|On Friday, some of the world’s most notorious terrorists, tyrants and radicals are organizing a mass attempt to violate Israel’s sovereignty, calling it a “Global March to Jerusalem.”|
They will march to the tune of revisionist history not seen since the pages of George Orwell’s 1984, accusing Israel of “Judaizing Jerusalem.” These accusations come about 3,000 years too late.
Ever since King David laid the cornerstone for his palace in the 10th century BCE, Jerusalem has served as the eternal capital of the Jewish people. While Jews were once forcibly removed from the city, they restored a clear cut majority in the mid- 19th century and have maintained that position ever since.
In other corners of the world, such an event would draw laughter instead of participants. Can you imagine a march on Capitol Hill to accuse Congress of Americanizing Washington? Or a campaign to stop the ‘Indianization’ of the Taj Mahal?
Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood are bankrolling the event and taking part in preparations. To bring maximum media attention, these groups will likely induce the March’s participants to instigate violence.
It is not the first dangerous publicity stunt that has been staged on Israel’s borders. In 2011, the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad paid off so-called “activists” to force their way into Israeli territory from the Golan Heights. The goal was clear: Incite violence in Israel to divert the global spotlight from massacres in Syria. It is the bread and butter of the desperate dictator’s playbook.
Friday will be just another act in a much larger drama. Last month, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made another stop on his extended vacation from peace negotiations with Israel, traveling with other Arab leaders to Doha for a conference on the so-called “Defense of Jerusalem.” The Conference was a tour de force of all the major motifs of incitement against Israel. In his keynote address, Abbas declared that the narrative of Jewish history could not be proven, especially the existence of “what [the Jewish people] call the Temple.”
Speakers lined up in Doha to accuse Israel of “ethnic cleansing” in Jerusalem, even though the percentage of Arab residents in the city has grown from 26 percent to 35% since 1967. While the world puts a magnifying glass over every “Jewish” apartment block built, 2,500 homes in Arab areas of the city have recently been approved in addition to community centers and hotels. Meanwhile, the PA continues to encourage and entice Arab residents to build illegally, in the hope of creating a media frenzy when illegal structures are removed.
The truth is that under Israeli rule, Jerusalem has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity and equal rights for all of its inhabitants. Since its unification by Israel in 1967, the city has thrived under the values of tolerance and freedom.
For the first time in centuries, holy sites that were once sealed off along religious lines are now permanently open for worship by all peoples, a principle that is cemented in Israeli law.
Friday’s march is likely to not only harm lives and property, but also the prospects for peace. By trying to erase the Jewish people’s connection to their ancient homeland, Arab leaders are undermining the foundation for future coexistence. Unfortunately, these destructive messages are a permanent fixture in their mosques, schools and media. Across the Middle East, the seeds of intolerance are being planted in the next generation.
Trying to change the history books will bring nothing but more chapters of conflict and violence. Jerusalem’s winding streets and rolling hills are the home of Judaism’s most sacred memories and the cornerstone of our thriving democracy. This holy city is, always has been and always will be the heart of the Jewish faith.
As long as much of the Arab world lingers in the Orwellian world of a distorted past, the promise of a peaceful future between Israelis and Palestinians will remain a distant dream.
The writer is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.