The ‘Two Jerusalems’ Myth

To return the “Arab neighborhoods” of Jerusalem to Arab/Muslim control would mark the beginning of the end of Israel and its raison d’etre for existing as a nation state. Received by email. From The ‘Two Jerusalems” Myth:

Palestinians have nurtured a myth that historically there were two Jerusalems – an Arab ‘East Jerusalem’ and a Jewish ‘West Jerusalem.’

Jerusalem was never an Arab city; Jews have held a majority in Jerusalem since 1870, and ‘east-west’ is a geographic, not political designation. It is no different than claiming Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, should be a separate political entity from the rest of that state.

In 1880, Jews constituted 52 percent of the Old City population in ‘East Jerusalem’ and were still inhabiting 42 percent of the Old City in 1914. In 1948, there were 100,000 Jews in Jerusalem, with 60,000 Arabs. A joint Jordanian-Israeli census reported that 67.7 percent of the city’s population in 1961 was Jewish. A 1967 aerial photo reveals the truth about the area called ‘East Jerusalem’: it was no more than an overcrowded walled city with a few scattered neighborhoods surrounded by villages. Prior to unification, Jordanian-controlled ‘East Jerusalem’ was a mere 6 square kilometers, compared to 38 square kilometers on the Jewish side.

Although uniting the city transformed all of Jerusalem into the largest city in Israel and a bustling metropolis, even moderate Palestinian leaders reject the idea of a united city. Their minimal demand for ‘just East Jerusalem’ really means the Jewish holy sites (including the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall), which Arabs have failed to protect, and the return of neighborhoods that house a significant percentage of Jerusalem’s present-day Jewish population. Most of that city is built on rock-strewn empty land around the city that was in the public domain for the past 40 years. With an overall population of 730,000 today, separating ‘East Jerusalem’ and ‘West Jerusalem’ is as viable and acceptable as the notion of splitting Berlin into two cities again, or separating East Harlem from the rest of Manhattan.

Click here to read the entire chapter Jerusalem

Copyright © 2007 Myths and Facts, Inc. and Eli E. Hertz