A step toward righting a historical wrong, and putting the area on the path to peace if the Palestinians so choose.
Donald Trump is set to give a speech later today recognizing that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, which of course it is.
According to reports based on news pool briefings by the White House, Trump will not declare Jerusalem the “united and undivided” capital of Israel, which is how Israelis refer to it. Rather, Trump will leave open that the parties could, as part of a final peace settlement, provide for some part of Jerusalem to serve as the capital of a Palestinian state or political entity.
Trump also will announce that he has instructed the State Department to start planning to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a process that likely will take several years because securing a location and construction needs to take place. The move could have taken effect immediately by simply redesignating the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem (which by the way, is across the street from the SuperSol supermarket bombed by Rasmea Odeh in 1969) as the Embassy. Officially moving the Embassy immediately would have made Trump’s speech more dramatic. Instead, the physical move of the Embassy some years from now will be an afterthought, and likely will occur without more controversy.
While in some ways this is a half measure, it is important nonetheless. The Palestinian non-negotiating tactic since before Israel even was a state was to wait things out, to promote and engage in terrorism, and to hope that the international community will impose a solution on Israel that will leave Israel vulnerable to ultimate destruction.
The problem always has been, and continues to be, that the Muslim world in general, and the Arab Muslim world in particular, do not accept the presence of any Jewish entity of any size in what they view as occupied Muslim territory. They are joined in this rejectionism by many Western leftists, who have taken up the chant of destruction of Israel: “From the river to the sea, Palestine be free.”
This always has been a religious war against the Jews, not only with weapons and bombs, but also with economic boycotts. In my presentation, The REAL History of the BDS Movement, I demonstrate that the current Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is a continuation of the economic boycott of Jews in what now is Israel since the 1920s.
As Israeli historian Benny Morris has documented, the 1948 war to destroy Israel was religious in nature (emphasis added):
Morris: What I discovered in the documentation relating to the war, at least from the Arab side, was that the war had a religious character, that the central element in the war was an imperative to launch jihad. There were other imperatives of course, political and others—but the most important from the enemy’s perspective was the element of the infidels who had the nerve to take control over sacred Muslim lands and the need to uproot them from there.
The modern rejectionism is still based on religion.
It’s also worth keeping in mind the history of Jerusalem.
In 1967, Israel did not capture the eastern portion of the city (including the Old City) and Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) from some Palestinian entity. Rather, those territories were illegally occupied by Jordan, which captured them during Israel’s War of Independence. Jordan proceeded to ethnically cleanse the area of Jews and ransacked Jewish history in the area, including the Mount of Olives cemetery. In 1967 Israel re-captured the areas Jordan illegally occupied after Jordan attacked Israel, despite Israeli pleas for Jordan to stay out of Israel’s war with Egypt and Syria.
The eastern portion of Jerusalem and the West Bank were not considered part of a future Palestinian state so long as they were occupied by Jordanian Muslims. The original Palestinian National Charter of 1964 expressly disavowed that the Palestine Liberation Organization, the supposed sole and legitimate representative of Palestinians, had any territorial claims on the areas controlled by Jordan (eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank), Egypt (Gaza) or the Himmah (controlled by Syria).
“Article 24. This Organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or the Himmah Area …”
It was only once the Jews returned to those lands in 1967 that Palestinian Arabs, who previously considered themselves part of the greater Arab nation, made a claim.
How are the Palestinians, and the Arab and Muslim worlds reacting? With threats, as usual. Mahmoud Abbas is planning “Days of Rage” to incite violence. This is nothing new, and it’s not spontaneous:
“Mahmoud Abbas is seen as leading and not being led…The attacks won’t come from “lone wolves” or smaller Palestinian factions. Rather, the descent into chaos will be directed from above as in the days of Arafat.”
Keep in mind, the Palestinians didn’t need this diplomatic recognition to engage in terror. Take a look at this Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs list of terror attacks since the Oslo Accords were signed: Suicide and Other Bombing Attacks in Israel Since the Declaration of Principles (Sept 1993).
Or scroll through the coverage of Palestinian Terror we have documented at Legal Insurrection, including this compilation of our prior coverage as of May 2017, Remembering the Victims of Palestinian Terror on Israel Memorial Day:
1970 – Members of the Biton family killed in a 1970 rocket attack on a school bus near the Lebanese border.
1972- The victims of the May 1972 Lod Airport massacre
1972 – The 11 Israeli Olympic athletes killed in the September 1972 – Munich Massacre
1974 – The 27 victims of the May 1974 Ma’alot School Massacre
1978 – The victims of the Coastal Road Massacre – March 11, 1978
1997 – The victims of Three simultaneous Palestinian suicide bombings at Ben Yehuda Street, Jerusalem in 1997.
1997 – Anat Rosen-Winter, killed in the 1997 Café Apropo bombing.
2001 – The 21 victims of the June 2001 Dolphinarium disco suicide bombing, including Simona Rudina.
2003 – Dominique Hass and the other victims of the Mike’s Place Suicide Bombing 2003
2003 – Tal Kehrmann and the other 16 victims of the 2003 Haifa Bus 37 Suicide Bombing, including many Druse students.
2010 – American tourist Kristine Luken, stabbed to death in the forest near Jerusalem while hiking.
2011 – Infant Hadas Fogel stabbed to death in her crib by Palestinian terrorists who also killed four members of her family in 2011.
2014 – Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Frankel kidnapped and murdered in June 2014
2014 – Almog Shiloni and Dalia Lemkus, stabbed to death separately the same day in October 2014
2015 – Shalom Sherki, killed in a car ramming in April 2015.
2015 – Rabbi Yaakov Litman, Hadar Buchris and an American yeshiva student Ezra Schwartz, in a week in November 2015 that saw One Wedding, Two Funerals, and a Stabbing
2015 – Rabbi Yeshaye Krishevsky killed in car ramming and Haviv Haim killed in bus shooting in October 2015.
2016 – Dafna Meir stabbed to death by a 16-year old Palestinian in front of her children in January 2016.
2016 – Yaffa Ariel, the 13-year old Israeli girl stabbed to death in bed by 17-year old Arab terrorist in June 2016
2016 – American student Taylor Force, stabbed to death in Tel Aviv in March 2016
2016 – Levana Malichi and Yosef Kirma killed in a Jerusalem shooting attack in October 2016
2017 – The four victims of the truck attack in Jerusalem in January 2017.
2017 – Hannah Bladon, a British exchange student stabbed to death on the Jerusalem light rail in April 2017.
So if there is violence after Trump’s announcement, don’t blame the announcement or Trump.
Palestinian Days of Rage are nothing new. What would be new and might hold out hope for peace, is for the Arab and Muslim worlds to accept that the Jews have returned to their homeland, for good.
(added) Prof. Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor, who lives in Israel, summed the the significance:
When President Trump issues his pronouncement on Jerusalem, traffic here will stop, stores will be empty and we will be listening carefully. It’s not because we need the President of the United States to tell us where our capital city is located, but instead reflects the anticipation of righting a 70-year wrong — the insulting situation in which foreign powers, led by the world’s democracies, deny the obvious fact that Jerusalem has been the center of Jewish life for 3,000 years.
For us, the details are secondary. We can live with a decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv now, or in two years; and are OK with telling the Palestinians that if they ever agree to two states, they can name their own capital. For us, the issue is symbolic and emotional — finally giving international recognition to Zion, the Jewish Bible’s alternative word for Jerusalem, as the core of Jewish civilization.
The U.S. recognition of Jerusalem being the capital of Israel is a step toward righting a historical wrong.DONATE
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