Accepting political facts and trying to reinforce them through sloganized narratives are not the same. For example, Israel is a political, military and geographic reality in the Middle East. Not recognizing Israel or ignoring it amounts to political blindness. But if Israeli politicians today justify their repressive policies toward Palestinians on the basis of Zionist slogans regarding the region, this is a kind of blindness not much different than disregarding Israel.
For instance, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country's current policies toward the Haram al-Sharif compound that comprises Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Temple Mount will be maintained unchanged. And in a speech to the Knesset, Netanyahu reiterated the aforesaid indifference by basing Israel's policies on the justification that "Jerusalem is the Eternal Capital of the Jews."
"Unified Jerusalem is our eternal capital. We are fighting for Jerusalem. It may take long but I am sure we will win it. For some, Israeli domination of Jerusalem is a part of political struggle. The word 'provocation' is invoked when talking about Jerusalem, which has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years." - Lord Balfour
Getting back to the facts, let's remember that in 1917 British Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour issued the declaration bearing his name worrying that American Jews and Zionist pressure groups would steer the U.S. to an alliance with Germany. Just recall the demographics of Palestine at the time of the issuing of the Balfour Declaration that favored the establishment in Palestine - that also contained the "Eternal Capital" - of a national home for the Jewish people. There were 480,000 Muslims, 80,000 Jews, and 70,000 Christians.
If only they didn't fight
In November 1947, the U.N. adopted a resolution that called for the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. The resolution recommended a special international regime for the City of Jerusalem to be administered by the UN. There were 1 million Muslim residents in Palestine, 600,000 Jews whose numbers rose due to migration and 140,000 Christian residents in 1947.
Arabs rejected the U.N. Partition Plan. On May 14, 1948, the independent state of Israel was proclaimed. Within 24 hours of the declaration of independence, the armies of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq began invading Israel. If only Palestinians and Arabs had concentrated on establishing a Palestinian state instead of launching a war of annihilation against Israel.
Former President Özal's advice
In December 1991, during the civil war in Yugoslavia, the late Turkish president, Turgut Özal, brought together Bosnian leader Aliya Izetbegovic and Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) during an Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit in Dakar, Senegal. Mr. Özal invited me to the room where the three leaders met. He nodded to Izetbegovic and Arafat and said, "If [Palestinians] had established a Palestinian state in accordance with the U.N. resolution, they would not have been in an uncertain position. If the international community offers a solution for Bosnia, Bosnians should jump at the opportunity." Arafat was listening to Özal with a sad smile on his face.
In short, Jerusalem is no one's "Eternal capital." Claims by both Muslims and Jews to Jerusalem are based not on history of religion but on political facts. If only Netanyahu accepted the facts and avoided escalating the crisis with Zionist slogans. After all, even the unbelieving have superstitious beliefs.