By As'ad Abdul Rahman
The very famous Roman/Jewish historian, Josephus, wrote: "There is no town as Biblical as Jerusalem, but it was neither built nor named by the Hebrews." Indeed, according to the earliest Jewish traditions: "[Occupied] Jerusalem is directly identified with the ancient city Salem that the Biblical Melchizedek, (King of Righteousness), dwelt and ruled and whom Abraham paid tithe (zakat)".
Also, [Occupied] Jerusalem is Yerushlem in Aramaic, Urishlem in Syriac, Ursalim in Assyrian and Beit Al Maqdis, (the Holy/ Sanctified House) in Arabic. Jerusalem is also "Zahrat Al Mada'in", the top elite of all cities that gives hope to three religions, is being distorted in a way killing all hopes for peace and peaceful co-existence between the three faiths derived from the creed of Ebrahim.
The spiritual beauty of the city of peace is being disfigured by the egotistical, racist and colonial policy of almost all Israeli governments who are hell-bent on changing history, and destroying universal values which were dearly held by Jews throughout history.
It was egotistical racism, apartheid policy and attempts to wipe out Judaism from the face of this earth which Jews faced by holding fast to the rule of law not the rule of men and by declaring all men (males and females) have equal rights regardless of gender, colour, creed or ethnicity.
These are the same values that are being trampled upon on daily basis by Israeli military boots in the occupied Palestinian land and especially in the Palestinian city of Jerusalem. Turning the Holy City of Peace into a racist Jewish city by attempting to wipe out the Palestinian living presence after vandalising graves of dead Palestinians in the city is only a recipe for disaster that shall directly affect not only the very existence of the Zionist state, but also the national security of the West as a whole, especially the American national security.
While the universal principle that all human beings have equal rights under the law is the very principle which the people of the Jewish faith held steadfastly to in the face of Nazism in Germany; this same principle is being violated now by the extreme Zionist right in Israel.
Permission to enter
Many observers confirm that the Israeli state is being ruled by a fundamentalist doctrine, exactly like Al Qaida, where 85 per cent of the world Jewry who do not belong to ‘the Jewish Orthodoxy' are now being considered to be non-Jewish! In this context, one would also ask: Then what about the destiny of the Palestinians who are the original indigenous people of the Holy Land and occupied Jerusalem? Indeed, it is comforting to witness hundreds of thousands of Jews around the world screaming from the very top of their lungs against Israel: "not in our name"!
Having been born in occupied Jerusalem myself, I had a first hand experience of the difficult conditions as I struggled years ago to get a permission to enter and visit my country Palestine and my birthplace, in the holy city. That was on November 18, 1993, when my dear friend and brother, Palestinian martyr Faisal Al Hussaini informed me that a permit from Israeli authorities had finally been obtained, but on condition that I bring with me Palestinian investors to attend a special workshop on investment issues.
I felt pain and anger to be treated like any tourist on visiting my homeland under certain conditions, but more painful was the sight I saw upon arriving. The holy city was besieged by a large wall of apartment buildings thicker than the Wall of China. One colony after the other have been planted on the ground swallowing nearly 25 per cent of the total area of the West Bank, established as accomplished facts declaring loud and clear to every Palestinian that there was no place for them in the Holy Land which only belongs to Jews! Yet, not to all, but only to Orthodox Jews, as the present rulers of Israel have chosen.
Those have cast additional black shadows that surrounded occupied Jerusalem and have dimmed hopes for peace and created a suffocating atmosphere making it hard for Palestinians to breathe. Yet, the latter will never give up their dreams and hopes to regain their city which stands at the core of their national consciousness. Lately, Dr Ayida Al Najjar brought vivid images of the holy city in her book Al Quds wal Bint Al Shalabiya (Jerusalem and the Pretty Girl) which speaks of the unwavering attachment to the birthplace while recalling the cultural role played by Palestinian women in the city during the British Mandate in Palestine.
Yet, the occupied Jerusalem of today is becoming daily unrecognisable to many of its Palestinian inhabitants. Nevertheless, the long history of occupied Jerusalem tells us that all occupiers have limited endurance time as long as the occupied indigenous people keep their struggle alive in line with set principles guaranteed by all religions and by international law.
-This commentary was published in The GULF NEWS on 03/2011
-Professor As'ad Abdul Rahman is the Chairman of the Palestinian Encyclopaedia