Jerusalem is at the heart of Palestinian Arab claims to the land
Here you have a brief historical and legal overview that supports Israel’s rights
- There has been a continuous Jewish presence in Jerusalem for 3,000 years.
- The Mandate for Palestine applies to Jerusalem.
- The internationalization of Jerusalem, called for in the partition plan, is null and void.
- Israel took eastern Jerusalem from Jordan, an illegal occupier, in a defensive war.
- Israel Basic Law: Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.
● The Jewish connection to Jerusalem dates back more than 3,000 years, to the time when King David made Jerusalem his capital.
● In spite of varying circumstances, there has been a continuous Jewish presence in the City, except for a brief period immediately after the Roman destruction, and a short time during the Crusades.
● By the last years of the 19th Century, Jews were a majority in the City. In 1914, there were 45,000 Jews in Jerusalem out of a total population of 65,000 and that percentage remained stable for decades: In 1947, the Jewish population constituted two-thirds of Jerusalem’s population.
The Mandate for Palestine
The Mandate — which called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish People ” — did not deal with Jerusalem separately from the rest of Palestine.
Israel’s legal position in Jerusalem is based on this Mandate, which was binding in international law.
Internationalization of Jerusalem null and void
● On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 181, which called for the partition of Palestine; it created an internationalized corpus separatum for the Jerusalem area, which was to be administered by the UN.
● Like all General Assembly resolutions, this was only a recommendation and not binding in international law. The terms of the recommendation would have gone into effect if both parties – the Jews and the Arabs – had accepted it. But the Arabs immediately rejected it.
● Arab armies invaded Israel as Israeli Independence was declared in 1948. Ultimately, eastern Jerusalem was taken by Arab forces and the Jewish population was expelled from the Old City. Arabs laid siege to western Jerusalem, and that siege was broken only by the Israel Defense Forces.
● At no point did the UN, which claimed authority over Jerusalem, act in defense of the city.
David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, declared in the Knesset on December 5, 1949:
“We are no longer morally bound by the U.N. resolution of November 29, since the U.N. was unable to implement it. In our opinion the decision of 29 November regarding Jerusalem is null and void.”
Immediately after the War of Independence, arrangements were started for the Knesset to meet in Jerusalem. By the end of 1949, the transition was made from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
On December 13, 1949, Ben Gurion told the Knesset that:
“…for the State of Israel there has always been and always will be one capital only – Jerusalem the Eternal. Thus it was 3,000 years ago – and thus it will be, we believe, until the end of time.”
● On January 23, 1950, the Knesset passed a resolution proclaiming Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
● Western Jerusalem became Israel’s capital, as Jordan had illegally occupied eastern Jerusalem (the Old City) during the war. When Jordan applied sovereignty, only one nation – Pakistan – recognized it.
Israeli Legal Rights after the Six-Day War
●The circumstances of the Six-Day War along the Jordanian front strengthened Israel’s claims in Jerusalem. While hostilities with Egypt began early in the morning on June 5, 1967, Israel did not initially take any action against Jordan. Nonetheless, Jordan opened fire on western Jerusalem, and had given permission to Iraq to move toward Israel.
Within an hour Prime Minister Levi Eshkol sent a message to King Hussein through the commander of the UN Truce Supervision Organization, that Israel would not move against Jordan if Jordan would “not open hostilities.” Jordanian attacks only intensified. Israel only moved against Jordan at 12:45 p.m. on June 5 after Jerusalem had clearly come under attack.
● On June 27, 1967, the Eshkol government, with the backing of the Knesset, extended Israeli law, jurisdiction, and administration to the eastern part of Jerusalem. New municipal boundaries were created that included strategic points in the West Bank that had been exploited by Jordanian artillery.
● According to Israel’s Supreme Court, the eastern section of Jerusalem had become an integral part of the State of Israel.
● Jordan’s position in Jerusalem had resulted from its 1948 invasion of the city, which was defined by the UN Secretary-General at the time as an act of “aggression,” while Israel’s standing in Jerusalem resulted from a war of self-defense. Israel was able to claim that it had a superior title to unified Jerusalem. This line of argument was largely consistent with the analysis of major international legal experts such as State Department Legal Advisor Stephen Schwebel, who would later head the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
On July 30, 1980, Israel passed into Basic Law “Jerusalem: The Capital of Israel.” It reads that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.”