Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Curse of Jerusalem? (2)

Ariel Sharon swore on the 38th anniversary of the seizure of Jerusalem from the Jordanian army that the city would remain in Jewish hands forever. He doesn't seem to be aware of the city's history.

Jews have been secretly buying up large chunks of property in Jerusalem particularly from Patrirch Irineous of the Jerusalem Greek Orthodox Church, which have infuriated Palestinian Christians and indeed Muslims.

The Israeli local authority has also attempted to evict Palestinians living there for eons, claiming that the Palestinians were illegal squatters. At the same time the Israeli government has been promoting illegal Jewish settlements around the city.

The aim is blatantly obvious, to secure Jerusalem totally in Jewish hands one way or another.

Needless to say, the Palestinians are hardly likely to lie on their back and be kicked by Israeli boots. Blood will continue to flow. That unfortunately has been the curse of the city!

Jerusalem changed hands from Canaanites to Jebusites to Israelites. According to the Bible, Pharaoh Shishak then laid seige to the city and was placated only by heavy tributes from the treasures fo the Temple, comprising virtually all the wealth that David and Solomon accrued. Another such tribute was paid to King Ben-Hadad of Syria to persuade him not to support King Basha of Israel who threatened the Judean capital during the war between the two Israelite kingdoms.

Then the Assyrians under Sennacherib overwhelmed the city, making the Jewish king Hezekiah his vassal. Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonians were next. They wiped out the last of the Davidic kings, and destroyed the Temple. After the Babylonians the more benign Persians came along, but permitted the Jews to return and rebuild their state, as a vassal nation.

Then there was a bloke by the name of Alexander who spread Hellenism throughout the region as his army marched towards Egypt and through Persia to India. Jerusalem fell to his forces.

The descendants of his general Seleucus reigned over Palestine including Jerusalem. The Romans invaded next, and under them Jerusalem was ruled by their vassal Syrian and Idumean kings. The Romans destroyed the Temple of Solomon a second time in 70 CE.

A series of conquerors swept over Jerusalem. The Byzantine Empire, Arabs (under Caliph Umar), Seljuk Turks, Fatimid rulers of Egypt, European Crusaders (who actually forbade the Jews to live in Jerusalem), Saladin and his Turk-Kurds, Mamelukes, Ottoman Turks (the Muslim Sultan invited Jews running from the Spanish Inquisition to settle in Palestine), French under Napoleon for a very brief period and then back to the Ottomans, British, Arabs and after the 1967 War, the Israelis, all ruled over Jerusalem.

But the struggle continues. How long can the Israelis hold on?

The curse of the Egyptian Execration Text seems to leave its mark on the city for 4,000 years.

Related posting:
The Curse of Jerusalem?

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