“Jerusalem is, without doubt, the ultimate bone of contention,” declares international law scholar Jacques Gauthier.  He says that a title search in The Law of Nations shows that the Israeli ownership of Jerusalem is res judicata, decided law.  (Gauthier, YouTube, “Who Owns Jerusalem?”)

“By denying a Jewish history and a Jewish Temple, the Palestinians are also denying Christianity its heritage.  For without a Jewish Temple, the events of Jesus could not have taken place.”  So writes author Barry Shaw.  He notes that BDS churches subscribing to Replacement Theology have no problem with that.  “Leaders of the Methodist, Anglican, and some Baptist churches fall in line with the Palestinian argument against Israel.” (Barry Shaw, Israel, Reclaiming the Narrative)

The Palestinians and their credulous followers in the BDS-supporting Western churches blatantly propagate the twin falsehoods that Israel has neither a legal claim nor a historical connection to Jerusalem.  They use that line to promote the idea that Jerusalem should be divided or internationalized.  Leftwing Israeli politician Shlomo Ben-Ami, a former foreign minister, revealed their deeper assumption: “At the deepest level, they are not ready to recognize that we have any kind of title here.” (Shaw, Reclaiming)

Let’s look at the Palestinian BDS claims in light of the legal and historical facts.  In 2001 Ikrima Sabri, the Mufti of Jerusalem, audaciously lied to Die Welt, saying that “in the whole city, there is not even a single stone indicating Jewish history.”

In contrast, at various times plenty of Arab and Islamic sources have been more honest about it.  In 1930 the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem published a booklet called “A Brief Guide to al-Haram al-Sharif” (the Temple Mount).  It states that the Temple Mount’s “identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute.”   Multiple similar examples can also be found.  Even the Qur’an talks about Solomon’s construction of the first temple (34:13) and the destruction of the first two temples (17:7). (Bard, Mitchell, in “Myths and Facts”)

Recently we’ve seen attempts by BDS supporters to claim that the Jews have no authentic historical connection to Jerusalem.   As Prime Minister Netanyahu quipped in his 2016 address to the United Nations, “That’s like saying that the Great Wall of China has no historical connection to the Chinese people.”  The Palestinians are so fanatical about denying Israel’s historical connection to Jerusalem that they resort to destroying material evidence by massively excavating under the Temple Mount.  Their BDS-aligned partners in Western religious circles go right along with this dishonest madness.

The Mandate for Palestine was passed in 1922 by the League of Nations and confirmed afterward by the United Nations.  It has never been superseded.  As an article of international law, it detailed what the boundaries were to be for Palestine as a Jewish national home.  Those same legal boundaries continued to exist after the Jewish state succeeded the Mandate in 1948.  Jerusalem is entirely within those boundaries.  Therefore, quite simply, Jerusalem is within the boundaries of Israel.

At the end of the 1948 war, in which five Arab countries invaded Israel, Israel had control of western Jerusalem, while Jordan controlled eastern Jerusalem.  However, Jordan had acquired that control by illegal aggression and continued to hold it illegally for 19 years until 1967 (during which time a ceasefire agreement was in effect).  Jordan’s broader occupation and annexation of Judea and Samaria was also illegal.  Moreover, in violation of the armistice agreement, Jordan refused during those years to allow Jews into eastern Jerusalem.  Because of that, eastern Jerusalem became known in popular conception as “Arab” Jerusalem.

The outcome of the 1967 Six-Day War reinforced Israel’s claim to Jerusalem.  Rejecting Prime Minister Eshkol’s peace offer to Jordan, King Hussein mounted an attack on Israel anyway.  Of course, Israel defended itself, resulting in Jordan losing control of the West Bank and Jerusalem (gained by aggression in 1948).  This victory allowed Israel to extend its jurisdiction and administration to eastern Jerusalem.  Based on the principle that a state acting in self-defense has greater right to a territory than an aggressor attacking the territory, distinguished international lawyer and later president of the International Court of Justice, Stephen Schwebel, stated, “Israel has better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem.”

Ironically, the Palestinians insist on returning to the “1967 border,” the same ceasefire line that Jordan had insisted was temporary in 1949.  Indeed, the armistice line was never a border; it was expressly temporary.  But by an absurd stretch, the Palestinians base their claim on the premise that the real estate was Jordan’s and therefore it’s theirs – as if the Palestinians were identical to Jordan.  Jordan and the Palestinians are in fact two different entities.  The armistice agreement was between Israel and Jordan, two sovereign nations.  It had nothing to do with the Palestinians.  So there is no legal reason to divide Jerusalem.

The Qur’an makes no explicit reference to Jerusalem, and Muslims praying in Jerusalem turn their backs to the Temple Mount, facing Mecca.  So why is the Palestinian national movement so adamant about displacing the Jews and establishing Islamic sovereignty over Jerusalem?  As Barry Shaw observes, it’s not so much about their own claims, but about using their interpretation of Islam to further their political agenda: “It’s all about destroying Israel and planting their Palestinian flag over Jerusalem as a statement of conquest.”  Sadly, that would appear to be just fine with the pro-BDS Christian denominations who are driven by their Replacement Theology with its implicit anti-Semitism.

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