By Chaim Silberstein (HSC Contributor), Originally published in The American Spectator
On Sunday Israel celebrates “Jerusalem Day,” the anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967.
Since the intensification of terrorist activities in Jerusalem last September, the issue of dividing Jerusalem has surfaced yet again. It appears in two main forms — the usual demand from Arabs that Israel vacate the areas it liberated in the Six Day War and a new campaign by former Israeli leftist cabinet minister Haim Ramon’s “Save Jewish Jerusalem” movement. The Labor party opposition chief, Yitzhak Herzog, has expressed similar sentiments.
After Israel liberated east Jerusalem in the Six Day War, it incorporated the area previously under Jordanian occupation as well as significantly expanding the borders of the new united Jerusalem. This expanded section known today as “east Jerusalem” ultimately included 28 Arab neighborhoods, comprising today around 300,000 Arabs and 9 large Jewish neighborhoods of over 250,000 Jews (about 45 percent of the total Jewish population in Jerusalem). The Jewish and Arab neighborhoods are pretty much intertwined although Jews do not frequent these neighborhoods lately due to safety concerns.
The Arab and international communities demand Israel’s complete withdrawal to pre-1967 armistice lines — that is, vacate the area liberated and subsequently populated by a quarter of a million Jews.
The Ramon Plan would cancel the Jerusalem Law, which officially annexed eastern Jerusalem to Israel, and hand over all the Arab neighborhoods to the Palestinian Authority.
After the amazing miracle of unifying Jerusalem in 1967 after so much bloodshed, how do we understand these efforts to divide Jerusalem?