icy mostly unplowed roads. with all the salt in the dead sea?

December 15, 2013

Jerusalem Municipality announced Sunday evening that all schools and kindergartens will remain closed through Monday as thawing snow from a weekend storm provoked fears of dangerous icy conditions on roads.
Schools were closed in the city on Sunday as well, as a result of storm Alexa which ravaged the country over the weekend.
While tens of thousand of household were cut off from electricity over the weekend, 14,000 homes remained without power on Sunday, Channel 2 reported Sunday evening.
Egged bus company halted bus services traveling to Jerusalem on Sunday. Officials were due to update the situation at 7 a.m. Monday.
A municipality spokesperson said Sunday that the city is working around the clock with the IDF, police and community leaders to ensure Jerusalemites remain safe and return to normal life within the next 24-48 hours.

some 14,000 homes remain without power.

Report: Leaked Peace Talks Guidelines Call for International Status for Jerusalem

August 14, 2013
Ted Koppel says Terrorism is the weapon of the weak. If terrorism is the weapon of the weak, why are society’s weakest its most common victims? (TLV)A Palestinian newspaper published a document Tuesday it claimed to be Palestinian Authority guidelines for the upcoming peace talks with Israel. Published by Palestine Today, an organ of the Islamic Jihad terror group, the list was flagged by anonymous blogger Elder of Ziyon who translated the 10 touchstone points of the talks. The list includes the following key items: Land swaps of roughly 8-10% of the territory of the West Bank; residents in “frozen” settlements will be given the choice of citizenship at the conclusion of the process; Jerusalem will be placed under joint international, Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian rule for ten years with Israelis being given the choice as to their nationality. While it is unclear how the document was leaked, Elder of Ziyon claimed that it could have possibly been from Russian sources. The Palestine Today report also points to Hamas, which is not party to Wednesday’s talks, as being the source of the information.  (EOZ) Were the guidelines for the “peace” talks leaked? (update) Palestine Today, an organ of Islamic Jihad, has been a surprisingly good source for accurate news (that doesn’t involve Islamic Jihad.) They published a set of supposed guidelines for the “peace” talks starting this week, and they don’t sound like someone’s idea of misinformation.  It is expected that negotiations will take 6-9 months and will be based on the following guidelines:

1) Bilateral talks without any preconditions but following the guidelines listed here.
2) Jordan will participate in meetings relating to refugees, Jerusalem and borders where necessary.
3) “The security barrier will establish a security border for the Jewish state and a permanent border for the Palestinian state, subject to change by mutual agreement” (h/t Ali) Not sure what this means unless they are saying that Israel’s borders will not go beyond the Green Line, which is strange if there is a land swap.
4) Land swaps of roughly 8-10% of the territory of the West Bank
5) Israel freezes construction on some outposts, but not on existing settlement blocs including Maaleh Adumim, Har Homa, Gilo, Neve Yaakov, Ramat Shlomo, Kiryat Arba, and some others with large populations
6) Residents in the “frozen” settlements will be given the choice of citizenship at the conclusion of the process
7) At the end of the negotiations it will be announced that the conflict is over and there will be full normalization of relations between Israel and all Arab countries announced at an Arab League meeting; Israel recognizing Palestine within the borders mentioned above and Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people
8) At the end of negotiations some Palestinian families will be allowed to re-unite in the WB and Gaza; others will get he right of compensation or immigration to Arab countries, especially Gulf countries, with them being naturalized in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar; not sure about the source of the compensation
9) Jerusalem will be placed under joint international/Palestinian/Israel/Jordanian rule for ten years with Israelis having the choice as to their nationality
10) I think that outstanding issues on specific land issues as well as citizenship issues both within the area and in Gulf countries will be pushed off to committees to speak about in coming years.

Also some details on prisoner releases, Palestinian elections, when the details of the agreement would be made public. It sounds like this document might have been sent to Moscow by Abbas for consultations, and it might have been leaked that way.

Meanwhile…. Hate gives Arabs a collective identity that is far more important than peace is. This story illustrates it in this question posed to an Arab before 1967 by Martha Gellhorn.
“If the position were reversed, if the Jews had started the war and lost it, if you had won the war, would you now accept Partition? Would you give up part of the country and allow the 650,000 Jewish residents of Palestine -who had fled from the war–to come back?” “Certainly not,” he said, without an instant’s hesitation. “But there would have been no Jewish refugees. They had no place to go. They would all be dead or in the sea.”

…as illustrated

Some went out to kill any Jew that would pass by; others targeted specific civilians. One killed a Holocaust survivor. Another killed an 84 year old man with an axe. Yet another targeted a 51 year old woman in the car where she would give rides to Arab workers. To Israel’s “peace partner” Mahmoud Abbas, and to his people, they are heroes.


July 28, 2013

(Astute) The court that was overseeing the case of the Zivotofsky family’s lawsuit to get Israel listed as their son’s birthplace on his passport has invalidated the law from 2002 that was never enforced:

A federal appeals court on Tuesday invalidated a U.S. law that was designed to allow American citizens born in Jerusalem to choose to have Israel listed as their birthplace on passports contrary to long-standing U.S. foreign policy.

Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky, whose son Menachem was born in Jerusalem and is a U.S. citizen, filed a lawsuit in 2003 demanding that the government enforce the law.

A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the president – and not lawmakers – had sole authority to say who controls the historic holy city claimed by Israelis and Palestinians.

In the U.S. government, the president “exclusively holds the power to determine whether to recognize a foreign sovereign,” wrote Judge Karen Henderson for the panel. […]

Lawyers for Zivotofsky said they would appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, as they did following the 2009 ruling.

“We hope that before Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky’s bar mitzvah, he will be able to bear a passport that recognizes his birthplace as ‘Israel,’ ”attorneys Nathan and Alyza Lewin said in a statement.

This is nothing more than a pathetic ruling in Obama’s favor, not to mention many anti-Israelists who try to delegitimize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It makes no sense and is offensive, because the judge was basically delegitimizing both Congress and Israel’s own sovereignty. I’m glad the family will be appealing this latest ruling, and Congress should too

Agreement Between Jordan, Palestinian Authority Officially Recognizes Jordan’s Custodianship Over Jerusalem’s Holy Places

June 25, 2013

(HT: Memri / Other)

Introduction: On March 31, 2013, an agreement that came as a surprise was signed between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Jordan, which solidified Jordan’s custodianship of the Islamic holy places in Jerusalem. The daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported that the agreement had been signed in total secrecy in the presence of Jordan’s King ‘Abdallah II, PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and the PA and Jordanian ministers of religious endowments.

The agreement states that “His Majesty King ‘Abdallah II, as the custodian of the Jerusalem holy sites, will exert all possible efforts to preserve [these] sites, especially Al-Haram Al-Sharif [The Al-Aqsa Mosque]… and to represent their interests.” The agreement states further that King ‘Abdallah is responsible for ensuring respect for the holy places, guaranteeing the Muslims’ freedom of movement to and from the sites, ensuring their maintenance and representing their interests in the international arena.

In practice, the Hashemite dynasty in Jordan has had stewardship over the holy places in Jerusalem since 1924. Even after the Six-Day War and Israel’s conquest of East Jerusalem, Jordan continued to play a religious role in Jerusalem’s holy places via the East Jerusalem Waqf, which it manages.

In 1988 Jordan did disengage itself from the West Bank by “severing its legal and administrative ties” with it, but this disengagement never applied to the holy places in Jerusalem. In 1994 this custodianship was reinforced via a Jordanian declaration that emphasized the kingdom’s historic role in Jerusalem’s holy places, as well as by the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan where Israel recognizes Jordan’s special status in Jerusalem.

In June 2013, Hamas Prime Minister Isma’il Haniya disclosed that Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi plans to hold an international conference in Cairo on the issue of Jerusalem. He added that the issue of Jerusalem was prominent in talks that took place this month in Cairo between Mursi and Hamas representatives, and also in talks between the heads of Hamas and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan.

The liberal website elaph.com assessed that Mursi has decided to convene the conference in response to the PA-Jordan agreement and with the aim of circumventing it, and that this move could negatively affect Egypt-Jordan relations.

The agreement, then, does not alter the decades-long status quo, under which the Jordanian Waqf manages the affairs of Jerusalem’s Islamic holy places in coordination with Israel. Nevertheless, the agreement reinforces Jordan’s status in the holy places in a manner that may restrict Israel’s freedom of action in Jerusalem.

As the agreement does not constitute a tangible change to the status quo, what then were the motivations for its signing? This report will review these motivations as presented by Palestinian and Jordanian senior officials, commentators and journalists, and they include the desire to step up Jordanian-Palestinian coordination in order to “save” Jerusalem from “The city’s Judaization and settlement construction within it”; bypass various parties such as Qatar, Hamas and the Islamic Movement in Israel, who are attempting to usurp Jordan and the PA’s role vis-à-vis the holy sites; prepare the ground for a PA-Jordan confederation, and the US intention to reinforce Jordan’s role in future negotiations between Israel and the PA.Read the full report here.

Did Jews rule #Jerusalem in 614 CE?

April 28, 2013

One of the reasons given for today’s Lag B’Omer celebrations is to commemorate the Bar Kochba revolt of 132-136 CE. Most Jews believe that this was the last time of Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel before the 1948 War of Independence.
However, there may have been another brief period of Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem, many centuries later.
In “A History of the Jewish People” by Haim Hillel be-Sasson, we learn:

In the last days of Byzantine rule over the Land of Israel the Jews made an attempt to exploit the rivalry between the powers ruling the orient – Persia, Byzantium and Rome – in order to regain their political independence. For hundreds of years they had repeatedly hoped that the redemption of the Jewish people would come with the conquest of Palestine by Persia; and now the time seemed to have arrived. At the beginning of the seventh century, the Persians set out on their conquests in the East, and in the year 614 they reached the borders of Palestine. Their approach set off a powerful messianic fermentation, which is reflected in several works written at the time whose theme is the Redemption. The Armenian historian Sebeos reported (Chapter XXIV): ‘As the Persians approached Palestine, the remnants of the Jewish nation rose against the Christians, joined the Persians and made common cause with them.’ The Jews assisted the invaders materially in their conquest of Galilee. From there the invading army turned to Caesarea and continued its conquests down to Apollonia, then eastwards to Lydda and from there to Jerusalem, which was captured in May 614. Jewish forces also took part in the conquest of Jerusalem. Sophronius, a contemporary monk who lived near Bethlehem, wrote in a poem: ‘God-seeking strangers and citizens of the city [Jerusalem]; . When they faced the Persians and their Hebrew friends/Hastened to close the city gates.’
The Persians handed Jerusalem over to Jewish settlers, who proceeded with the expulsion of the Christians and the removal of their churches. At the head of Jerusalem stood a leader whom we know only by his messianic name: Nehemiah ben Hushiel ben Ephraim ben Joseph. The sacrificial cult may even have been resumed. Jewish rule in Jerusalem lasted three years. In 617 there was a reversal of Persian policy. For reasons that are not sufficiently clear, the Persians made peace with the Christians. The Jews, on the other hand, did not, and the Persian authorities were forced to fight them: ‘And they waged war against the saints and brought down many of them. and Shiroi [the king of Persia] stabbed Nehemiah ben Hushiel. and sixteen of the just were killed together with him (Book of Zerubabel, page 101).

There are other accounts of this episode as well.

The Jews saw another opportunity to take back Jerusalem in the early seventh century, just before the rise of Islam. The Persians conquered what had been Judea from the Byzantine Empire, capturing Jerusalem in 614 CE. The Armenian historian Sebeos described the Jews’ reaction to the Persian campaign: “As the Persians approached Palestine, the remnants of the Jewish nation rose against the Christians, joined the Persians and made common cause with them.” The Persians even installed a Jew, Nehemiah ben Hushiel ben Ephraim ben Joseph, to rule the city.
But this regime was short-lived. Hoping to accommodate their Roman Christian subjects, the Persians apparently withdrew their support for any Jewish self-government. Moreover, in 629 CE the Byzantine emperor Heraclius reconquered Jerusalem, where the former anti-Jewish edicts were again renewed. The city’s new rulers banned public recital of Judaism’s core prayer, the Shema, and executed many Jews or evicted them to neighboring countries. Five years later, the Byzantines required all the empire’s Jews to become baptized. This harsh regime did not last long, however, for in 638 CE Muslim armies from Arabia conquered Jerusalem, thus opening a whole new chapter in the Holy City’s history.
Thirteen hundred years would pass between the last Jewish self-government in Jerusalem in 614 and the establishment of a Jewish national home under the British that would later become the State of Israel. During that time, Jerusalem would remain the center of Jewish national aspirations as well as religious ritual. But the quest to return to Jerusalem was not left as an eschatological task for the distant future. Jews returned to Jerusalem whenever the bans on Jewish settlement were lifted; thus many Jews came back to the Holy City after the second caliph of Islam defeated the Byzantines, establishing a new Jewish Quarter that was populated until the First Crusade. Jerusalem’s main Jewish synagogue in the first decades of Islamic rule, known as “the Cave,” was located under the Temple Mount, at the point along the Western MA closest to the Holy of Holies.

The Jewish Encyclopedia does not mention this, however.

‘Moderate’ Abu Mazen accuses Israel of ‘judaizing’ Jerusalem

March 26, 2013
(Carl)In a speech to an Arab League meeting in Qatar on Tuesday, ‘moderate‘ ‘Palestinian‘ President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen accused Israel of ‘Judaizing‘ Jerusalem.

“The Israeli occupation is systematically and continuously working toward Judaizing east Jerusalem,” Abbas told the Arab heads of state.

He said that Israel was also seeking to change the character of the city and expel it Palestinian residents and assault Islamic and Christian holy sites.

Abbas urged the Arabs and Muslims to go to the United Nations and other international organizations to stop Israel from pursuing its “destructive scheme.”

Abbas also sought the help of the Arab and Islamic countries in putting pressure on Israel to release Palestinian prisoners, whom he described as “brave.”

He claimed that the prisoners were being subjected to “grave violations.”

Abbas hailed Qatar’s announcement that it would establish a special fund for Jerusalem with a $1 billion budget to support the Arab residents of the city and foil Israel’s attempts to “Judaize” east Jerusalem.


Obama’s activities in Israel’s capital city are identified as taking place only in “Jerusalem” — with no country name attached

March 19, 2013