How ironic that the “City of Peace” is the center of bitter world controversy! Not only is East Jerusalem contended between Israel and the Arab world, but world political and religious leaders also join in the fray.
Let’s get some historical perspective. During the height of the Arab Empire’s rule over the land of Israel, the Arab geographer Muqaddasi wrote in 985 A.D. about Jerusalem: “Everywhere the Christians and the Jews have the upper hand, and the mosque is void of either congregation or assembly of learned men.” (KNOWLEDGE OF CLIMES, page 167) The first recorded population census of Jerusalem was made in 1845 A.D. by Dr. Schultze, the Prussian Consul. He recorded a Jewish majority of 7,120 compared to an Arab minority of 5,000. From that year onward, the Jewish majority in Jerusalem increased.
At the breaking up of the Turkish Empire by the Allies at the end of WWI, both Arabs and Jews requested independent states. The world powers were generous in the extreme to the Arabs by granting them 21 independent Arab states, covering over 5,250,000 square miles. The Jews asked for only 3 percent of this vast territory and finally received less than half of 1 percent.
In 1922 the League of Nations recognized the legal, moral and historic right of the Jewish people to a national home in Palestine, including Jerusalem. Since then, vast oil reserves were discovered in Arab lands. If the Jews had a right to Jerusalem in 1922, that right is valid today. But the nations are compromising Israel’s rights for their own oil interests. Consequently, the U.S. administration and the U.N. define East Jerusalem as “occupied territory.”
Although there was a separate Jewish quarter in Jerusalem during the 1800s and early 1900s, the Jews, Arabs and Christians lived throughout the Old City until the Arab persecutions of 1929 and 1936. Then the Jews fled to the Jewish quarter or outside the wall.
During WWII. Allied powers then knew of the holocaust but refused to bomb out the railroad tracks leading to the death camps. And boatloads of Jews, like the St. Louis, were denied entry to the U.S. and sent back to their doom in Europe.
When the Arab Legion defied the U.N. and seized East Jerusalem in 1948, Jordan desecrated Jewish holy sites and banned Jews from the city. The world powers remained silent. In 1970 Jordan massacred 20,000 refugees when it expelled the P.L.O. out of its borders. In 1982 Syria destroyed the Moslem Brotherhood stronghold in the city of Hama. Nearly 19,000 were slaughtered. There was no cry of outrage by the international community about either carnage. In 1987 Saudi Arabia slaughtered over 400 Iranian Pilgrims at the Moslem’s most holy site in Mecca. In 1985-86 the Amal Arab forces waged total war against the P.L.O. camps in Lebanon. The world viewed the limited television reports with indifference but cried with outrage at Israel’s handling of the Intifada. Every time Israel tries to survive and defend itself, the world cries in outrage as if they are the aggressors.
The new State of Israel has been a miracle of history in fulfillment of Bible prophecy (Jeremiah 30:3,9,10,18). It is the work of the Lord, but an unfortunate pattern has developed. The Arab nations, the United Nations and now the United States are all opposing Israel. Jeremiah 31:16 has a warning for all such: – “… and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey.”
The nations of the world would do well to heed the Biblical warning of Zechariah 12:3 – “In that day I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut to pieces.”