The Corona Chronicles – Business As Usual

Yesterday was Jerusalem Day, the 54th anniversary of the liberation of the eternal Jewish capital from the illegal Jordanian occupation, and of the city’s return to Jewish sovereignty for the first time in two thousand years.

It should have been a day of rejoicing. Instead, it was marred, not only by riots on the Temple Mount and in other places in Israel, stirred up by false rumours that “the Zionists are storming El Aqsa”, but also by attacks and near lynches on Jews throughout the country, especially in places where there are large concentrations of Arab “Palestinian” residents, and over 250 rocket attacks on Israeli communities, originating in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

If you get your news from the likes of CNN, or the virulently anti-Zionist Ha’aretz (the extreme left-wing Israeli newspaper which functions, these days, as a mouthpiece for every closet antisemite, who, when challenged for their lies, like to come back with “But I read it in an ISRAELI media source”), you will probably not even have heard the Israeli side of the story and even if you have, it will have been couched in terms which distort the truth in such a way as to make it clear that, for the media, Israel is always to blame.

Yesterday afternoon, around 5 pm, I lay down for a nap. I awoke round about 8.30 pm, to find my WhatsApp feed full of anxious messages from family members;

“They’re bombing Jerusalem!”

“Are you okay?”

“Where are you?”

“Why don’t you answer, what’s happening?”

“Has anyone heard from Shimmy?”

It turned out that Hamas had been firing scores of rockets at Israeli civilian targets – some of them in Jerusalem, where I live. And I had slept right through it. Not even the air raid sirens had awakened me.

Nor was that the end. Since yesterday afternoon, Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets at Israel, most of which, fortunately, were intercepted by our Iron Dome defence system. About a third of the rockets fell short and landed in the Gaza Strip and were very likely responsible for at least some of the “Palestinian” deaths attributed to Israel. A few did manage to evade Israel’s aerial defences and even score a few direct hits on Israeli homes and, within the past few minutes, it has been reported that in the merciless, unceasing barrage of rockets on the coastal town of Ashkelon, scores of Israelis have been injured and two women have been killed.

Naturally, what interests the world press is Israel’s reaction and the number of “Palestinian” casualties. Israeli casualties are mentioned only in passing. It’s never: Hamas rains rocket fire on Israel: Israel retaliates. No, that would impress on the reader the fact that HAMAS started the “spiral of violence”. Instead, the reader’s attention must be drawn first of all to the Israeli response, which is usually portrayed as being disproportionate, and only then, in passing, in such a way as to convey to the reader that it is a mere coincidence, are we told WHY Israel took the action she did:

Israel airstrikes kill 20 in Gaza, Palestinians say, after militants fire rockets at Jerusalem

So let me explain a few salient facts. The ostensible cause for the escalation is the Israeli “aggression” on the Temple Mount. It has always been easy for “Palestinian” leaders to rally the support of the masses by claiming that “the Zionists” or even simply “the Jews” are threatening El Aqsa (the Temple Mount) – just as, in days gone by, before Israel existed, they would stir up pogroms by false claims that “the Jews” had desecrated a mosque. In the past, Christian leaders often stirred up pogroms by similar claims that “the Jews have desecrated the Host” etc. And, indeed, in this digital age, it can often be made to seem as if this is true, when social media are awash with pictures of armed Israeli police racing across the Temple Mount. What they fail to show, however, is that the Israeli police actions were in response to rocks and Molotov cocktails being hurled at the police and even (from the vantage point of the Mount), on Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall down below. Indeed, this is a point to be noted by all those who say – “Let the Muslims have the Temple Mount. The Jewish holy place is the Western Wall.” I am not going to go into the question now, of the relative holiness of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount for Jews. I will just say this. Every time Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall are bombarded with blocks and bricks from above, it becomes obvious that he who controls the Temple Mount controls the Western Wall.

You may have heard that over the past few weeks, extreme right-wing Jewish groups have been marching through Jerusalem harassing and attacking Arabs. This is true, as far as it goes – and I am ashamed of that – but what you don’t hear is that this came about as a response to Arab attacks on Jews, particularly Jews who were easily identifiable as religious, which the perpetrators then gleefully posted on social media such as Tik Tok.

The other alleged cause of the escalating tensions in Jerusalem is the projected eviction of a number of Arab “Palestinian” families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in Jerusalem, in order to replace them with “Jewish settlers”. Again, I am ready to bet most of you aren’t getting to hear the whole story. At best, you may be told that the “settlers” claim the buildings were Jewish-owned before 1948.

So, here is the history of the “Sheikh Jarrah” evictions. I put the name of the neighbourhood in quotation marks because what the “Palestinians” call “Sheikh Jarrah” actually comprises the original “Sheikh Jarrah” neighbourhood, an affluent Arab neighbourhood built in the 1860s, and the two adjacent Jewish neighbourhoods, Shimon Hatzaddik (built in 1890 on land purchased fifteen years earlier) and Nachlat Shimon (dating from the early 20th century). During Israel’s War of Independence, the Jewish residents were forced to leave and the Jewish neighbourhood was occupied by the Arab Legion. It remained under illegal Jordanian occupation from 1948 until the Six Day War in 1967.

In 1956, the Jordanian government and UNRWA settled a number of “Palestinian” refugee families in the former Jewish neighbourhood, under a 33 year lease. Ownership (under Jordanian law) remained in the hands of the Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property.
After the Six Day War, Israel was once again in control of the Shimon Hatzaddik and Nachlat Shimon neighbourhoods and property that had been held by the Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property passed to the hands of his Israeli counterpart. In 1972, the latter transferred ownership to two Jewish organisations, who had documented proof that they had owned the land until the 1948 War of Independence. However, the Arab residents were allowed to continue living there until 1982, when the legal Jewish owners attempted to assert their ownership “on the ground” as it were. In the ensuing court case, the parties reached an agreement under which the Arab residents recognised the ownership rights of the two Jewish organisations and in return, they would continue to live in the disputed houses, as protected tenants under Israeli law, a status which would enable them to live there indefinitely, as long as they continued to pay their rent and see to the reasonable uptake of the houses. The court set its seal of approval on the agreement, giving it the validity of a court verdict.

In the years following, the Arab residents reneged on the agreement, claiming their lawyer had signed it without their consent, and refused to pay rent. This, of course, led to a series of court cases, which has continued to this day, although one of the two Jewish organisations involved has since sold its rights to an American Jewish organisation which does, indeed, have, as one of its aims, the settling of many more Jews in what was, already, Jewish-owned property. (And why not, I might add?)

It is very likely that if the “Palestinian” residents had not reneged on their agreement and continued to pay their rent (as, in any case, they were doing before the Six Day War), the new owners would not even have considered it worth their while to purchase the property, as “protected tenants” are notoriously difficult to dislodge under Israeli law. However, by refusing to fulfil their obligations, the “Palestinian” families lost their protected tenant status. In any normal country, if you don’t pay your rent, you get evicted, and nobody will lift an eyebrow. Except, of course, in Israel, if you happen to be “Palestinian” and therefore, by definition, a victim – and the property owner to whom you are refusing to pay the rent which you are legally obliged to pay happens to be Jewish and therefore, by definition, a land-grabbing villain. Such is the hypocrisy of the world in which we live.

Finally, in honour of Jerusalem Day, here is my prayer for my city – a prayer which seems unlikely to be answered in the near future – originally composed by King David, set in English by the Elizabethan composer Richard Nicholson and performed here by my own choir, the Jerusalem Oratorio Chamber Choir:

About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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7 Responses to The Corona Chronicles – Business As Usual

  1. This morning The Times reported that an Israeli driver was attacked after he drove into a group of Palestinian “protestors”. In fact he drove at rioters who were throwing stones at the windows of his car while he was in it.

    • He didn’t even drive “at them”. He lost control of the car after rocks (and we aren’t talking about the kind of pebbles you find on the beach at Brighton) were thrown at his car and smashed the windshield. Then they tried to pull him from the car and lynch him. I shall write about that later in the week – and about the “gun-toting” Israeli policeman who saved his life.

  2. CATachresis says:

    I am becoming increasingly incensed (I didn’t think it was possible!) at the biased MSM particularly here in the UK, the BBC. I read the English journalist Melanie Phillips who has been in Jerusalem throughout the pandemic and like yourself writes the truth I.e. the whole objective truth about what is happening. So thank you for that Shimona.

    • I do try to tell the objective truth – even though I am seething with anger. I just heard another woman was killed in the continuing rocket attacks on the centre of the country, this time in Rishon-le-Zion.

      • CATachresis says:

        It seems to me that people who actually will tell the objective truth are now vilified in this sickening ‘woke’ society!

  3. Thank you, Shimona, for the article and the musical setting of the prayer. I have been wondering how to pray for Israel in a public service where many will have been misled by MSM and Arab lies. As I prayed I remembered the injunction to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem. How could anyone object? Unless they realise that ultimately the Peace of Jerusalem is the rule of the King Messiah.
    Can I share your article on my FB page and my blog? My prayers are with you. Every Blessing, Ian.

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