Following please find excerpts on Jerusalem from remarks (Wednesday, 29 October) by Ambassador Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN, to the Security Council during the Emergency Session on Jerusalem:
· I am here to convey one simple truth. The people of Israel are not occupiers and we are not settlers. Israel is our home and Jerusalem is the eternal capital of our sovereign state.
· There are many threats in the Middle East, but the presence of Jewish homes in the Jewish homeland has never been one of them.
· It says a great deal that the international community is outraged when Jews build homes in Jerusalem, but doesn’t say a word when Jews are murdered for living in Jerusalem. The hypocrisy is appalling.
· Throughout history, Jerusalem has been the capital for one people and only one people – the Jewish people.
· Jerusalem is central to our identity and our tradition. The holy city is named more than 900 times in the Bible. On holidays we sing לשנה הבאה בירושלים – “Next year in Jerusalem.”
For thousands of years, through persecution and massacres, expulsions and crusades, blood libels and pogroms, Jews turned their hearts in prayer towards Jerusalem. The connection between the Jewish people and our capital cannot be denied.
· The Palestinians and others have had the audacity to accuse us of trying to alter the historic Jewish character of our ancient city. Really? The truth of the matter is that Jerusalem had a Jewish character long before most cities in the world had any character. It was the capital of the Jewish people long before Homer composed the Iliad, before Romulus and Remus founded Rome, and before the armies of Alexander the Great swept across the Middle East. Jerusalem is steeped in Jewish history.
· Earlier this month, he [Palestinian President Abbas] called on Palestinians to prevent Jews from visiting the Temple Mount using (quote) “all means” necessary. Are these the words of a leader committed to making peace?
· The video of his hateful remarks was broadcast on official Palestinian Authority television 19 times in three days -19 times in three days. The results of these inflammatory remarks were almost immediate. Hundreds of Arabs rioted in Jerusalem damaging the light rail system and a Hamas terrorist deliberately drove full speed onto a Jerusalem train platform and killed two people. Did President Abbas express outrage or remorse over the senseless killings? Of course not. He couldn’t even muster the courage to denounce an attack that left a three-month-old baby dead.
Rather than trying to extinguish the flames of conflict, the Palestinian leadership is adding fuel to the fire. First they incite violence on the Temple Mount and then they run to the Security Council to complain about the consequences. If this isn’t manufacturing a crisis, I don’t know what is.
· Following Israel’s victory in 1967, Israel reunited Jerusalem. Since then, all people – and I mean all people – regardless of religion and nationality can visit the city’s holy sites.
And while we were victorious and assumed control over all of Jerusalem, Israel extended a hand in peace to the Muslim world. According to the status quo brokered between Israel and the Waqf [the Islamic religious authority], Muslims would enjoy access to pray at their holy sites, while all other religions would be allowed access to the Temple Mount.
Israel went one step further and decided that Jews would not be allowed to pray on the site. I want to make sure you understand this. The Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest place, but we were willing to restrict our own freedoms for the sake of peace. Can you think of another nation that would make this compromise? Can you think of another religion that would make this sacrifice?
Today, Jerusalem under Israeli authority is united for Muslims, united for Christians, and united for Jews. As Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated this week (and I quote), “We are maintaining the status quo and allowing everyone access to the holy places, and we will continue to do so.”
Israel is doing everything in its power to minimize tensions. Even when riots break out, Israeli security forces, acting in coordination with the Jordanian government, refrain from entering the mosque and its courtyard unless there is an imminent threat to the site and its visitors.
The Palestinians, on the other hand, are doing everything in their power to inflame tensions. The Waqf has violated the status quo agreement by restricting access to Judaism’s holiest place – the place where we believe that God began the act of creation, where Abraham brought his son Isaac, and where Jacob fell asleep and dreamed of angels.
Today a Jew who wishes to visit this sacred site is threatened with violence. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Earlier this month, Hanan Ashrawi, a prominent member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that allowing Jews to visit the Temple Mount is a (quote) “declaration of war against Islam.”
There are the irresponsible words of a person trying to ignite a religious war. You don’t have to be a Catholic to visit the Vatican. You don’t have to be a Jew to visit the Western Wall. But the Palestinians would like to see the day when the Temple Mount is only open to Muslims – and that will not take place.
· It is time for the Palestinians to realize that the children of Abraham – all the children of Abraham – Jews, Christians and Muslims alike – are not doomed to live together in war, but rather destined to live together in peace.
· And so today I issue this promise from the people of the Promised Land – under our watch, Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people, will remain a free and open city for all people and for all time.