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Jerusalem Tag

The reaction to Donald Trump's announcement that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and plans to move the Embassy has not generated nearly the heat and fury as predicted. There have been protests and rock throwing, but the numbers of people involved have been surprisingly small in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The most serious incidence was the stabbing of a bus terminal security guard by a Palestinian.

Nikki Haley certainly has raised her public profile as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and with good reason. Haley has become a very effective public face of Trump's U.S. diplomacy, in many ways overshadowing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at least in terms of public exposure. What this means in terms of Haley's political future is uncertain. But with Governor and UN Ambassador on her resume, and being in front of the cameras as much as she is, it has to make her a contender for either higher national office (Secretary of State?) or VP nominee at some point in the future. I don't think she yet has what it would take politically to mount a presidential campaign, but who knows in 2024. From the beginning of her service, Haley has attacked the UN's profound bias against Israel.

While Arab and Muslim leaders were calling for blood on the streets with 'new Intifada' and 'days of rage', and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU leaders were lining up to join the chorus to condemn President Donald Trump for daring to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, leading Indian politicians such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nationalist BJP party called the government follow US President's example and move the country's embassy to Jerusalem.

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.

During the campaign and transition, Donald Trump was clear in his promise to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, Israel's capital. As with prior administrations, there was walk-back in reality, and the Embassy still is in Tel Aviv. In the past week there has been much speculation that an announcement about moving the Embassy was near, but that speculation was denied by the administration.

An initiative sponsored by the Embassy of Israel in India seeks to connect Jerusalem's startup ecosystem with India's technology scene. Contrary to the popular perception, Jerusalem is fast catching up with Tel Aviv as a leading technology center in the world. In 2015, TIME magazine named Jerusalem as one of the world’s fastest growing hi-tech hubs. The annual startup competition "Start JLM", supported by Indian government and local private sector players, is being held in the country for the first time. This year's winner, Bangalore-based Mimyk startup will be taking part in an technology boost camp in Jerusalem. Four other finalists will be getting access to startup incubators.

After three Islamic terrorists used weapons hidden at the Al-Aqsa Mosque to kill two Israeli policemen, Israel placed metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount. Just as there are already metal detectors to enter the Western Wall area, the holiest place at which Jews are allowed to pray. The placement of metal detectors led to a wave of Palestinian violence (including the stabbing death of three Israelis having Sabbath dinner). There were many other threats of holy war against the Jews incited not just by Palestinians, but also by other Muslim leaders around the world.

We reported a week ago about an Arab terrorist attack at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It started with weapons hidden at the Al Aqsa Mosque, which then were used by three Israeli Arabs to carry out the attack on Israeli policemen just outside the compound. Two Israeli Druze policemen were killed. The terrorists fled back to the Temple Mount, where they were shot dead. One of the attackers even played dead, only to leap up with a knife in hand to stab more policeman, before he was shot.

Shortly after 7:00 a.m. Friday, Israeli time, three Israeli Arab terrorists opened fire near the Temple Mount, killing two Israeli policemen, and then fled onto the Temple Mount where the attackers were killed by Israeli police.  The two policemen killed were Israeli Druze. In dramatic video, one of the attackers "played dead" only to rise to try to stab the police. He was shot dead in the act. The attack at this location was a clear attempt not just at terror, but to stoke wider conflict.

Note: This post is the first in our daily re-created coverage of the Six-Day War. Starting Monday June 5 and concluding on Saturday June 10, we will cover each night the war as the events happened in 1967.  For a prelude, see 50th Anniversary of Six-Day War: The Eve of War. In the early morning hours of June 5, Israel launched an aerial strike on Egyptian air force bases. The attack was in response to the huge dangers that the country has faced in recent weeks—at least 200,000 Arab troops and some 1,000 tanks massed at its border—and the Soviet-backed Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser’s ongoing provocations. Israel has finally come to terms with Egypt’s threat to destroy it.

Note: This post is a prelude to our daily re-created coverage of the Six Day War. Starting Monday, June 5, we will cover each night the war as the events happened in 1967. The Six-Day War, the fiftieth anniversary of which takes places tomorrow on June 5, 2017, is “one of history’s most brilliant—and controversial campaigns.” In a mere six days, from June 5 through June 10, 1967, the state of Israel routed a numerically and materially superior Arab war coalition, decisively defeating the surrounding Arab armies in a pre-emptive act of self-defense. As the editors of a special Summer 2017 issue of Middle East Quarterly put it:
On June 4, 1967, the ecstatic Arab leaders were prophesying Israel’s imminent destruction and promising their subjects the spoils of victory; a week later, they were reconciling themselves to a staggering military defeat, the loss of vast territories, and sharp international humiliation.”

Today (May 24th) is Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day). The newest addition to the Jewish calendar and an Israeli national holiday, Jerusalem Day is held on the 28th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar—six weeks after the Passover seder and one week before the eve of the holiday of Shavuot. In June 1967, 28 Iyar was the third day of the Six-Day War, when Jerusalem’s Old City fell to Israeli forces. As we discussed in prior posts, Jerusalem Day celebrates this reunification of Israel’s capital city, when the IDF essentially brought the holy city back to Jewish sovereignty. It also commemorates the two-day (June 6-7, 1967) hard-fought battle for Jerusalem, when the elite 55th Paratroopers Brigade, led by its legendary commander General Motta Gur, liberated Jewish holy places from an illegal and immoral Jordanian occupation.

Last week, the three Israeli paratroopers whose images were photographed as they stood in silent awe in front of Jerusalem’s Western Wall (the Kotel) shortly after its capture during the Six-Day War returned to the Old City to remember the moment and reenact the famous picture. In prior posts, we highlighted how on June 7, 1967 the three 20-something reserve duty soldiers—Zion Karasenti, Haim Oshri, and Yitzhak Yifat—inadvertently became the symbols of the Jewish people’s fulfilment of a 2,000 year old dream when the Kotel and the many other Jewish holy sites in east Jerusalem were liberated from an unjust and unlawful Jordanian occupation. As we noted, it happened when the late David Rubinger, a savvy photographer at the start of his career, also happened to be at the right place at the right time. He managed to capture what became the defining image of Israel’s extraordinary 1967 military victory and one of the most significant moments in modern Israeli and Jewish history:

Donald Trump repeatedly promised to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel's capital, Jerusalem. That promise was made not only during the campaign, but after the election. In response, the Palestinians did what they always do -- internationalize the conflict coupled with threats of violence. Numerous high officials in the Palestinian Authority issued increasingly vitriolic threats and attempts to turn the Embassy move into an act against Islam. We explored these threats and strategy in prior posts: In light of these threats, I asked Will Trump capitulate to Palestinian threats over U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem?:

Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Despite reports that an announcement could come as soon as Monday morning, January 23, 2017, The White House says it is still in the early stages of discussions:
The White House said on Sunday that it is only in the early stages of talks to fulfill President Donald Trump's pledge to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, an action that would likely spark anger in the Arab world.