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Article titled 'Future of Arab East Jerusalem' PDF Print E-mail

July 8, 1997


The city of Jerusalem - that figures so prominently in the imagination and prayers of Jews, Christians and Muslims - has become the focal point of the Arab-Israel conflict. Before  1967, Jerusalem was a divided city. The Israelis controlled the modern West Jerusalem and the Arabs controlled the eastern part of the city, the walled "Old City" of Jerusalem. In the "Six Day War" of 1967, Israel captured all of East Jerusalem and later annexed it. The international community has never accepted the annexation, except Costa Rica and El Salvador. Recently, the Israel lobby has succeeded in maneuvering the US Congress and Christian spiritual leaders to openly come out in favor of the Israeli position on Jerusalem to be their future undivided capital. The noble members of the Congress and the Christian leaders have a right to express their opinions. However, one fails to understand why these good people will abandon so lightly the sense of justice and fairness? What a tragedy!

The remarkable Jews have risen from the ashes of the Holocaust, and within fifty years, have built the most powerful military nation in the Middle East. Also, the American Jewish community - 2.4 percent of the US population - has attained such clout, that no American politician can dare to do or say anything unfavorable to Israel. In September 1991, President G. Bush "locked horns" with the Jewish community, concerning a $10 billion loan to Israel, that resulted in his defeat in the 1992 election. I wonder why so powerful, rich and blessed people - the apple of God's eye - can be so poor in their generosity to the helpless and powerless Palestinians? During the last 30 years of forceful occupation of East Jerusalem, Israel has inflicted unbearable wounds on the Palestinians by conducting a sophisticated but transparent process of ethnic cleansing - a policy of deportation, voiding of identity cards, revocation of residency rights, control of entry into the city, restriction of construction permits, opening of the tunnel, building Jewish settlements - in order to Judaize Jerusalem. One expects a humane attitude from the Jewish leaders whose people suffered the worst ethnic cleansing in history. Mr. Netanyahu's hostile and arrogant actions are designed to humiliate Mr. Arafat and his people. He provokes and knows that they will react. If they react, he then calls them 'terrorists'. It is pure dishonesty, not smartness.

No matter what Israel or others say or do, Jerusalem's future should be decided by   peaceful negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis, as agreed in the Oslo accords. Jerusalem does not belong exclusively to the Jews, Muslims or Christians but it belongs to all of them. Perhaps God designed the Holy places of the three faiths in close proximity, so that their people can learn to share and live together in peace and harmony. Is it possible?      

Mr. M. Khaliq Qureshi,
1317 Shamrock Lane,
Plano, Texas 75093. U.S.A.                                                                 
Res. Tel: (972)380-5106.

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