20 July 2009

Jerusalem and the Muslim Brotherhood: Who will Claim the Future of the City?

According the Jerusalem Post reporter Herb Keinon on Jul 19, 2009 in an article entiled "Limits on Settlement Freeze Being Set" Avi Diskin, head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), told the Israeli cabinet that "Israel had identified widespread activity by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to block land purchases in east Jerusalem by Jews." Furthermore, he reported that Egyptian cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi of the Muslim Brotherhood "had allocated some $25 million for the purchase of property and to build Hamas charitable institutions that would expand the group's reach in Jerusalem." Adding to concerns, Keinon reported that although "there has been a drop in terrorist activity both in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank," foreigners affiliated with the global Islamic jihad movement were trickling into Gaza, and that
"Hamas continued to develop its armament capabilities inside Gaza, even though the organization was not currently carrying out attacks."

Fear mongering and terrorism have both succeeded in perpetuating the state of war between Palestinians and Israelis. The condition of the Muslim monuments in Jerusalem is undeniably deplorable. The Palestinians have chosen to neglect their patrimony to prove that Israel is effacing the legacy of Islam in the city. Before Hamas and Islamic Jihad can cash in on this neglect by taking over these institutions, Israel and her international allies ought to urge UNESCO to move on Jordan's nomination on the Old City of Jerusalem as a World Heritage site. This year, Arabs are celebrating Jerusalem, but they have been either unwilling or unable to clean up the architectural treasures that are sprinkled throughout the city and concentrated in the Muslim Quarter. The municipality should work with organizations seeking to preserve these monuments as a show of good faith before the radicals turn the city into a battleground.