Beyond the Cusp

October 1, 2014

Dozen Families Face Riotous Neighbors in New Neighborhood

The Shiloach neighborhood in Jerusalem is known to its Arab residents as Silwan which they believe is their land and must remain inviolate from any Jewish presence. The twelve newest residents came thanks to a purchase through an American company, Kandel Finance and are owned by Jews. Immediately on realizing that Jews had managed to buy residences in this predominantly Arab Muslim neighborhood they began yelling foul and demanding that the residences in question were owned by Arabs and the Jews were stealing them and must be forced out. There are actual logical and understandable reasons that Arab, especially Muslim Arabs, will deny that Jews bought any lands or apartments in what are traditionally Arab neighborhoods, especially in those areas which were previously held illegally by Jordan before the June 1967 Six Day War. Under Jordanian law selling any property to Jews was punishable by death; trials for such often optional and proved unnecessary. The future for these twelve families promises to be interesting as the Shiloach (Silwan) neighborhood has been a flashpoint for anti-Semitic attacks of varying degrees of ferocity. Attacks have spanned the gauntlet from yelling epithets to shoving to assaults to rock throwing and slinging to assaults using two-by-fours with nails protruding to fireworks and Molotov cocktails being hurled at passing Jews. These twelve families are aware of the threats and challenges they can be promised to have to survive and endure but have that pioneer spirit to take life and its difficulties in stride and seeing each as another step through which they can strengthen their resolve and reinforce their spirits.

The Shiloach (Silwan) neighborhood had contested ownership of the majority of residences and lands similarly to much of the areas in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) resulting from the occupation of the lands by Jordan resulting from their attacks during the 1948-9 Arab war of elimination to drive the Jews into the sea and destroy Israel, an effort it is claimed they lost only because some of the state of Israel remained in Jewish hands when an armistice was set. At the end of the fighting Egypt occupied Gaza and Jordan, and occupied Judea and Samaria which they gave the title of West Bank to remove the obviously Jewish denotations. Both Egypt and Jordan forced the Jews off of the occupied areas taking their properties, homes, apartments and other possessions by force and threat of death and then granting these assets to Jordanian Arabs. After the 1967 Six Day War Israel liberated these lands from Jordan and Egypt and when making peace with both nations, Egypt and Jordan surrendered their formerly occupied lands to Israel and relented any claim. Despite Egypt and Jordan relenting their claims granting the lands back to Israel, the Arabs did not return any of the confiscated properties to their former Jewish owners and when Jews bought back any of these properties the Arabs would claim they were stolen and challenge the Jewish ownership in the courts often preventing the new Jewish owners from taking possession of their properties for years. Even larger problems have developed when Arab landlords sell properties to Jews, often the landlord lives outside Israel and Jordan, not just outside the West Bank. These landlords often do not inform their tenants of the new owners or the tenants were advised but simply refused to believe they have any obligation to the new owners. This has also led to long court battles and growing frustrations. What has made these court battles even more threatening has been the propensity of the Israeli courts to decide that the Arab claims were valid and supercede the new Jewish owner’s claims returning the property to the Arab claiming he had not sold the property. This has led to a cottage industry where Arabs, either the actual owner or a counterfeit pretending to have ownership sells a property and then when the Jewish owner tries to take ownership there comes the challenge in the courts which often takes years and the Jewish defendant has at best a fifty-fifty proposition in retaining their newly purchased property instead of the Arabs retaining ownership and the money paid for the sale. When the Jewish purchaser loses these cases, they still have a remaining mortgage owed to the loaning institution which becomes an unsecured loan which leads to the possibility of a change in the interest rates, always to a higher rate. That leaves the former prospective Jewish owner of a property with no property and still a mortgage to pay on that property which was rewarded to its former owner. One of the reasons that the Arabs have for fighting in courts claiming that they had not sold the properties is because, just as when the lands were under Jordanian occupation, selling of property to Jews was punishable by death. This law is still applied by the Palestinian Authority over lands under their control in Area A and often enforced in vigilante fashion in predominantly Arab areas in the rest of former Jordanian controlled lands and even has started to become a problem within Green Line Israel in Arab neighborhoods.

The heart of the matter might have one asking why would a Jew or anybody with an ounce of common sense ever take such risks and take on such a struggle with such a large amount of doubt and possibility to be indebted for much of the rest of their life and impoverished should they have their ownership challenged and lose in a liberal court system that tends to support any Arab claim? Believe it or not, the answer is easy even if it may be a bit difficult to understand or believe. It is considered a blessing and an imperative to settle the entirety of the lands with some believing that settling the lands of Eretz Yisroel is required for the coming of the Messiah. What there is no argument is that settling the lands is definitely a mitzvah. Whether it actually is a mitzvah denoted in Jewish holy books and writings which include at the least; Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvim, Mishnah, Gemara, Talmud, and Kabbalah, is and has been a debatable subject. Actually, whether it is actually a blessing or a commandment is unimportant as it is only important that those intending to buy lands believe they are performing mitzvahs.

This is simply another facet of the conflict in which the Arabs are contesting whether Jews will be permitted to own properties and rule their own country in an area formerly part of Arab Muslim lands which according to the Quran, or at least what many Arabs and Muslims believe, makes the lands inviolate and permanently to remain Arab and Muslim lands. This form of this conflict is less known than the more obvious forms which include terrorist acts and the Israeli responses to terrorism and organized, aggressive attacks by terrorist fighters using rockets, explosives and the other tools of war in open conflicts as the two month open warfare which threatens to become open warfare in the near future as Hamas is threatening to restart rocket barrages of Israel if Israel refuses any of their demands in negotiations such as an open and unencumbered seaport and airport through which they would be permitted to import weapons without any limitations or restrictions. The different forms of Arab and Muslim resistance to the existence of Israel has gone through changes from warfare by neighboring Arab Muslim nations which met with various levels of failure to remove the Jewish State to the multi-facetted resistance which uses open warfare, Lawfare in the courts (Israeli courts thus far which has given the Arabs and Muslims numerous victories), through international demonstrations and the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), terrorisms, rioting, public relations assaults using productions often with the aid of European leftist agitators who excel in making and editing videos for upload to social media and with which to charge IDF and Police with abuse again in Israeli and IDF trials with varying successes, and numerous other methods. There are also numerous new methods that may develop with time, some sublimely devious and some grotesquely violent, and everything in between.

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