July 9, 2019
- In 1999, when I was Israel’s ambassador to the UN, I sought instructions from then-Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon about how to respond to a Palestinian provocation at the UN involving a resolution calling for the internationalization of Jerusalem.
- Sharon told me to read over the Knesset speech of our first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, from December 1949, in which he declared that he was moving Israel’s capital to Jerusalem. Ben-Gurion reminded the international community that the people of Israel had “faithfully honored for 2,500 years the oath sworn by the first exiles by the rivers of Babylon not to forget Jerusalem.”
- In 2016, UNESCO asserted that the Temple Mount was connected to Islam, but it refused to acknowledge any Jewish connection whatsoever, or, for that matter, any Christian connection. The same year, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution branding Jerusalem as “occupied Palestinian territory,” insinuating that the Temple Mount and the Western Wall were Palestinian!
- At the July 2000 Camp David Summit, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat told President Bill Clinton that there never was a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. If there was no Temple, then Israel had no historical claim to Jerusalem. But President Clinton responded that “not only the Jews but I, too, believe that under the surface there are remains of Solomon’s temple.” Denying its history entailed an affront to the Christian faith as well.
- According to Christian and Jewish sources brought forward by Prof. Moshe Gill, in his monumental study, A History of Palestine, published by Cambridge University Press: “The Jewish population residing in the country at the time of the Moslem conquest in the 7th century consisted of the direct descendants of the generations of Jews who had lived there since the days of Joshua bin Nun.”
- In the 1400s, Jewish immigration to the Holy Land had increased to such a scale that the Franciscans petitioned the Pope to issue an edict prohibiting Christian sea captains from carrying Jewish passengers to the Holy Land. By the mid-19th century, the British Consulate in Jerusalem determined that Jews had already restored their majority in the city in 1863.
- Today, across the Middle East, the holy sites of all the great faiths are under a new assault by the forces of jihad. The only force that will protect Jerusalem for all the great faiths is the modern State of Israel.
The writer is President of the Jerusalem Center.