by Peter Fernandez
The incendiary conflict between Arab and Jew inside the resurrected walls of The Eternal City cannot be understood without acknowledging East Jerusalem’s modern historic origin, while a biased western media unevenly reports this microcosmic paradigm.
With an international media feeding frenzy baited by outspoken proponents of Palestine, including Congressmen, Omar, Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez, and Vermont’s very own, Bernie Sanders, this long-standing legal struggle has been criminally ignored in favor of its being framed another abstract left-wing cause celebre. You will never see East Jerusalem’s real history prefacing prejudiced accounts in The Burlington Free Press, Barre Times or 7 Days, Boston Globe, NY Times, etc.
From 1918 to 1948 the British ruled Palestine, and Jerusalem was divided through the first two decades, 1948-1967, of the Jewish State’s rebirth. Jordan still controlled East Jerusalem, while Israel ruled its western districts. In 1967, Jerusalem came under full Israeli control.
The Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood inside the historic Arab Quarter of East Jerusalem was established in 1865, while, almost conter-minously, the Shimon Hatzadik (Shimon, The Righteous One) and Nahalat Shimon, Jewish neighborhoods were purchased and developed in 1875. Shimon’s tomb and five acres were acquired by the Sephardic Community Committee and the Ashkenazi Assembly of Israel. This locale was named after that 3rd century BCE Hebrew priest, whose tomb has been here for over two thousand years. Sheikh Jarrah was Saladin’s physician during the 13th Century, and he is, of course, also honored with a tomb only blocks away.
This prosperous Arab area was founded and influenced by the wealthy Husseini clan. One Husseini son, Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, (1895-1974), grew up to become the Grand Mufti (highest Muslim religious figure) of Jerusalem from 1921 until 1948. A staunch ally of Hitler (photographed with him), he fueled murderous riots, and visited Nazi death camps before planning to construct gas chambers in Palestine.
With the British commanded TransJordanian Arab Legion advancing through East Jerusalem during the 1948 War, Jewish families fled their ancestral homes, and the legitimacy of their land titles was considered null and void by Arab authorities. In 1956, the Jordanian government in league with The United Nations relief Works Association, gave these abandoned habitats to 28 Palestinian refugee families.
The legal proceedings for the return of such homes to the initial purchasers have been in and out of the Jerusalem Supreme Court since 1972 when the original Jewish claims were finally acknowledged.
In 1982 a legal consortium attempted to remove the 23 Arab families, who were still residents in the Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood. According to the Arab families, an agreement was reached when they recognized and accepted the court’s terms. The accused Arab families were granted protected tenant status but were required to pay rents and maintain the properties. According to the plaintiffs, rents were not paid, and the litigants sought to damage old buildings, including a synagogue.
Because of nonpayment of rent, further legal proceedings to remove the tenants were again initiated in 1993. The two original Jewish trusts sold their properties to Nahalat Shimon International, a developer planning to construct 200 housing units. In 2008, another at-tempt to remove the charged families was, again, brought before the courts. At this time, approximately 500 people made up the Arab families accused of nonpayment.
How many of the violent Palestine protesters, in Los Angeles and New York, who attacked Jews there, do you think are acquainted with the truth, or even care? For that matter, how many Palestine sympathizers here in The Green Mountains care about this truth over politically correct narrative?
The author is a Northfield resident who has lived in Israel.