I listened, spellbound, as President Trump announced that the United States is officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and will begin the process of moving our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
I wholeheartedly agree with this decision, and can only wonder why it has taken so long for us to recognize a reality that has existed, in modern times, since 1950 – almost 70 years.
In the wake of the announcement, we see all sorts of pronouncements that the end of the world as we know it is nigh, that the “Peace Process” will now end and that there is no hope for the “only solution” possible, the so-called “Two State Solution”.
The truth is that most of these pronouncements are ridiculous.
Jerusalem is, and has been, the capital of Israel since the founding of the modern state. It has been the keystone of Judaism for thousands of years, to the point that Jews pray about Jerusalem every single day. It is mentioned over 600 times in the old testament. Clearly, the connection of Judaism to Jerusalem is paramount, and has been throughout the history of modern religion.
To those who are upset about Trump officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a few questions:
1. What do YOU think is Israel’s capital? What is the definition of a “capital”?
2. Israel has considered Jerusalem as its capital since 1950. Do you think, in ANY potential peace agreement, that there is even the slightest possibility that Israel would agree to change that status?
3. Are you aware that Israel’s capital is in WEST Jerusalem, which is NOT “disputed” territory, nor is it even fleetingly claimed by the Palestinians (who, let’s be clear, have NO legal standing for any specific territorial demands. None.)
4. What functional difference do you believe will occur in peace negotiations between Israel, the Palestinians, and the rest of the Arab world as a result of acknowledging the fact that Jerusalem has always been the capital of Israel?
Israel has a right to determine what it’s capital should be, just as any other sovereign nation is entitled to do.
The reality of the situation between Israel and the Palestinians is beyond ludicrous. On the one hand, we are told that recognizing something that has absolutely no impact on anything related to the Palestinians is going to derail “The Peace Process”.
Does anyone other than me find it odd that this so-called “Peace Process” has been going on longer than World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, combined? How is it that the world has been able to resolve any number of major conflicts, involving many, many millions of deaths and displacements of populations, including two worldwide conflicts in less time than it takes for Israel and the Arabs to agree on the borders of two states and move on with their lives?
Why is that? What is the underlying cause of the conflict?
Some tell us that it’s because “The Jews” stole the Palestinians’ land, or that “The Jews” occupy the West Bank (and Gaza, even though Israel withdrew 100% from Gaza in 2005), or that Israel deliberately expelled millions of Arabs, whose families have lived forever on the land and were displaced by a bunch of European Jews.
They ignore the actual facts that Jews have been a majority in Jerusalem for centuries. That there have been longstanding (centuries long) Jewish communities in places like Hebron, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and many more. That the 1947 UN Partition Plan, dividing part of the land designated as a British Mandate after WWI relied on demographics, dividing the land based on occupancy patterns by Jews and Arabs. That a great many of those now called “Palestinians” are descended from Arabs who flocked into the area in the last century as Jewish communities and towns (and kibbutzim and Moshavim) were built and thrived, and created jobs. Many came from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, etc.
They ignore the fact that the partition plan was never ratified, never concluded, never valid, given that only one side accepted this “contract”, while the other side invaded the new state. They ignore the fact that the ONLY period in the history of Jerusalem, when Jerusalem was a city divided into “West Jerusalem” and “East Jerusalem” was from 1949 to 1967, when Jordan illegally conquered and occupied it, expelling ALL Jewish residents. Those 19 years hardly give legitimacy to a permanent division of Jerusalem, any more than the forced division of Berlin for 30 years gave legitimacy to its division, or the conquest of Northern Cyprus by Turkey gives legitimacy to their claims to half the island.
They glibly tell us that, on one hand, the Palestinians have some intrinsic, political, historical, legal, and national “Right” to “East Jerusalem” (a term made up in 1949 when Jordan invaded and captured part of Jerusalem), and have a right to erect their capital there, while the Jews of Israel have no right to erect their capital in “West Jerusalem”, even though no one is disputing Israel’s ownership of “West Jerusalem”.
At the same time, they just as glibly tell us that Israel must be forced to abide by the tenets of the partition plan calling for Jerusalem to be an internationally-administered city. So, it’s ok for the Palestinians to have a capital there, but not the Jews.
The bottom line is that the decision by President Trump actually follows US law (1995) requiring the president to move the embassy to Jerusalem and recognize it as Israel’s capital.
The bottom line is also that this decision changes no facts on the ground, since all of Israel’s government has been in Jerusalem since the beginning of the state – almost 70 (SEVENTY!!!!!) years. The Knesset, the Prime Minister’s residence, etc. are ALL in Jerusalem.
No one can seriously, possibly believe that Israel would entertain, for a micro-second, reverting back to the original, invalid 1947 partition plan and abandoning Jerusalem, so why argue with a concrete fact of life?
For me, this should be a non-issue. The world should have accepted this many decades ago.
Israel accepted the partition plan. The Arabs (not the Palestinians, since they hadn’t yet been invented) did not. They attacked Israel, militarily, with the aim of wiping them off the map. That intention has not disappeared, based on the maps of the Palestinian Authority which do not even show Israel, or the threats of Iran and other Arab and Muslim countries.
Israel is under no obligation to facilitate its destruction, nor is it under any obligation to go quietly into the night.
Jerusalem IS Israel’s capital. It is, today, an undivided city. It will stay an undivided city, as it should.
The Palestinians, in their new role as a “People” or “Nation”, have exactly the same opportunity today that they have had for decades to sit down and negotiate a peace agreement with Israel, complete with borders, trade agreements, and whatever else they want. This recognition changes NONE of that.
And, frankly, the proclamations that THIS action is the end of the “Peace Process” are completely laughable. There is not now, nor has there been, for MANY years, any “Peace Process”. It simply does not exist, because the Palestinians are not willing to actually negotiate. That is a simple fact of life.
So is the simple fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Always has been. Always will be.
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