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Jerusalem Tag

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.

We have covered the escalating threats from leaders of and functionaries in the Palestinian Authority that there will be violence if the Donald Trump fulfills his promise to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Israel's capital, Jerusalem. This is a two-faced move, Palestinian leadership’s two-faced Jerusalem Embassy game:
We reported the other day on the escalating campaign by Palestinian leaders threatening and predicting violence if the U.S. moves our embassy to Jerusalem, Palestinian leadership: There will be violence if U.S. moves Embassy to Jerusalem.

We reported the other day on the escalating campaign by Palestinian leaders threatening and predicting violence if the U.S. moves our embassy to Jerusalem, Palestinian leadership: There will be violence if U.S. moves Embassy to Jerusalem. While Hamas is behind some of the incitement, an important feature of incitement regarding the Embassy is manufactured by the Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, through Mosques run by Imams loyal to the PA. Leaders, such as Mahmoud Abbas, then use the violence they are instigating behind-the-scenes to warn that an Embassy move might inspire violence. The Times of Israel reports Top PA imam: Moving US embassy to Jerusalem a ‘declaration of war’ on Islam:

We previously documented how the Palestinian terror tactic of car rammings had migrated to Europe in the form of truck rammings, which killed 84 people in Nice, France, and more recently, 12 people in Berlin, Germany. Now the truck rammings that killed so many in Nice and Berlin, have come to Israel. Four people have been killed when a Palestinian terrorist rammed a truck into a group of Israeli officer cadets on an educational tour waiting to board a bus in a parking area in Jerusalem. The driver drove the truck back and forth over the bodies. The attack comes as Palestinian leaders have ramped up incitement in advance of Donald Trump taking office, with threats and predictions of violence from the highest levels.

Donald Trump has promised, both himself and through surrogates, to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That move, long promised by American presidents but never implemented, would have particular importance in light of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which the Obama administration pushed behind the scenes and allowed to pass by abstaining. That Resolution purports to declare illegal the Jewish presence even in place such as the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, which was captured by Jordan after Israel declared independence, and then ethnically cleansed of Jews. That ethnic cleansing of Jew along with ransacking and destruction of Jewish religious places, even cemeteries, was remedied when Israel recaptured the area in 1967 after Jordan attacked Israel in support of Egypt and Syria. Israel also recaptured the Western Wall, the holiest place in Judaism at which Jews are permitted to pray. The UN Resolution declares Israeli control over the Western Wall illegal as well.

Last week I was invited by an editor of The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog to contribute an article focusing on the issues surrounding president-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The article, “Trump’s plan to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could help the peace process”, was published yesterday:
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