Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Ben Gurion Must Have Been Right

Amir Oren has an article in Haaretz today titled Olmert's sad legacy. OK, another one who doesn't like Olmert. Hardly a sign of fierce and independent thinking these days.

What I found interesting in the article was his use of a quote from Ben Gurion:
"If it were possible to make the arrangement we made with Abdullah, that he would receive something from us and we would receive the Old City of Jerusalem, its Jewish part up to the Western Wall, I would think that would be a great thing," David Ben-Gurion reported to the cabinet in January 1950 on his talks with the Jordanian king, the great-grandfather of the present king. "If we had conquered the Old City, we would not have left it, but to prevent Begin and others from blowing up the tomb of Jesus, I am not so enthusiastic about that." Ben-Gurion summed things up by saying: "Our position: U.N. supervision of the holy places; we don't have to ask for the whole matter of sovereignty and customs."
Oren sums up his thesis with a rueful wish for someone like Ben Gurion. Someone who would divide Jerusalem, I suppose.

Barak already offered to, but Oren doesn't mention him. Intriguingly, neither does he take note of BG's stipulation: "If we had conquered the Old City we would not leave it". Hardly a resounding endorsement of Oren's thesis that Israel must divide the city, it seems to me, though he's blithely unaware of what he himself has just written. He then goes on to quote BG's fear of the evil Beginites who will try to destroy the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In which context it might perhaps be legitimate to note that Israel has controlled the church for 41 years now, with nary an attack by anyone, not even the Beginites.

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