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March 26, 2012 3:38 pm

The Jewish Right To All Of Jerusalem

avatar by Ronn Torossian

East Jerusalem. Photo: Trip Advisor.

Last I checked, the western world doesn’t permit segregation based on one’s religion. Jews can buy homes and live wherever they choose – from Harlem to Toulouse, Tokyo to Moscow, so what is the uproar if they want to live in all areas of Jerusalem? A Jewish family seeks to live in Eastern Jerusalem in a legally purchased home, and isn’t being permitted to move in nor remove illegal squatters from the home. Without discussing the many Arab countries Jews aren’t permitted to own real estate in (or that Arabs can and do buy all over the Jewish state), how is it that Jews who won in court, followed all laws and legally own property are being condemned?

Aryeh King is attracting controversy – amazingly for asking to clean out property he legally owns in Eastern Jerusalem from Palestinian Arab squatters. Under headlines which speak of “evacuating Palestinian homes”, and “confiscating Palestinian land,” King’s organization, The Israel Land Fund is one of a number of organizations committed to buying properties in all areas of Jerusalem – and moving Jews to live in all areas of Jerusalem, and for this he is being condemned.

Fed up with the refusal of Israeli police to enforce the law of the sole democracy in the Middle East, King placed an ad in Israeli media stating: “Strong men are wanted to legally evacuate Arab squatters…the Jews will do it without the police’s aid.” Clearly a public relations gimmick, one wonders if international human rights organizations will support King as they should?  The most discriminated against people on Earth – the Jews – who have been subject to the Holocaust, pogroms and crusades, seeking to return to the Land of their forefathers and remove squatters.

Will law organizations worldwide stand up, and lovers of justice? Naturally, they won’t but King’s ads attract attention to help pressure the Israeli government and police to simply enforce the law. The Palestinian Arab family living there has no documents to support claims they own the lands – and went to court and lost. A sore loser, no? Like starting a war, losing, and then saying I want the land back? (Which is where we stand with the settlements since 1967)… Could one imagine a Jew in East Jerusalem pulling such a thing and the outrage of the world?

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King follows the law – and a Jerusalem magistrate’s court ordered the house in question be evacuated by March 1, and fined the Palestinian family 125,000 shekels in damages. Yet, the police’s legal advisor has political concerns and won’t agree to evacuate – despite the fact that the compound has been illegally occupied by Palestinians since 2002. One wonders what King can do – and what any Jew worldwide would do if their home was occupied by a squatter who wouldn’t leave? The family doesn’t own the property and it’s not their land.

I wonder how Americans would feel if American Indians showed up to their homes and their local police departments wouldn’t evacuate squatters, even after court appearances ?

About 15 years ago, the world was in an uproar over construction in Har Homa, another Jerusalem neighborhood, and today more than 30,000 Jews live there. With all of the Arab uprisings, and chaos in Syria, Egypt and elsewhere, let’s hope people remember the Israeli talk of returning the Golan Heights and the campaign of a million stickers proclaiming “HaAm Im HaGolan” (The Nation is With the Golan). These things come and go – and the Jewish people, and people like King need to keep moving forward and continuing to do the right thing.

While many slogans talk of one Jerusalem, and Jerusalem never being divided again, organizations like Ateret Cohanim, Keep Jerusalem, and The Israel Land Fund do the vital job of protecting Jerusalem and ensuring the Jewish roots of the city remain in all aspects of the city. If Jews can live in Harlem or Toulouse, Tokyo or Moscow, why cant they live in all areas of East Jerusalem?

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading Public Relations firm, and author of PR book “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations.”

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