The world is myopic if not deranged, in declaring Jerusalem’s Jewish Temple site Islamic and that the Kotel, the western retaining wall supporting the Temple Mount built by Jewish kings and recaptured from Jordan fifty years ago on June 7 in a defensive war forced onto Israel by aggressive Arab armies bent on our destruction, as not being part of Israeli territory.
So what is this nonsense that Mahmoud Abbas demands that Jerusalem should be his capital and that Israel cannot claim Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State? He seems to have much global support.
I have a solution to the impasse. Let them call Bethlehem their capital. After all, they invest political capital in telling the world how much they care for Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus who they call “a Palestinian messenger.”
What a strong message this would send to the world. They claim to care so much for Christianity even as the Christian population of that town shrinks from an overwhelming majority in 1995 when Israel gifted Bethlehem to Yasser Arafat in a peace gesture. Today, the Christians are less than 12%.
To readers who know me, including my many Christian friends, and think I’ve suddenly lost the plot, I ask you to relax. This article is as fanciful as the notion that a two-state solution will herald peace between the Palestinians and Israel. So let’s face some painful truths together.
They say that the cause of this Christian flight from Bethlehem is the oppressive Israeli security barrier that ruins lives, but isn’t it strange that as the Christian population has rapidly reduced, exponentially the Muslim population has rapidly grown. Is this the anti-Christian security barrier they make it out to be? Actually not. According the Israeli statistics, the Bethlehem population has grown from 14,439 in 1967 to over 27,000 today. It’s only the demographics that have changed. Far less Christians, far more Muslims, and far more radical Hamas influence.
As veteran Ha’Aretz journalist, Danny Rubenstein, who has studied Palestinians for over forty years, wrote,
“Arab nationality in general, and specifically Palestinian nationalism, has become more and more of a religious thing,” meaning traditionally Muslim. This is what we witness being playing out in Jerusalem where Palestinian demands are targeted not for peace but to drive Jews away from their holy sites and heritage.
Journalists Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff described in their book ‘The Seventh War; How We Won and Why We Lost the War’ how armed gangs of street thugs along with terrorists threatened Bethlehem Christians, took over their homes and businesses when they fled, as Palestinian officials turned a blind eye to the violence and theft and ignored Christian complaints.
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