June 6 commemorates Jerusalem Day, the day that Israeli forces reunited the two sides of Jerusalem in the Six Day War of 1967, that had been divided since the War of Independence that started in 1947. East Jerusalem was then illegally occupied by Jordan, an occupation that was not recognized by the US, the UN and even the Arab States. Israel’s reunification of the city brought it back to where it had been before the Arab invasion.
Much has happened in the city over the past 49 years, not all of it positive. On the very positive side the City was reunited under Jewish sovereignty. On the negative side no countries have recognized Israeli sovereignty over reunited Jerusalem, not even the US, that claims to be an Israeli ally. The Congress passed a law in 1995 to recognize Israeli sovereignty, but this has never been implemented by US Administrations, under the influence of the State Dept. and the Arab States, preferring to use this issue as a means to blackmail Israel.
Not many people realize that Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority since censuses have been taken back to 1896, and although the Arab birthrate is higher than the Jewish one, the city is still predominantly Jewish. The comparative populations at independence in 1948 were 100,000 Jews, 40,000 Muslims and 25,000 Christians and others; today it is 660,000, 310,000, and 16,500, respectively.
But, notwithstanding the advances in Jerusalem’s infrastructure, including a modern city-wide tram system, the two sides of the city remain separate. Jews rarely go into East Jerusalem for fear of being attacked by Arabs and Arabs often go into the center of West Jerusalem in order to attack and kill Jewish civilians. In fact, many people, including many Israelis, feel that successive governments have failed to do enough to truly unite the city. This gives fuel to those who seek to divide Jerusalem in order to placate the Arabs and their supporters, who seek to establish a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. However, if this were to happen it would become another failed Arab State, undoubtedly a center for terrorist organizations, within bombing distance of the entire Jewish population of Jerusalem as well as the Israeli Knesset. This would be an intolerable situation for Israel, as it would for any civilized state.
There is no doubt in my mind, that whatever the sentimental and supposed liberal approach to dividing the Land and the City of Jerusalem, Israel cannot allow this to happen. The UK could not allow a hostile terrorist state near London, the French near Paris (although there is almost one already), the US near Washington, the Germans near Berlin and the Russian near Moscow; Jerusalem is no different. PM Netanyahu in his Jerusalem Day speech said “yes” to peace, but “no” to redividing Jerusalem. So let’s celebrate the fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s undivided and eternal capital.