Jerusalem asunder?

Jerusalem asunder?

May 23rd, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

There is something well-nigh obscene in the perpetual demands that Israel make concessions to its sworn enemies that virtually no other country conceivably would be asked to make.

In any given situation in the Middle East, the solution -- we are assured over and over -- is for Israel to surrender part of its territory to people who commit or harbor those who commit depraved acts of terrorist violence against Israeli civilians.

It's the moral equivalent of asking the United States to cede a portion of its land to al-Qaida following the 9/11 attacks. And it recently got a renewed boost from the bizarrely misguided former prime minister of Israel itself, Ehud Olmert.

Olmert is scarcely new to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He previously urged partitioning Jerusalem, which would let the Palestinians make it the capital of an independent state. The ceding of other Israeli territories also was part of his earlier proposal, made while he was prime minister.

It didn't work. As with previous offers, the Palestinians said it wasn't enough.

Meanwhile, attacks on Israeli civilian targets have continued. In 2012 alone, literally hundreds of rockets and mortar shells have been fired into Israel from Palestinian-controlled land. Not that international busybodies such as the U.N. -- always eager to condemn Israel for defending itself -- seem to take notice of the attacks that prompt those defensive measures. Appalled by a spate of attacks in February, Israel fired off a brief note to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

"Ten days, ten rockets and not one condemnation," the letter read.

Despite the violence to which Israel is subjected by Palestinian terrorists, however, Olmert has revived his call for Israel to try to trade land for peace. He said Jerusalem is not unified, for all practical purposes, and "that is going to lead us, for want of another choice, to making inevitable political concessions."

But to the extent that those "concessions" mean handing over more territory, they will yield inevitable consequences: more attacks from even more strategic locations.

It does not seem particularly likely, fortunately, that Israel will take Olmert's advice. If anything, there are reasons to believe Israel may launch an attack on nearby Iran to halt its quest to build nuclear weapons. If that happens, it may send a necessary message to Palestinian terrorists, too, that there are limits to Israel's patience.

Current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed talk of sundering Jerusalem and criticized those who "believe that if we only divide Jerusalem, ... we will have peace."

Such a concession would, in fact, encourage radicals and terrorists to make more demands for land, until Israel is strategically unable to defend itself.

That is too great a risk for a nation surrounded by enemies who seek its destruction.

"Israel without Jerusalem is like a body without a heart," Netanyahu said. "And our heart will never be divided again."