Dear Sir, concerned readers have passed on to this office a copy of Ray Fleming's article of August 8th, concerning the Camp David negotiations. Unfortunately, it was both misleading and factually incorrect, in several significant respects.

Jerusalem has been the historic and religious (...) of Israel and the Jewish nation for the last 3'000 years. Indeed, the day after Mr Fleming's words appeared, Jews wept for both the destruction of the First (by Babylon), and Second (by Rome) Temple, and pray three times daily towards this holy and indivisible city. In contrast Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran, though all Moslem sites are under the direct control of the Waqf Islamic council, and Israel has proudly maintained free access and worship to people of all faiths, since it regained control of the east of the city, after Israel was attacked on June 5th 1967! This is in sad contrast to the 19 years when East Jerusalem (1948/1967) was occupied by the Jordanian Arab Legion. All Jews were barred from even visiting the holiest point on earth, and the oldest Jewish cemetery in the world, on the Mount of Olives (Har Zeitim) was vandalised, abused, and even utilised for hotel and latrine construction! I would be eager to examine what column inches Mr Fleming then wrote protesting against this dreadful, and indeed blasphemous period of religious and racial discrimination.

Moreover in its ongoing quest for genuine and permanent peace, Israel has actually offered full Arab sovereignty over all East Jerusalem Muslim majority residential areas, and access to The Temple Mount without any Israeli security supervision whatsoever! What no Israeli government, nor indeed any fair minded person could tolerate, would be to give Yasser Arafat full sovereignty over The Temple Mount area (Har Ha Bayit), which by definition contains the remains of the Jewish Temple, and the original scrolls of God's law or Torah.

Your readers will also find it useful to note that Mr Arafat still finds himself unable to discard his olive green “terrorist” fatigues, declare a final end to the conflict, stop saying in Arabic that Israel will be destroyed in “stages”, nor to make serious attempts to stop the murderous violence which Israeli citizens still have to face on a daily basis.

In conclusion, Jews have lived in “East” Jerusalem for 3'000 years, apart from the 19 year period that they were brutally massacred, and expelled. Israelis wish to continue to pray at The Western Wall, and not to revert to a situation that this remnant of the Temple Retaining structure reverts to being an inaccessible “wailing” wall. Mr Fleming's “problem” appears to be that he does not quite comprehend and internalise the concepts of factual accuracy, historical record, justice, and indeed the self-evident point that Israel remains the sole genuine parliamentary democracy in the whole of The Middle East!

Andrew Tunick, Director, Yorkshire Israel Office.
Etz Chaim Synagogue, 411 Harrogate Road
Leeds LS17 TTT


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