The return of the Thin White Duke
Throwing darts in lovers' eyes
Here are we, one magical moment, such is the stuff
From where dreams are woven
Bending sound, dredging the ocean, lost in my circle
Here am I, flashing no color
Tall in this room overlooking the ocean
Here are we, one magical moment from Kether to Malkuth
There are you, you drive like a demon from station to station…
"Station to Station," by D. Bowie, from Station to Station, RCA, 1976.
Amnesty International released a report this week on the Palestinian Authority and alleged civil rights abuse of those who publicly disagree with corruption in the fledgling government, its peace talks with Israel, and/or anything critical of PA Chairman Yasser Arafat. The PA has long pledged to declare statehood this September 13th (Wednesday), and whether it happens on schedule or is delayed for a time, I'd recommend tourists in East Jerusalem drive through with the pedal to the heavy metal. Do a cruise missile to Tel-Aviv and grab some grub with little fear of imminent terrorist attack. Just a suggestion…
The status of East Jerusalem has been suggested as the remaining issue to be decided between Israel and the Palestinians. And, of course, everyone from Pres. Clinton to the Pope has an opinion. The United Nations (who this week hosted the "Millennium Summit") has a recommendation on the books, U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, which calls for Israel to give back control of land gained in 1967's Six Day War, which would include East Jerusalem. That Israel would relinquish large tracts of land for the formation of a Palestinian state is something of a modern miracle. Give up Jerusalem or a part of it? Call it an "international city"? These are difficult times and the only thing that may be safely advanced is some will be pissed off over whatever solution takes in the Mid-East. There's no way to please everyone this time.
Arafat doesn't endorse the model of Jerusalem as an "international city," and neither does HAMAS (those morally insipid racist terrorists who demand the death of all Jews) according to a recent press release. Palestinians regard Jerusalem as Al Qods, hold it to be a "holy city," while Israel maintains Jerusalem as its capital and …many dispute the legality of the claim. Too bad… Sure, complaining about Jews, Hebrews, Israelis, Zionists, or whatever term one chooses to describe the Eastern Mediterranean Semitic people known by the previous appellations, has been a terrible vogue we still struggle to retire. But here's the bottom-line: Jerusalem belongs to the Israelis, they shouldn't and probably won't give up a single centimeter of the city, and those who dispute this should seek counseling or an arms dealer. It's that simple…
First settled in the fourth millennium BCE, Jerusalem was known as (U)Rusalimum [3w.w.S3.3.m.m] in 19th century BCE Egyptian execration texts, and in the Tell el-Amarna tablets, c. 1480 BCE, as Uru-Salim, the "city of peace." The Hebrew Bible, assembled between c.1000-500 BCE, contains numerous mentions of Jerusalem, and even the so-called "Copenhagen School" and biblical minimalists allow for some form of Jewish kingdom by c. 870 BCE. The destruction of Jerusalem's temple by the Romans in 70 CE and the ensuing Diaspora deprived the Jewish people of self-government, but at no time until the founding of the modern State of Israel in 1948, was the land not inhabited by at least some Jews. No matter what government or theocracy ruled Israel during those 1872 years, Jews around the world regarded Jerusalem as the center of their faith, culture, and history. That Christians and Muslims hold Jerusalem as a "holy city" is irrelevant to any serious discussion over a nation's right to rule itself. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and nothing short of all out war will ever change that, and even with war the historical claim of Jews to Jerusalem will never fade. It's theirs…
Perhaps reason will win out among the Palestinians and they'll accept a homeland without East Jerusalem. In Chechnya, Indonesia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere, Muslims are fighting to impose their religion on indigenous populations with extreme prejudice. The airplane hijackings, the senselessness of Sirhan Sirhan's assassination of Robert Kennedy to draw attention to the Palestinian people, the horror of the Munich Olympic massacre in 1972, all seem like ancient history today, but with HAMAS having no shortage of funding and weapons, the killing could start again at any time.
Despite claims that Islamic fundamentalism should not be feared, it would be a great tragedy to the Palestinian people if stubborn hard-liners blocked the peace process and resumed the war of Arab against Jew. Memories of Vanessa Redgrave and her interest in the Palestinians linger in much the same way as Jane Fonda and her trip to Hanoi; it still makes many uncomfortable and that's unfortunate. Past divisions should be set aside and the Palestinian people should be allowed a chance for self-government, freedom, and all the goals they can achieve. It's up to them now and I hope they make the right choices.
De la couronne au royaume,