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Insight #57 — Jerusalem Still Trodden Down

Jerusalem is one of the major roadblocks in the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” Desperate to find a solution before leaving office, then-President Clinton proposed splitting up Jerusalem between the two peoples. What is far more amazing than Clinton’s proposal is the desperate willingness of Israel’s Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, to go along with Clinton!

The Israeli populace strongly disagrees with Barak. January 8 saw possibly the largest gathering in Jerusalem since the days of the Crusades. An estimated 400,000 people rallied in support of an undivided Jerusalem. Ever since Israel united the city in 1967, Jerusalem has been “one”; and the Jews will have it no other way.

Yet, Jerusalem is not really “one” even now. The rally organizers wanted to form a human chain around the Old City (the Jerusalem of Bible times). The police said, “No,” for fear of Palestinian attacks. Not only that, inside the Old City, the rally was permitted solely in the Jewish Quarter. The Christian Quarter, Armenian Quarter and Moslem Quarter were barricaded shut for security reasons.

In theory, the Jews have “sovereignty” over the total city; but the on-site reality described above, tells a different story. So does the recent-months’ violence in Israel. Remember how it started? Ariel Sharon “provoked” the Palestinians by setting foot on the Temple Mount. What kind of sovereignty does that describe?

These are just samplings of the most recent realities. Although the Jews today certainly have more control over Jerusalem than they have had since Rome destroyed it in 70 A.D., the “Old City” is far from being a city “of and for” the Jews. Such realities would suggest that Jesus’ words continue to be fulfilled in the year 2001: “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24).