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However, throughout all of Jerusalem history it was the site for the great festivals and feasts of the Jewish nation. The city would explode in size during these times. Josephus estimates over two million people were present in Jerusalem during the Roman's ill-timed siege of 70 A. The siege took place during the feast of Unleavened Bread, or, Passover. Whether Josephus was completely accurate or not, the implication is clear that the size of the city grew to staggering numbers during these great occasions.

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Indeed, Jerusalem history is one of not only conflict and disaster, but also the site of joyous celebrations on a national scale, unlike any civilization in recorded history before or since.

The streets of ancient Jerusalem witnessed some of the most remarkable occasions throughout God's dealings with mankind. The first such festival took place in I Kings 8 , when King Solomon "brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the city of David, which is Zion". This verse specifically names the hill of Ophel also as Zion, the site of the Jebusite stronghold captured by David and renamed the city of David.

It also signaled the start of the First Temple Period of the Jerusalem Temple within the overall context of Jerusalem history. In the approximately 3, year relationship between Jerusalem and Israel, only two temples have existed. The first within Israel's place in Jerusalem history was built by Solomon and dedicated in this passage. For the ark was brought up from the city of David into the newly constructed Temple.

The scene Scripture paints of this ceremony inspires awe and wonder at the magnificence of this ancient city. What an incredible scene this must have been. Rarely had Jerusalem history witnessed such a celebration as this. Scripture records a few such occasions, such as the Passover celebrated in ancient Jerusalem by King Josiah. Scripture records this took place in the 18th year of Josiah's reign, thus ca.

At the same time, the Babylonians were on the rise. The world was not a peaceful and safe place, but menacing and threatening. In less than fifty years after Josiah's great celebration, Jerusalem would lie in ruins, The Temple looted and burned to the ground, citizens executed and exiled, victims of the ruthless King Nebuchadnezzar and the powerful Babylonian army. Tracing Jerusalem history brings us into intimate contact with the great empires of the ancient world. Jerusalem, in a way, found itself the capital city of a great frontier. Canaan lay at the crossroads of the eastern, northern, and western world empires.

It was the great buffer zone fought over by the Hittites, Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans. Jerusalem was oftentimes a troublesome burden for these ancient empires; stubborn and rebellious in nature, fueled by odd and strange religious practices. Nonetheless, Jerusalem was key to controlling the region, thus fought over many times. Remarkably, in the modern era the city has continued to be the center of attention. Jews, Christians and Muslims have been in conflict over the city since before the Crusades. Many modern movies have been fueled by the mysteries of the Knights Templar, made famous by their exploits in Jerusalem and the Holy Land throughout the Crusader period.

The British General Allenby marched into Jerusalem in the first half of the 20th century, eventually leading to the re-establishment of the nation of Israel in Jerusalem history continues to be shaped today, and remains an issue of division amongst world leaders. The futile efforts of the U. From the moment David captured Jerusalem, Israel has laid claim to the city. Arafat's false claims of Jebusite ancestry simply proves that this city rests at the heart of a deep and ancient conflict.

One that continues to the very present moment. Jerusalem history does indeed include centuries of time prior to the Israelite conquest by David. Many scholars believe the city was founded by Amorites, from which the Jebusites were descended as a mix of Amorite and Hittite blood. Jewish tradition associates Shem and Eber as founders of the city. Many people claim the true identity of Melchizedek is Shem, one of the sons of Noah.

Shem was the son through which the Shemitic line was passed down. From Shem the line passed to Eber, from whom Abraham would descend from. If this were the case, then Jewish tradition may be true. The very first mention of Jerusalem in the Bible is as Salem in Genesis Abram is returning from rescuing Lot from King Chederlaomer, after the kings from the northeast destroyed and looted Sodom and Gomorrah , and the cities of the plain.

As Abram enters the vicinity of Salem, he encounters its mysterious king. Depending on when one places the controversial date of Abraham, this may pre-date any other mention of Jerusalem, thus the descendants of Abraham could justly claim its founding, or at least the earliest recorded occupation of it. This would also explain the mysterious identity of Melchizedek, and make sense of Abram's submission to him. This line of thinking, naturally, is sure to draw out the hounds of criticism. As Jerusalem history stands in its current form, the earliest mention of it is in 2oth century B.

The city is in the hands of Canaanites, perhaps the Jebusites. The identity of Melchizedek is unknown, as Scripture is silent as to his exact identity. Consequently, his lineage is unknown as well. Any theory regarding his identity is interesting speculation. From the encounter of Abram and Melchizedek in Genesis 14 , to the rising of Jesus Christ from the grave in the Gospels and into the New Jerusalem of Zechariah , Ezekiel and Revelation , Jerusalem history continues to be shaped today.

Jerusalem is a city of mystery and intrigue reaching back into the depths of antiquity. It's current status as a major world focal point only emphasizes the importance of this remarkable city of survival. One can only shake his or her head at the stubbornness and refusal of an ancient mountain fortress to succumb to the armies of history and the onslaught of time. Jerusalem remains today a vibrant city and unarguably one of the most relevant cities of the modern world. It is the only city that can lay claim to being the sacred to three major world religions.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all claim Jerusalem a holy and sacred city. Indeed, Jerusalem history is shaped and fueled by such religious and spiritual notions. The Temple Mount today remains a region of uneasy peace. The site is currently occupied by the Islamic Dome of the Rock. Under this dome is the supposed very rock that father Abraham laid down Ishmael in obedience to Allah, according to the Koran; and where Abraham laid down Isaac in obedience to God Almighty according to Jews and Christians.

It is where Araunah the Jebusite's threshing floor rested, purchased by David after he spotted an angel of the Lord standing in the spot. It is where Solomon built the First Temple, destroyed by Babylon. It is all that remains of the Jerusalem Temple which stood during the time of Jesus. In fact, Rome owes to the Jews the building of one of history's greatest architectural achievements, the Colosseum. Much of the funds needed for construction of the magnificent arena came from the Temple treasury in Jerusalem. The Roman Empire wasn't the first empire to steal Jewish wealth for its own purposes.

This practice would be copied by Nazi Germany centuries later. Yet from the ash-heap of history Jerusalem stands today as a testament to God's deliverance and sovereignty. Words like those spoke by the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah Have you visited the Holy City? Do you have a story, article, or pictures you would like to share? Share your experiences with the City of God! Entering your story is easy to do.

Your story will appear on a Web page exactly the way you enter it here. You can wrap a word in square brackets to make it appear bold. For example [my story] would show as my story on the Web page containing your story. Since most people scan Web pages, include your best thoughts in your first paragraph. Do you have some pictures or graphics to add? Click the button and find the first one on your computer.

Select it and click on the button to choose it. Then click on the link if you want to upload up to 3 more images. All pictures must be in. Click here to upload more images optional. You can preview and edit on the next page. Back to Jerusalem History. According to Israeli census figures, the population of Israel today is approximately 6. If we add the 2. The Jewish population is roughly 5. These overall statistics also distort the debate over the disengagement from Gaza where the demographic picture is crystal clear.

According to the new study, the Arab population there is more than 1. The Jewish population, according to the State Department , prior to the evacuation was 7,, which means the the percentage of Jews in Gaza was a fraction of 1 percent. The new report argues that the growth rates in Israel and the territories have been lower than previously forecast though they use figures for only the last four years , but even the new figures show that the growth rate for the Arabs remains higher than that of the Jews, so the proportion of Jews should continue to decline.

Recent data from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics suggests the situation may be even worse. The Bureau said that the proportion of Jews within the current borders of Israel is expected to decline from the present figure of 78 percent to 70 percent in because of the higher birth rate among Israeli Arabs. Muslim women have an average of four children and give birth to the first at age Many proponents of territorial compromise argue that these demographic trends make it impossible for Israel to remain both a Jewish and democratic state if it holds onto the West Bank and Gaza.

If a majority of the population of Israel, or even a significant minority, were non-Jews, then the Jewish character of the state would likely change. Extremists have suggested that non-Jews could be prohibited from voting, but this would make the state undemocratic. Many people argue that it is impossible to predict the future, and that most past projections were proven inaccurate. Earlier doomsday predictions were upset by large influxes of immigrants , and many Israelis still believe this will be their demographic salvation.

After more than one million Jews from the former Soviet Union arrived in the s, this view was temporarily vindicated, however, there only about 8 million Jews in the entire world outside Israel, and a large number would have to decide to move to Israel to offset the demographic trend. This is especially unlikely given that roughly 75 percent of the Jews outside Israel live in the United States from which very few emigrate.

The demographic issue is still only one variable in the Israeli political calculus related to territorial compromise. The other principal concerns are whether Israel can have greater peace and security without controlling some or all of the territories. That is a matter of great debate within Israel. It is a propaganda tool the Palestinians have repeatedly tried to use to tar Israel. The device is the SafeView Millimeter Wave Radar, an American-made portal system that uses millimeter a safe wave holographic technology to screen travelers from Egypt for weapons and explosives.

Unlike metal detectors, this system is capable of detecting virtually any man-made object, regardless of the type of material, by transmitting ultra-high frequency, low-powered radio frequency waves as people pass through the portal. A sensor array captures the reflected waves and uses a desktop computer to analyze the information and produce a high-resolution, 3-D image from the signals. Maher Shakirat learned that one of his sisters was thrown out of the house by her husband for an alleged affair.

Shakirat strangled his sister, who was eight months pregnant, and forced two other sisters he accused of covering up the affair to drink bleach. One of those was badly injured but escaped, but the third sister was also strangled by her brother. Palestinian women who bring dishonor to their families may be punished by male family members. The punishments may range from ostracism and abandonment to physical abuse to murder. Men who carry out these murders in the Palestinian Authority typically go unpunished or receive a maximum of six months in prison.

The border of Gaza was originally determined during the Rhodes Armistice negotiations with Egypt. A year later, Israel agreed to move the border southeast, creating a bulge in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. In exchange, Egypt redrew the border in the north, moving it more than a mile southwest. If the Palestinians continue terrorist attacks against Israel, and make claims to additional territory, rather than focusing on state-building within Gaza and meeting their road map obligations, Israel will have little interest in pursuing negotiations regarding the West Bank.

The Covenant of Hamas says nothing about democracy or elections. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has warned that Israel will not cooperate with the Palestinian Authority during elections if candidates from Hamas are allowed to participate.

Jones II said the U. Israel 's disengagement from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank was applauded by the international community as an important and painful step toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In an effort to bolster their standing with the Palestinian public, groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad claim it was their terror campaign that forced Israel to withdraw. Israel was not driven from the territories, it made a calculated decision to leave based on its own interests. The 8, civilians who lived in Gaza were viewed by the terrorists as targets, and Israel had to devote a great deal of its human and material resources to protect these innocent people.

In addition, Sharon agreed with those who concluded it would make no sense for Israel to hold on to an area with a Palestinian population exceeding one million. By withdrawing, Israel's security has been enhanced, and the Palestinians have been given the opportunity to govern themselves and demonstrate whether they are able and willing to create a democratic society that can coexist with Israel.

At the time of the disengagement, Israel had dramatically reduced the level of terror, and the security fence around Gaza had a nearly perfect record of preventing the infiltration of suicide bombers. Israeli forces had severely damaged the terrorist infrastructure and killed or jailed most of the leaders of the major terror groups. The disengagement took place after Israel won the Palestinian War the Palestinian Authority had instigated in , and the withdrawal took place from a position of strength, not weakness.

Palestinian extremists can claim whatever they want, but even they know the truth. We achieved nothing in 50 years of struggle; we've achieved only our survival. If Israel didn't want to leave Gaza, no one could have forced them out. Those who claim the rockets and attacks made them leave are kidding themselves. Israel is a democracy and believes in free elections as the best means of insuring representative government. Consequently, Israel has been supportive of the idea of democratic elections in the Palestinian Authority. In the presidential election , international observers reported that Israel made no effort to impede the vote.

To the contrary, it took a number of measures to facilitate the election. Similarly, Israel has no intention of interfering in the upcoming legislative elections in the PA. While there is some dispute about whether and how Palestinians living in Jerusalem may participate, a similar issue was resolved before the last election.

The Jerusalem issue, however, is being used as a smokescreen by the Palestinians to obscure their internal divisions. Palestinian officials have been talking for months about delaying the elections scheduled for January 25 because of chaos and disorder throughout the PA, and because of fears that they will lose power and that Hamas will take seats from the dominant Fatah party.

Many Palestinians also legitimately fear the election will not be fair. With just three weeks to go before the election, the Palestinian election commission resigned because the commissioners said Prime Minister Ahmed Korei was interfering with their work. After the last election, 46 officials from the PA Central Election Committee resigned to protest voting irregularities and fraud.

So long as the PA is unable to insure the safety of its residents, it will be unable to hold a free democratic election. Many faculty, however, do not resist temptation; rather, they embrace their position as an ideological platform. Those who abuse their rights, and insist they can say what they want, hypocritically denounce others who exercise their right to criticize them. Legality is not the issue in evaluating the anti-Israel, sometimes anti-Semitic speeches and teachings of faculty and speakers on campus.

No one questions that freedom of speech allows individuals to express their views. For the last several years, for example, an anti-Semitic forum has been held at different universities by the Palestine Solidarity Movement PSM. In , the conference was held at Duke University. It is sometimes suggested critics seek to stifle legitimate criticism of Israel. A related question is whether the presentations are in any way academic or scholarly.

Few people would claim that a conference in which anti-black, anti-gay, or anti-woman sentiments were expressed would be protected by academic freedom, and yet that is the shield used to permit attacks on the Jewish people. We cannot give up a single inch of it. Therefore, we will not recognize the Israeli enemy's [right] to a single inch.

Nevertheless, so long as the Palestinian people continue to be denied by their leaders the freedoms of speech, religion, assembly and the press, the election cannot be considered truly free and democratic. While democratic outcomes are preferable to the alternatives, the rest of the world is not obligated to have a relationship with elected leaders whose policies and views are dangerous.

Adolf Hitler was elected by the German people, but few people would suggest today that the rest of the world should have ignored his genocidal views and treated him as an equal just because he emerged from a democratic process. Similarly, the current Iranian president was elected and is still widely viewed as a pariah because of his threats to destroy Israel and to pursue nuclear weapons in defiance of the rest of the world.

The Palestinian people chose to elect members of an organization whose avowed purpose is the destruction of Israel by violent means. Hamas is recognized throughout the world as a terrorist organization. Since the election, Hamas leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to the Hamas covenant calling for the liberation of all of Palestine and they have made clear it they have no intention of disarming.

Israel now has on its borders a quasi government run by people who oppose negotiations and compromise. Hamas can now take over all of the security services and weapons that have previously been given by Israel and others to the Palestinian Authority to keep the peace. The institutions that were bound by agreements to stop the violence, confiscate illegal weapons, end smuggling and cease incitement are now controlled by the very people most responsible for terror, gun running, and the use of the media and schools to demonize Israel and Jews.

Most of the world understands that Hamas is not a partner for peace and that it is a terrorist group that threatens the stability of the region. The United States and other countries rightly have said that it must recognize Israel and renounce terror before any diplomatic or economic support can be given to the PA. Of course, we went through a similar exercise in when similar demands were made of the PLO.

Yasser Arafat made the necessary commitments in a letter to then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin , but he never matched the words with deeds. The world will be wise not to make the same mistake with Hamas. For too long, the international community has failed to extract a price for the Palestinian recourse to terror. That failure has not brought peace, but far worse it has produced the "Palestine" we have now: By refusing to render Hamas respectable, the U. The Palestinians and other Muslims routinely accuse Israel of threatening their holy places in Jerusalem and have discovered that this is a good way to provoke local violence and international condemnation.

The tactic goes back to the s when the Mufti of Jerusalem made similar charges that provoked widespread rioting. The latest example of using this method of incitement which violates the road map and Oslo agreements came when Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, the director of the al-Aqsa Foundation, accused Israel of excavating under the Temple Mount with the intention of destroying the al-Aqsa mosque.

As in the past, the charge is a total fabrication. The most recent construction involved the development of a new visitors center built around new findings excavated near the Western Wall. Discoveries at the new site include a ritual bath from the period of the second Jewish Temple , destroyed in 70 C. It is not underneath the Temple Mount and nowhere near the al-Aqsa mosque. Israel denied the accusations, but official government denials rarely satisfy those who are ready to believe any libel emanating from the Palestinian Authority. In this case, however, UPI reporter Joshua Brilliant attended the Foundation press conference during which a misleading film was shown purporting to prove the charges.

Brilliant independently investigated the tunnel and found no evidence of any excavation in the direction of the mosque. Sometimes the myths propagated by Arabs and Muslims are so outrageous and ridiculous that it would seem to be a waste of time to respond. This is one of those instances. Unfortunately, history has proven that one cannot underestimate the capacity of people to believe even the most absurd charges when they are applied to Israel. They were solicited by a Danish publication, Jyllands-Posten , and have subsequently been reprinted widely.

In fact, one blogger posted images from an Egyptian newspaper that published the cartoons. In a juvenile and bizarre effort to retaliate for what they consider an affront to Islam, Iran is now soliciting cartoons lampooning the Holocaust. This really is nothing new as Iran and other Muslim nations routinely publish vile anti-Semitic cartoons in their state-controlled media. Sensitivity and tolerance are a one-way street in those countries. The number of successful Palestinian terrorist attacks has fallen dramatically in the last several months. This is not because of any actions on the part of the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority continues to refuse to fulfill its road map obligation to stop violence, dismantle terrorist infrastructures, and confiscate illegal weapons. It has little to do with a supposed cease-fire during which there has been no lull in the effort to murder Israelis. Prior to construction of the security fence, the Palestinians carried out 73 suicide bomb attacks that killed Israelis. Even with the fence only about one-third completed, it has helped significantly reduce the carnage. Since construction began in July , 11 suicide attacks have been launched that killed 54 people.

In , only seven suicide attacks were successful, which has taken terror against Israelis off the radar of the international media and given the perception that all is quiet. The reality is far different. Each month, Israel has more than 70 terror alerts. The next day two Palestinian teenagers were captured carrying explosive belts.

That same morning, two Palestinians attempted to place a bomb near the southern Gaza security fence. The head of the Shin Bet reported that the number of rifles smuggled each month has increased from to 3, since disengagement , and that the Palestinians have also smuggled in anti-aircraft missiles and tons of explosives. Israel may have won the Palestinian War started by the Palestinian Authority in September , but that does not mean that it has ended all terror threats.

Cease-fires and truces mean little when those who declare them continue to arm themselves for the next battle, and their comrades continue to wage war. Billions of dollars of aid have flowed to the Palestinian Authority PA over the last 13 years despite the fact that most of it was siphoned off by corrupt officials and very little has actually reached the people. Now the PA is led by a party that pledged to fight corruption, but it also promises to continue to use terror as a means of achieving the objective of destroying Israel. Why does anyone believe the United States or any other country has an obligation to underwrite terrorism and programs for genocide?

Had the PA not misspent the billions it had received already from international donors, it would not be in this predicament. The Times and others are wrong in suggesting that Israel be pressured to pay tax and customs funds to the PA. These are funds that Israel agreed to pay as part of the Oslo agreements , which the PA has not fulfilled, and Hamas says it does not accept. Moreover, what government would give money to an authority that is calling for its destruction? Can you imagine the Israeli prime minister speaking to his Hamas counterpart: Even if the United States, Israel, and other Western nations were threatening to withhold all aid until Hamas either is driven from power or completely reforms and renounces its covenant , Iran and other nations will provide the minimum required to sustain the Palestinians, a group which already receives substantially more aid than far needier populations around the globe.

And the United States and others are not even talking about cutting off all aid; they all say they will continue to provide humanitarian funds. The Palestinian people will blame the world for their predicament, as they have for the last 58 years, but perhaps a cutoff of some aid will be the consequence that finally teaches them the lesson that the path to statehood requires them to make a different choice — peace over violence. After initially saying that it would do so, the government subsequently announced it would maintain its first-degree boycott of Israeli products.

The government said it agreed to lift the second and third degree boycott in accordance with an earlier Gulf Cooperation Council decision rather than the demands of the WTO. Saudi Arabia continues, however, to prohibit entry to products made in Israel or to foreign-made goods containing Israeli components and hosted a major international conference aimed at promoting the boycott in Jidda in March While the Saudis were presenting themselves in the media as peacemakers in early by resurrecting their peace plan , the government continued to bar entry to products manufactured in Israel or to foreign-made goods containing Israeli components.

The Saudi behavior is inconsistent with their rhetoric and raises questions about the sincerity of their peace proposals and whether a government that has reneged on its promise to the WTO to end the boycott can be trusted to fulfill commitments to peace with Israel. This would give them exclusive rights to any decisions regarding use of the land.

This claim is very controversial because it would in effect place a Muslim enclave in the heart of West Jersualem. Over forty years ago, an Islamic court ruled that the land was no longer sacred and could be used for construction or other purposes. Even four decades before that ruling, in , the infamous Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini , built a luxurious hotel on part of the land. The Mufti ruled that construction was possible if the tombs were removed and reburied in another place, and he made plans to build a Muslim university on the same tract of land.

The cemetery has been abandoned for well over a century and, in , an Islamic court ruled that its status was mundaras erased , meaning that its holiness had expired. The Islamic Movement, however, sees the dispute as an opportunity to claim part of Jerusalem as a Muslim enclave. The Israel Antiquities Authority has been especially careful in removing remains found at the site for reburial.

The Wiesenthal Center has also offered to re-inter all of the remains in the part of the cemetery that still exists, and plans to renovate and fence off the area. While attention is correctly focused on the threat Hamas poses to Israel because of its commitment to the destruction of the Jewish State , and its active involvement in terrorism to accomplish that goal, the radical Islamic organization also is viewed as a grave danger to the stability of Jordan. The Jordanians have no illusions about Hamas and, in late April , arrested several members of the organization it suspected of planning a terrorist attack against senior members of the government on orders from Hamas leaders in Damascus.

Tensions between Hamas and Jordan are nothing new. In , the government warned leaders of the Islamic resistance movement in Jordan to refrain from making statements inciting violence or obstructing the Palestinian-Israeli Wye River peace deal that had just been signed. The admonition came after a Hamas bomb attack on an Israeli school bus in the Gaza Strip , and a statement by the Hamas politburo chief in Amman, Khalid Mashal , condemning the Wye agreement and vowing to continue the war against Israel.

In , five commercial offices in Amman registered under the names of Hamas leaders were closed, several of its members were detained and arrest warrants were issued for several Hamas leaders. Marzook , who held a Yemeni passport, was deported. Mashal , Khater, Rasheq and Ghousheh , all Jordanian citizens, were given the choice of being tried for membership in an illegal organization or leaving Jordan. Ultimately, the four men were deported to Qatar. Anyone who violated the order was to be killed.

At least seven land dealers were killed that year. Later that month, two Arab land dealers were killed. PA officials denied any involvement in the killings. A year later, another Palestinian suspected of selling land to Jews was murdered. The PA has also arrested suspected land dealers for violating the Jordanian law in force in the West Bank , which prohibits the sale of land to foreigners. During the Palestinian War , few, if any Palestinians tried to sell land to Jews, but the prohibition remained in effect. Now that the war is over, the persecutions have begun again.

Since the Mufti forbade Muslims accused of selling land to Jews from being buried in a Muslim cemetery, al-Hawa was laid to rest in a makeshift cemetery on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho. Sheikh Tamimi reiterated that those who violated the ban, including those who rented to Jews and real estate agents and middlemen facilitating transactions, would be accused of high treason and face the death penalty.

Not only because it is contrary to the interests of the Palestinian people A racist philosophy that is based on the cruel principle of killing Jews because they are Jews. The sickening Passover attack at a Tel Aviv restaurant Monday, which killed nine Israelis and injured dozens, was carried out by Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed extremist group that refuses to observe the shaky cease-fire Hamas has followed for more than a year. Yet, though the attack violated its own policy and undermined its interests, several of Hamas's spokesmen quickly defended it.

The result was to put the Palestinian government on record as an outlaw and to raise dangerously the chances of a major new outbreak of Middle East violence. Under the Oslo interim agreement , Israel , the West Bank , and Gaza are in a customs union administered by the Israeli government. Israel collects a duty on any foreign imports destined for the West Bank and Gaza as welll as a value added tax on goods and services from Israel destined for the Palestinian territories. Israel recognized that its action was harsh, but believed it was necessary to demonstrate to the Palestinians that the inability or unwillingness to stop the violence had a cost.

Israel must use whatever leverage it can to protect its citizens and this economic sanction was a milder response than a military one. While Israel's action was blamed for the sorry state of the Palestinian economy, the truth was the Arab countries suspended the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars, collected as donations, meant for the PA. The justification for the Arab states' action was their concern that the funds would be embezzled and encourage further corruption in the PA.

In July , Israel agreed to transfer some of the tax revenues to the Palestinians as a confidence-building measure after Palestinian violence subsided, and an agreement was reached to set up a committee of U. A sign on the door was posted that said the villa had become a welfare institution for the relatives of Palestinians killed in terror attacks. Following the election of Hamas in , Israel again began to withhold tax revenue on the grounds that it had no obligation to help finance a government that was calling for its destruction.

Furthermore, Israel argued that the agreement to remit these taxes to the PA was part of the Oslo accords that Hamas explicitly said it would not honor. The United States , the European Union and other countries also froze funding because Hamas is a terrorist group that does not recognize Israel as a country. While Israel wants to deny Hamas the resources it needs to wage a terrorist war, the government does not want to harm the Palestinian people and therefore agreed in May to release tax revenues for humanitarian purposes, such as medicine and health needs.

The experience in Gaza has offered a stark case study of the disingenuousness of these slogans. When Israel announced the plan to evacuate Gaza, rather than cheer the unilateral end to the occupation, the Palestinians denounced disengagement and refused for months to cooperate or to take measures to ease the transition. Israel has withdrawn from every inch of Gaza ; not a single Israeli soldier or civilian remains. The evacuation came at great emotional and financial cost.

Has it received peace in exchange for the land? No, to the contrary, the Palestinian answer to meeting their demands has not been quiet, but a barrage of rocket fire. Since September 12, , Kassam rockets have been fired, more than since the weekend of June 10, Fortunately, these rockets are relatively inaccurate and have caused minimal death and destruction, but that is beside the point. What nation would hold its fire if its population was under daily attack from missiles? The ongoing rocket fire disrupts the lives of Israelis, traumatizes the children, and amounts to an act of war.

The Palestinian Authority has ceased to exist in Gaza; now it is simply a wild west outpost for terrorist factions to fight for power and provoke Israel. Time is running out for the Palestinian leadership to exert control or face the consequences. Slogans are good for bumper stickers and sound bites, but they are irrelevant to the future of Israel and its neighbors. Israelis have repeatedly shown a desire for peace, and a willingness to make painful sacrifices, but nothing they do will end the conflict. Peace will be possible only when the Palestinians and other Muslims and Arabs demonstrate by their deeds their willingness to live beside a Jewish state.

On behalf of the State of Israel, we are willing to negotiate with a Palestinian Authority. If you want to punish any sector, this is the last one to approach. Rather than take the withdrawal of Israel from Gaza as an opportunity to build a future for their children, they instead refused to relinquish their embrace of a culture of hate and death. Gilad Shalit was abducted by the military wing of Mr.

Haniyeh's Hamas movement last weekend, his administration faced a choice. It could behave like a civilized government — and work to free the hostage — or align itself with a terrorist operation. It chose the latter. Hamas government officials endorsed the militants' demand that Israel release Palestinian prisoners it has legally arrested in exchange for a soldier who was attacked while guarding Israeli territory.

Hamas justified this position by citing the terrorist movement Hizballah, which has extracted prisoners from Israel in exchange for hostages, as well as governments that exchange POWs in wartime. But if Hamas wants to be equated with Hizballah or define itself as at war with Israel, then Israel has every right to try to destroy the Islamic movement's military capacity, to capture its leaders Isn't that what happens in war? Israel does not target civilians.

Israel has no claim to Lebanese territory and no dispute with the people or government of Lebanon. It is one of the horrible consequences of war that civilians die. In Lebanon, Israel has gone to great lengths to avoid harming civilians. What other army drops leaflets telling civilians to leave an area, thereby giving away the element of surprise, in the interest of protecting innocents? How would they stop the rockets without hurting any noncombatants when the rockets are being fired from civilian neighborhoods rather than military bases?

Meanwhile, look carefully at the television pictures of the destruction in places such as Beirut. While the commentary by reporters often suggests Israel has bombed targets indiscriminately, what is remarkable is how precise the attacks actually have been. Frequently you see only a single building or a couple of structures damaged while the rest of the area is untouched. Israel could have easily leveled entire neighborhoods, but it did not. Listen carefully as well. When reporters go to neighborhoods in Lebanon they are being guided by men from Hizballah who show them only what they want the reporters to see and tell them what Hizballah wants them to hear.

The Hizballah terrorist says the building was a civilian residence, but the reporter has no way of knowing what was in the buildings, whether it was a rocket workshop, a hiding place for katyushas, the home of a Hizballah leader, or a command center. Does it make any sense that Israel would pick out a single residence in a Beirut neighborhood to bomb for no reason? And notice too that the only people around are from Hizballah. The civilians are gone, so when the Hizballah terrorist tells the reporter they have to keep moving because the Israelis might strike, he knows that he and his fellow terrorists are the only targets.

Tragically, many civilians have died, but history has shown that the terrorists are very good at fabricating statistics. At one point, it was reported that something like civilians had been killed and only one member of Hizballah. Is everyone a civilian that the Lebanese claim is a civilian? In war, mistakes are sometimes made. In some cases, troops kill each other in friendly fire incidents. In others, civilians die, as was the case when the United States killed 48 people at a wedding during fighting in Afghanistan.

No one seriously believed the United States bombers had targeted people celebrating a marriage and no one should believe Israel has any reason to target trucks of food and medicine as the Lebanese president has alleged, or any other purely civilian target. Besides the ethical and moral restraints, Israel has very good political reasons not to hurt noncombatants. Israeli officials know that a mistake leading to a large number of civilian casualties will hurt their image and provoke greater demands that they cease-fire before accomplishing their military objectives.

An Israeli pilot openly admitted this consideration:. The message is clear all the way from the Squadron commander to the last pilot. One mistake can jeopardize the whole war, like Kfar-Kana, in one of the last operations in Lebanon, where artillery bombarded a refugee camp, killing over people, which resulted in international pressure that halted the operation. Hitting the target is expected, no misses are acceptable. The main reasons Lebanese civilians are in danger have nothing to do with Israel.

First, the Lebanese government failed to fulfill its obligation under UN Security Council Resolution to disarm Hizballah and deploy its army in southern Lebanon. Second, Hizballah has so little regard for civilians that it purposely bases its weapons and fighters in their homes and neighborhoods where they will be put at risk. Third, the civilians themselves have allowed Hizballah to create a state within Lebanon and to carry out terrorist attacks. Finally, if Hizballah had not attacked Israel, not a single Lebanese civilian would have been hurt. If Hizballah returns the soldiers it kidnaped and disarms, not one more civilian will die.

This is not the contest between misguided equals that many in the West seem to see. The other is a terrorist organization, bent on preventing such a future. The kidnappers demanded that Israel release prisoners in exchange for the soldiers they were holding. The people in Israeli jails are there because they were involved in terrorist activities and many committed heinous crimes. In an effort to win greater sympathy for their gambit, Hamas asked for the release of women and children, giving the impression that housewives and toddlers were being unfairly imprisoned.

The women planned suicide attacks, prepared bombs and assisted suicide bombers; they also attacked Israeli soldiers and joined terrorist organizations. Ahlan Tanimi, for example, brought the bomb that murdered 16 in the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem. Hanady Jaradats killed 21 in the Maxim restaurant in Haifa. He was captured in and tried and convicted for the murder of Danny Haran and his 4-year-old daughter Einat, and for killing two Israeli policemen.

Upon taking them hostage, Kuntar shot the father dead at close range in front of his daughter. He was sentenced to multiple life terms, amounting to years in prison. It is true that Israel has exchanged prisoners for soldiers in the past, often in lopsided trades of dozens of prisoners for a handful of Israelis. Sometimes the Israelis have already been killed and the nation is just trying to retrieve the bodies of its soldiers. These cases demonstrated how much Israel values the lives of its citizens, and reflect the IDF policy of leaving no soldier — dead or alive — on the battlefield.

This sense of obligation explains the deal struck on July 16, in which Israel agreed to trade Samir Kuntar, along with five other Lebanese militants, in return for the bodies of its fallen soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, both killed after being kidnapped by Hizballah , and information regarding missing Israeli airman Ron Arad , who disappeared when his jet went down over Lebanon in The report on Arad contained no new information and said Hizballah did not know what happened to Arad, but they believe he is dead. The decision to make the trade was a painful and difficult one for Israel.

The idea of releasing prisoners like Kuntar is odious to Israelis. Moreover, prisoner exchanges are dangerous because they increase the risk that the terrorists will see kidnapping as a weapon to use repeatedly to force Israel to make concessions. The latest prisoner exchange has emboldened Hamas to increase its demands for the return of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Reporters covering the war from Lebanon have been particularly egregious in revealing their own biases based, it seems, on having been based in the country and developing sympathies for their subjects.

More serious, however, has been the way some of these correspondents have allowed themselves to be used by Hizballah. In the first Lebanon war , the PLO threatened reporters and made favorable coverage the price of access. Hizballah learned from their example and now influences much of what reporters can see and say. He repeated the allegation as fact.

He had no way of knowing what was in the buildings, whether it was a rocket workshop, a hiding place for katyushas, the home of a Hizballah leader, or a command center. Robertson later admitted that his report had been influenced by his Hizballah guide. He acknowledged that he had been told what to film and where. He also has not hesitated to point out Hizballah's mendacity. They were told to turn on their sirens and then the ambulances drove off as if they were picking up wounded civilians when, in fact, they were simply going back and forth.

Time Magazine contributor Christopher Albritton made clear that reporters understand the rules of the game. Photographs can be especially powerful, but they can also be misleading or outright fakes. In the last Lebanon war , for example, the Washington Post published a photograph August 2, of a baby that appeared to have lost both its arms. The UPI caption said that the seven-month-old had been severely burned when an Israeli jet accidentally hit a Christian residential area.

The photo and the caption, however, were inaccurate. The baby did not lose its arms, and the burns the child suffered were the result of a PLO attack on East Beirut. A similarly dramatic photo of a baby pulled from the rubble of a building in Qana that appeared on front pages around the world is now being challenged as a fake.

Reuters admitted the photos had been changed, suspended the photographer, and removed all of his photographs from its database. It is also conceivable that some of the scenes that reporters are being shown have been staged. Reporters in Lebanon also continue to exaggerate the destruction in Beirut and elsewhere by showing tight shots of buildings hit in Israeli air strikes and rebroadcasting the same images repeatedly. Most of the rest of Beirut, apart from strategic sites such as airport runways used to ferry Hizballah weapons in and out of Lebanon, has been left pretty much untouched.

Qana was also an example of how the press immediately reports whatever statistics they are fed by Lebanese officials. Again, we learned in the last war that these figures are usually inflated and the press rarely bothers to verify them. Front page stories around the world said that 57 civilians were killed when Israel bombed a building it believed to be empty.

While still tragic, the actual casualty figure was only Moreover, most accounts failed to mention the building was in an area where rocket attacks on Israel had originated. While an Israeli strike that killed UN observers drew headlines, little attention was given to reports that Hizballah was using the UN posts as shields. Later, it was learned that one person had died.

Turning momentarily away from the carnage of war, some reporters have suggested that Israeli attacks have created environmental problems in Lebanon. Meanwhile, little attention has been devoted to the ecological damage caused by fires sparked by Katyusha rockets that have destroyed 16, acres of forests and grazing fields. The press is also spending a great deal of time talking to Lebanese civilians and their relatives in the United States and highlighting the difficult conditions they are enduring.

This is no doubt the case since they are living in a war zone; however, the media has spent almost no time talking to the Israelis living under the constant threat of rocket attacks. Few reporters have gone into the bomb shelters to interview the frightened Israeli families. No one seems interested in how the relatives of Israelis in the United States feel about their loved ones living under siege. Similarly, initial reports focused on the Americans living in Lebanon while no one seems interested in the , North Americans living in Israel.

It is terrible that tourists and students had to be evacuated from Lebanon , but what about those same groups in Israel? How many reporters talked to the hundreds of students on summer tours and programs in Israel, many of whom were in the north when the violence escalated? While the complications of leaving the country may not be as severe as in Lebanon , it is still very difficult to arrange a quick exit from Israel, and many American parents are in a state of panic worrying about their family and friends in Israel.

Wars are never easy to cover, and each side of a conflict wants to make its case through the media. A responsible press, however, does not repeat whatever it hears, it first makes every effort to insure the accuracy of its reporting. That is the standard expected of journalists covering the war between Israel and Hizballah. Three weeks after the beginning of the war initiated by Hizballah on July 12, , Human Rights Watch HRW issued a report that charged Israel with indiscriminate attacks against civilians in Lebanon.

Indeed, there was no means by which it could be sure that they were not Hizballah cadres, since members of the group do not ordinarily wear uniforms or display identity badges. Unless the investigators are mind readers, they could not divine Israeli intentions. Moreover, it is easy to find a great deal of evidence to show the efforts Israel made to avoid harming noncombatants, such as the dropping of leaflets to warn civilians to evacuate locations before they were attacked, the pinpoint attacks of buildings in neighborhoods that could more easily have been carpet-bombed, and the reports of Israeli pilots and others who withheld fire because of the presence of civilians in target areas.

Anyone watching TV, however, saw the images of rockets being fired from civilian areas, and the photos of weapons and armed men in what should have been peaceful neighborhoods. Numerous witnesses also told reporters very different stories than those reported by HRW, giving examples of weapons caches in mosques and fighters using UN troops as shields.

Two days after the release of their report on Israel, and while being subjected to serious criticism for having double standards, a relatively short statement 7 pages compared to 51 on Lebanon was released by HRW. The decision by HRW to treat Israel as the main culprit in this war also entailed a studied refusal to make basic moral and legal distinctions. Most remarkably, HRW did not take note of the contrasting goals of the combatants. HRW justifies this self-imposed moral blindness on the grounds that its touchstone is law, not morality.

The spurious allegations made by HRW, as well as similar ones published by Amnesty International, were further undermined by a report issued in November by the Intelligence and Terrorism Center at the Israeli Center for Special Studies. Israel has been hoping since the death of Yasser Arafat that a Palestinian leader who would emerge with the vision and courage to pursue peace negotiations.

The hope was that Mahmoud Abbas was that leader, however, he has proven over the last two years to be unable to control the Palestinian Authority , and he is therefore incapable of negotiating any agreement that Israelis could expect to be implemented. The election of Hamas to power further undermined the position of Abbas , and worsened the overall situation of the Palestinians as the international community has withheld most of its financial and political support for the PA unless and until Hamas agrees to recognize Israel, end its campaign of terror and agree to fulfill past agreements signed with Israel.

Though Abbas has repeatedly offered to form a unity government with Hamas , and said that it was prepared to meet those conditions, Hamas has adamantly refused to do so. For now, the Palestinians cannot even make peace among themselves. None of these developments inspire confidence that an Abbas-led government, unified or not, can advance the peace process. In an effort to jumpstart the peace process, Saudi Arabia has resurrected the idea of negotiating with Israel on the basis of a formula outlined by then Crown Prince Abdullah in In response to the renewed discussion of the plan in March , Prime Minister Olmert expressed a willingness to talk about the Saudi initiative.

When the plan was brought up a few months earlier , Olmert reportedly met secretly with a member of the Saudi royal family. For the plan to have any chance of serving as a starting point for negotiations, the Saudis and other Arab League members will have to negotiate directly with Israel. In , Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he would go the Arab League summit to discuss the plan, but he was not invited. The Saudis were also been invited to Jerusalem to discuss their proposal, but they rejected this idea as well. As it is, this initiative is nothing more than a restatement of the Arab interpretation of UN Resolution The problem is that does not say what the Saudi plan demands of Israel.

Moreover, Israel is under no obligation to withdraw before the Arabs agree to live in peace. The Arab plan calls for Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights. The Israeli government has offered to withdraw from most, if not all of the Golan in exchange for a peace agreement; however, Syrian President Bashar Assad has so far been unwilling to negotiate at all with Israel. The Arab initiative calls for a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem based on the nonbinding UN General Assembly Resolution The current population of Israel is approximately 7 million, 5 million of whom are Jews.

If the Palestinians all returned, the population would exceed 10 million and the proportion of Jews and Palestinian Arabs would be roughly Given the higher Arab birth rate, Israel would soon cease to be a Jewish state and would de facto become a second Palestinian state along with the one expected to be created on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This suicidal formula has been rejected by Israel since the end of the war and is totally unacceptable to all Israelis today. Israel does, however, recognize a right for all the refugees to live in a future Palestinian state.

Israel has agreed to allow some Palestinian refugees to live in Israel on a humanitarian basis, and as part of family reunification. Thousands have returned already this way. In the past, Israel has repeatedly expressed a willingness to accept as many as , refugees as part of a resolution of the issue. In fact, one government report said that Israel accepted , refugees in the decade following the Oslo agreement of Also, it is important to note that Resolution says nothing about the Palestinians and the reference to refugees can also be applied to the Jews who fled and were driven from their homes in Arab countries.

The Arab demand that Israel accept the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital has been part of the negotiations since Oslo. It is also worth noting that most of the Arab League nations have no reason not to be at peace with Israel now. Israel holds none of their territory and is more than willing to make peace with the members of the League.

Several members of the League had already begun to normalize relations with Israel before the latest outbreak of violence, and their principal critic was Saudi Arabia. The Peace Now study stated as fact data that it admitted was leaked to the organization by a government official. When asked to produce any of the data to backup the claims, the coauthor of the study said he could not do so and that it was up to the Israeli government to release the information.

The result is that the organization has put an inflammatory allegation out before the public without presenting any documentation to back it up. If the data was made available, it is likely that arguments would be made about the ownership of the land. During the Ottoman Empire, only small areas of the West Bank were registered to specific owners, and often villagers would hold land in common to avoid taxes. The British began a more formal land registry based on land use, taxation or house ownership that continued through the Jordanian period.

Palestinians can and often do challenge Israeli land seizures in court. In fact, the Peace Now report reviews the case of Elon More in which Palestinians petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice and the justices prevented private land from being seized for the establishment of a settlement. Often, however, the Palestinians cannot prove ownership of land they claim. Moreover, while Peace Now makes a distinction, the Palestinians do not see any difference between the West Bank and Israel proper, which they also claim was stolen and belongs to them.

Several months later, the government released data that cast the entire Peace Now report in doubt. The government data, however, showed that only 0. At one level, the accuracy of the report is irrelevant. Even if data is eventually released to substantiate some or all of the claims in the Peace Now report, it will not change the dynamics of the region; Hamas , Hizballah and Iran will be no more likely to accept a Jewish state in the Middle East.

If Palestinian claims could be proven, at worst, Israel would be expected to compensate the landowners, as it has in the past, and it will deservedly receive a black eye. Most people, however, will also understand that the situation that exists in the West Bank has always been first and foremost the result of the decision of Jordan to attack Israel in and has persisted because of the refusal of any Palestinian leader to trade peace for land.

The stubborn reality is that there can be no movement toward peace until a Palestinian leadership appears that is ready to accept a two-state soluiton. Throughout the war with Hizballah , the media reported casualty totals offered by Lebanese officials as facts with no apparent effort to verify them. Simultaneously, Hizballah sought to conceal its casualties to enhance its prestige and make propagandistic claims about the damage it was inflicting on Israel while suffering few losses of its own.

The truth did dribble out, though it was largely ignored. For example, the Daily Telegraph reported: These sources are consistent with information provided by Israel. These reports suggest that at a minimum, roughly half the casualties in the war were combatants. It is more likely the figure approaches 60 percent, which would mean the majority of dead were terrorists. This reinforces the Israeli position that it did indeed inflict heavy losses on Hizballah and that the civilian casualties were not a result of deliberate or indiscriminate attacks.

Tragically, many civilians were killed, but as Israel has also shown , many of them died because they were used as human shields. Of course, there would have been zero casualties if Hizballah had not attacked Israel and kidnaped its soldiers who have still not been returned or visited by the Red Cross. Passage of a UN sanctions resolution against Iran cannot be put off any longer.

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General observations

To the south, Lower Galilee—with its highest peak, Mount Tabor 1, feet [ metres] —is a land of east-west ridges enclosing sheltered vales like that of Nazareth, with rich basaltic soils. Palestinians found opportunities in the service of the Ottoman Empire , and Palestinian deputies sat in the Ottoman parliaments of , , , and The culture introduced at this stage was essentially the same as the culture found by the Israelites who moved into Palestine in the 14th and 13th centuries bce. Yet from the ash-heap of history Jerusalem stands today as a testament to God's deliverance and sovereignty. On March 28, for example, Hamas leader Khalil al-Haya, declared: Coastal lowlands of varying widths front the Mediterranean.

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