Jerusalem central to Israel's plan for Palestine
Underestimating the pivotal role the holy city of Jerusalem plays in the conflict between Israel and Palestine has been a common mistake.
Jerusalem, with its many historical, ideological and cultural disputes, is at the core of the conflict.
And the ongoing popular uprising in the occupied city is the conflict in microcosm.
Israel’s policy of settlement expansion and heavy handed security operations in Jerusalem is central to the Zionist project to Judaize the city and Palestine.
|The Israeli government appears to give its tacit approval to those wishing to 'rebuild the temple'|
Israeli leaders have since the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967 stated that a united city is the eternal capital of the Israel. The religious dimensions of this include a call by extremist groups to demolish al-Aqsa mosque, allegedly built on the grounds of the second Jewish temple, and replace it with a new Jewish temple.
The Israeli government appears to give its tacit approval to those wishing to "rebuild the temple". Earlier this year, the government allowed a conference to go ahead where thousands of Jews pledged to demolish al-Aqsa.
Indeed, various Israeli politicians in the last few decades have repeated the line that “the battle for Jerusalem has begun”. Consecutive Israeli governments have continued the physical annexation and Judaisation of Jerusalem by surrounding it with settlements, demolishing Palestinian homes and confiscating land.
This Judaisation of Jerusalem did not start at the beginning of the occupation in 1967. The intention was there decades before.
Theodor Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement, said at the first Zionist congress held in the Swiss city of Basel in 1897: “If we ever take Jerusalem while I am still alive and able to take action, I will remove anything that is not considered holy by the Jews, and I will destroy the centuries-old antiquities”.
Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his predecessors Ariel Sharon, Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert, Shimon Perez and Yitzhak Rabin, are merely carrying forward that vision.
This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition's 'open space' section, where readers weigh in on the issues of the day.
Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.