Kuwait and its allies in the first Gulf War of 1991 “the mother of all battles”, every Iraqi schoolchild knew he was referring to a battle fought over a thousand years ago by the Muslims.
      Thus, when Abbas says the Jews have no historical presence nor right to be in the country, that justifies their struggle against Israel in their minds much more than Western-oriented claims for self-determination or political rights. I am afraid you can’t get away from this as much as you might like to.

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    8. I realize that I am attempting to distinguish two meanings of the word ‘history’ here and I’ll explain it further: Of course history is important, it roots us to our past and carries the weight of longevity – it’s history in the sense of time – creating a people’s consciousness for so very many years. It’s precisely because history contributes to the unifying mythology of any culture, people or religion, that proving ancient facts at a single moment in history are not of much value to anyone. When there is a mythical aspect of national identity, people will cling to their history whether or not facts support it. That’s why I find both the digs useless as a political endeavor, and the attempt to delegitimize the historic Jewish connection with Jerusalem equally useless. Hope that clears it up somewhat.

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    9. Laila

      There is something you keep on missing lady! Palestinian-Israeli conflict, our conflict was always and will always be between Palestinians and Israeli…. what does “moderates” and “extremists,” have to do with this!!!

      Reading this post, you made me feel like it’s your first ever on the issue!

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    10. @Laila, you can probably imagine that it’s not my “first ever” (what?) on the issue. i can’t help but think that you are personally very committed to ensuring that the conflict remains a bloody ethnic battle for eternity. I’ll say my point a different way: I have much more in common with many palestinians who seek a just resolution than with those members of my society who do not feel the need for one and deny what is going on. We have things in common because we agree on the injustices being caused today, because none of us can gloss over them – the victims, b/c they live them (as my colleague Omar has pointed out, and with which I have no disagreement) and the israelis who cannot live with ‘what is being done in our name.’ Israelis and Palestinians who resist the occupation are saying the same thing for a start, even if some disagree on the ultimate resolution; me, i’m searching for a way to break out of the behavioral and thought patterns that have not succeeded in improving anyone’s situation up to now.

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    11. AYLA

      Dahlia–Amen to your comment to @Sinjim, and while I’m at it, also to @Laila. I’m in. @Laila–do you live here? I ask because we need to take to *these* streets. On a more tangible level, I recommend tandem, coordinated demonstrations, each on our own side of a border. I think we’re likely to get more people out that way. This has been done before. There was a women’s demonstration recently at the Qalandia (sp?) checkpoint: Israelis on one side, Palestinians on the other. But they planned it together, and felt the power and solidarity of being there, together.

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    12. Joel

      Spot on, Dahlia!
      Jerusalem has always been used as a rallying flag by nationalistic leaders, who have wanted everything but solve the conflict. (1929 comes to mind…) It is a symbol and it finds its way into many hearts, regardless of other political preferences. And as can be seen in Abbas’ speech and the exadurated recounts in the Israeli press polarization is a snowball that very quickly gains a life of its own.
      And I think the only way to stop this; is to actually stop and think. Who are the people really working for peace and justice for everyone? They are the ones I will trust above my ethnicity, nationality, kin and family. That is the only relevant question. And the answer is neither Israelis or Palestinians. The answer is those who want to live with eachother in the future, despite the past. Those who will not side with their clan just because Jerusalem is calling.

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    13. AYLA

      The past year has taught us that this is the time for revolution–for the people to take back the night from the politicians. To do so, we have to fight together for a common-enough vision (big picture), because the Land knows the truth: she belongs, deeply, to all of us. No one can win this land from the other. The fear and anger in our way is based on the past (including yesterday), and a lot of government manipulation. There will never stop being reasons to hate and fear, in the present; the harder we–the compassionate visionaries–fight, the harder the haters will fight back, and there will always be something to react to, to bring us right back to defensive grooves and Right-ness. We have to band together and resolve to act, not react. Yet, we will never whitewash the past. Some day, in every school on this land, Jewish and Arab children will learn the Nabka history, and everyone’s history, just as american kids today sit side by side and learn about slavery (not the same! only an educational model…). The Compassionate Visionaries are not denying anyone’s history, nor their own wrongdoings. But we grow so attached to our fights, to our own victimhood, that we become our own worst enemies.

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    14. Joel

      Amen, Ayla.
      Critique is desperately needed, people need to wake up and see the ugly face of reality. But without a vision of a common and better future we are doomed to only react to the latest Jerusalem/occupation/atrocity-affair. Eventually it will drive people to despair and back to their fantasized “things-are-not-that-bad-and-they-sure-can’t-be-better”-world. No. We need to see the ugly face of reality, but we also desperately need to see a vision of a better future that we can believe in. These are the two necessary ingredients of change and non of them will do it alone, no matter how bad the reality is or how good the future could be. That’s the power of working/protesting/living/being together; it does not only highlight the injustices, but it paints a vision of the future.

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    15. Richard Witty

      Dahlia is right on in describing the escalation of words to shift from “we are and were both here” to “only we were here, this is OURS (not yours)”

      Both individually (no Jews, or no Muslims or no Christians allowed) and politically (sovereign Jewish, sovereign Muslim).

      There is NO valid political analysis or any other ideological formation that adds up mass forced removal as “justice”. Some try, too many.

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    16. David

      Hi Dalia

      “Whether we end with one, two or twenty states, we’ll be together in Jerusalem for eternity. That should be something to look forward to, and I do not accept that it has to be an ongoing source of conflict.”

      That just isn’t the view of the mainstream Palestinian political parties. I know, it would be lovely if it were. I wish it were. If it were, there wouldn’t be a conflict.

      You’re probably writing for the wrong website. Somebody has already basically called you a Nazi for what you’ve said.

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    17. Call me crazy, but perhaps you should — I don’t know — get a copy of the speech before you write a piece criticizing it. Unless, of course, you trust that Yediot Ahronot is fairly representing the content of the speech and that it’s just a coincidence that the paper didn’t include direct quotes for the parts that shocked you.

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    18. Sam

      @Dahlia – “It is fair to desire the same understanding from the people with whom I hope to live peacefully, when they are un-occupied, under any form of just political solution that will be reached.”
      Is it really fair? Fair to expect from people under occupation to have only rosy sentiments and bright outlooks for a future coexistence with their occupiers?
      I’m not saying your call for moderation is right or wrong. But how can you say this is fair? Sure, you could wish it would be like this or try to work towards achieving it, maybe. But demanding this “fairness” is very condescending, in my opinion.
      And I’m sorry, Dahlia, but the army troops that kicked my grandparents out of their village, never allowed them to go back, and upon intending to do so packed them in a truck and threw them over the border before destroying the village were not what you label “extremists” – they were Zionists championed by the vast majority of people living in the country.

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    19. sh

      And let’s say we do accept that everything is based on mythologies. Does that change the umbilical Jewish connection to Jerusalem? Not one iota. Is there any archaeological evidence showing that the Prophet Muhammad’s steed, Buraq, was tied to what we call the Western Wall? Or that they flew together up to heaven from that stone slab in the Dome of the Rock? The truth is that civilized people do not need to own everything they treasure. I don’t own The British Museum or the Louvre and have no problem with that even though I feel connected to much that is inside them, because I have access to them whenever I want when it’s open for visitors. Likewise as a Jew I don’t need to own the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif (particularly as even those Jews who came here over a millennium or two out of the sense of connection I referred to above never set foot on it because of a rabbinical interdiction) if I can visit it in peace when it’s open for visitors. Ditto the Tombs of the Patriarchs in Hebron and all the other shrines we share by belief, regrettably not yet with equanimity.
      I waited for years for joint non-violent protests and found the kind I was looking for only a couple of years ago. They are still much too small. One day they’ll sweep the country, it’s up to us, and by us I mean pretty much what Daliah meant. But I’m still waiting for all this progressive, liberal, right-wing, left-wing, secular, religious, Zio-and-all-antis/posts/isms/heids vocabulary to bite the dust once and for all. It’s become meaningless. The Jews won’t leave this place even if they’re forced out. They came on and off over the centuries, long before travel was easy or remotely comfortable and they’ll go on trying until the world really does end. Ditto the people already living here when our state was declared independent. Coming up to 64 years and we still haven’t got that into our thick skulls.

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    20. Sinjim

      @Dahlia: Look, I don’t know you personally. I read what you wrote and that’s all I can go on in terms of what you believe. So yes, I wrote my comment to you because I believe you are glossing over facts. It would have been nice if just this once you didn’t dismiss what I wrote out of hand, but I suppose that’s how the cookie crumbles.
      In response to Abbas saying that Israel is engaging in the ethnic cleansing of the city, you just brush aside the reality of this, the reality of the demolitions and the poverty and the expulsions, and reassure Palestinians that this is all “our” Jerusalem and always will be. As if the fears and the anguish caused by your government’s actions are all baseless. As if your declaring so is supposed to put us at ease.
      It was not extremists who ethnically cleansed the Palestinians from their homes. It was not extremists who instituted the military regime for the ’48 Palestinians until 1966. It was not extremists who started the settlement project. It was not extremists who started the policy of official neglect of Jerusalem Palestinians. in every instance it was the moderates, Jews who adhered to the principles of universal liberalism passing laws and regulations restricting the freedom and rights of Palestinians.
      I honestly don’t understand how an Israeli Jew could ask Palestinians to ignore the truth of the ethnic nature of this conflict. Would you ask black people in America to ignore the racial nature of their oppression, to ignore the reality of white privilege? No there is no solution in pretending that all are equal where there is no equality. The ethnic discrimination and oppression have to be looked at square in the face, not swept under the rug.
      And one final point, I find it bizarre that we should take Ynet’s account of Abbas’s speech at face value. Unless someone can provide the direct quotes of his denying Jewish connections to Jerusalem, this is just another one of that newspaper’s right-wing fabrications.

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    21. Wayne Burke

      Fatah is advised to seek the Internationalization of Jerusalem and neighboring areas under UN claims.

      Note that the United States does not recognize any part of Jerusalem as part of Israel.

      UN General Assembly Resolution 181 created a UN claim on Jerusalem: The City of Jerusalem shall be established as a corpus separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations. The Trusteeship Council shall be designated to discharge the responsibilities of the Administering Authority on behalf of the United Nations. The City of Jerusalem shall include the present municipality of Jerusalem plus the surrounding villages and towns, the most eastern of which shall be Abu Dis; the most southern, Bethlehem; the most western, ‘Ein Karim (including also the built-up area of Motsa); and the most northern Shu’fat.

      UN GA Resolution 273 reaffirmed Internationalization of Jerusalem: The Government of Israel would continue to seek agreement with the Arab interests concerned in the maintenance and preservation of peace and the reopening of blocked access into and within Jerusalem. Negotiations on that subject would not, however, affect the juridical status of Jerusalem, to be defined by international consent.

      UN General Assembly resolution 303 reiterated the UN commitment to internationalization of Jerusalem, and designated it a “corpus separatum” – separate body.

      UN General Assembly Resolution 2253: The General Assembly, deeply concerned at the situation prevailing in Jerusalem as a result of the measures taken by Israel to change the status of the City, considers that these measures are invalid; calls upon Israel to rescind all measures already taken and to desist forthwith from taking any action which would alter the status of Jerusalem; requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly and the Security Council on the situation and on the implementation of the present resolution…

      UN Security Council Resolution 252, acting on UNGA Resolutions 2253 and 2254:

      Reaffirming that acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissible,

      1. Deplores the failure of Israel to comply with the General Assembly resolutions mentioned above;

      2. Considers that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, including expropriation of land and properties thereon, which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status;

      3. Urgently calls upon Israel to rescind all such measures already taken and to desist forthwith from taking any further action which tends to change the status of Jerusalem.

      UN Security Council Resolution 1322 condemned Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Al Aqsa mosque claiming East Jerusalem as Israeli, deplores the provocation on 28 September 2000 resulting in over 80 Palestinian deaths and many other casualties; condemns acts of violence, especially the excessive use of force against Palestinians, resulting in injury and loss of human life.

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    22. Aaron the Fascist Troll

      I think the discourse on this conflict would be a lot clearer if some of the polemical words used here were avoided. Each of these cliches obscures more than it illuminates: “extremists,” “moderates,” “hateful,” “compassionates.” They’re fine for insulting the other side or glorifying one’s own, but they seem a little out of place in an article that claims to rise above enmity. I understand the “we hate the haters” idea, but I doubt that you intended it to come across as polemical as it did.

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    23. @Sean, gee, I never did think of that. Brilliant idea! Wonder why the official conference website didn’t see fit to post it. Nor anyone else. But I think the point is make quite clear in Lara Friedman’s piece, and she was there: http://forward.com/articles/152079/
      Also, in case it wasn’t clear there, is a comparison of different forms of media coverage here, not an endorsement of one – still, remember that yediot is what the majority of Israelis will read, so I guess it’s kind of – I don’t know – worth knowing.
      @Sinjim, I’m sorry you feel I haven’t addressed your points, but it’s hard to seriously engage when your entire theme ignores one of the very first lines in my article: [on Abbas’ direct quote ongoing actions against Palestinians in E. Jerusalem] “That quote is justified and correct; I have seen it with my own eyes. It is true, it is wrong and must be stopped, full stop.” So I feel i’m busy just getting you to try to read what I wrote, but instead you’re slapping on a layer of stuff that really is so far off base it’s hard for me to relate to at all.
      @Aaron – (must you call yourself the fascist troll?) Critique accepted. Worth elaboration on just what I mean by those terms; but too much for a short piece. Perhaps in a different one, and I have been thinking over that question for a while now.

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    24. Kamper

      The conflict is purely religious, with the center being the temple mount. Fix the temple status with free uncumbered access for all(even perhaps a third temple built beside the dome of the rock)and everything else will fall into place.

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    25. Wayne Burke

      If Israel makes an offer that the Muslim world would agree to as fair and just, may I suggest the end of settlement expansion and the full return of Palestinian refugees, it might be possible to rebuild the first Temple on the Temple mount. It is mostly courtyard and the first temple was small. But it is clear that Bibi Netanyahu is neither fair nor just. It is not possible as long as Israel funds the terrorist leader Rabbi Dov Lior.

      The site of the first Temple not only was not sacred ground, it wasn’t even Jewish soil, built at a time when Jerusalem was integrated and desegregated.

      According to scripture, 1 Chronicles 21:18 to 30: King David buys a threshing floor from Araunah the Jebusite for 600 shekels of gold (US$970,560) so he could build an altar for burnt offerings. 1 Chronicles 22:1 to 19 King David gave orders to assemble the foreigners residing in Israel to build a Temple and put his son Solomon in charge of construction.

      The Jebusites were the original inhabitants of Jerusalem. Scripture shows King David treated them with respect, insisting on full and fair payment. The foreigners were paid fair wages.

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    26. zayzafouna

      Dahlia, your article disappoints me as a Palestinian. Both our “moderates” and our “extremists” share the belief that you stole Palestine and have no right to be here. Our extremists want to kick you out by themselves and we moderates want you to go voluntarily, assisted by the international community of justice. By insisting on the legitimacy of your state, you have a lot more in common with Baruch Goldstein than you do with me

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    27. ToivoS

      Dahlia at some level I have to agree with your sentiments. But at a very fundamental level your views represent about 5% of the Israeli public. Given this very obvious fact that the rest of the Jewish Israeli public is in basic support of the current government, which means oppression of the Palestinians and their removal from their national lands, it is hard to take your objections seriously. You, Dahlia, do not represent Israel, it is clear that Israel stands for something totally different. And that is the oppression of your Palestinian neighbors and their removal from the WB so more Jews can move there.

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    28. @Zayzafouna, you sound for all the world like an implant of the Israeli hasbara system. But if this is really how you feel, enjoy the lifetime of hostility you plan to live.

      @Toivos, i think I mentioned in a comment on Omar’s post that I get increasingly frustrated with the theme that I represent only a fraction of Israelis, as if I’m somehow not a ‘real’ israeli, or insignificant. It’s becoming insulting and small minded (not you personally) – it’s always a minority that starts the movement to change things, which eventually reaches the majority. I count here, period. People who think like me are not so rare, they’re just maddeningly defeatist and/or defensive and I’m tired of apologizing for it.

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    29. I’d like to remind everyone that the original 1917 Balfour Declaration included language to respect all minorities. Also to highly recommend Simon Montifiore’s excellent (I think definitive) 2011 history, ‘Jerusalem’. (He doesn’t use the term ‘holy land’ once.)

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