On December 6, President Trump made history. He recognized the fact that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem, as proclaimed by the State of Israel in the same the way that all countries choose their capital city. Israelis didn’t need the president’s pronouncement to verify what has been part of Jewish history for three thousand years. But the rest of the world did need it.
Yes, it’s a shock to the Arabs and their supporters (nearly every country), but the world will get over it. Absent Trump’s resounding gesture, the “peace process” would continue to go nowhere, as it has done since the 1937 Peel Commission, when the League of Nations presented its first plan to divide (British) Mandatory Palestine into Jewish, Arab (not Palestinian), and international areas.
The UN has continued the League of Nations futile attempts to constrain Israel in its homeland. Former Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz says that President Donald Trump’s official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is the “perfect response” to “President Obama’s outrageous orchestration” of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 during the waning weeks of his presidency. (israelnationalnews.com)
That resolution proclaims that all Israeli activity beyond the 1949 Armistice Line is unlawful, including at the Western Wall and on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s most sacred site. If Israel agreed to the UN’s many resolutions (some brought up annually or even more frequently), Iranian proxies would be on the Golan, threatening Israelis daily – or worse – and Jews could not live in the Jewish Quarter.
Israel’s capital, foreign policy, and borders are determined, not by the UN, but by the same factors that matter for all countries: military power and diplomacy. If Israel were not strong enough to defend the Golan Heights – in which more than 30 Jewish synagogues dating back to the 2nd-7th century CE are located – from Iranian, Syrian or other invaders, then the Golan would no longer be part of Israel. If Israel cannot control Jerusalem, then it will not remain the capital.
The president’s speech was not “unhelpful,” as Britain’s prime minister complained. Prior to President Trump’s “defiant” speech acknowledging Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital, no major nation really backed Israel’s claims to its ancient homeland. This negativity reached its nadir with Resolution 2334, which would not have survived a veto by the US (a veto President Obama forbid). Prior to this Security Council vote, and even more afterward, Arabs felt no need to compromise their absolute demands, since all of Israel’s actions were declared illegal.
The Arabs’ threats of violence if Jerusalem were acknowledged as the Jews’ capital should not have cowed the West; just the opposite. Foreign policy should not be subject to blackmail. Now, following President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Arabs, especially the Palestinian Arabs, are confronted by a resolute Israel which finally has substantial, unequivocal diplomatic support from the world’s most powerful nation.
Besides this latest proclamation, President Trump appointed an Ambassador to the UN who backs Israel’s claims to its homeland and an Ambassador to Israel who has a long history of supporting Israel. The president has also supported Israel in its campaign against the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA) and heavily criticized UN Resolution 2334.
After the West gets over its shock that the American embassy will relocate to Jerusalem, the West must open its eyes and stop pretending that the Palestinian Arabs want to have a peaceful state next to Israel (not the eradication of Israel). From 1949 to 1967, Jordan and Egypt claimed Palestine for themselves. The mission of the PLO, founded in 1964, was, and is, the usurping of Israel. The Palestinian Authority headed today by Mahmoud Abbas is indistinguishable from the PLO, sharing the same mission (no matter what platitudes its leaders orate in English).
The Palestinian Arabs have never had a leader who would stick out his neck to make even the slightest concession to the hated Jews, who had the audacity to declare sovereignty over “Muslim” land. This is the common belief of all orthodox Muslims, especially the Arabs: Infidels cannot rule in any country that was conquered by Muslims. This includes the Iberian Peninsula and many areas of eastern and central Europe. Therefore, the best Israel can hope for is a prolonged ceasefire, which will hold as long as Israel is the strongest power in the region.
Until Trump’s speech, all countries called for Jerusalem to be a shared capital, despite the absurdity of a non-country like “Palestine” sharing the Jews’ 3,000-year-old capital. This proposal, which was always viewed by Israel as a stupid idea, antithetical to Jewish history and interests, did not stop the West from fruitlessly trying to mediate between Israelis and Arabs.
After the dust clears from the president’s speech, hopefully without too many casualties from Muslim violence, many nations will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (The Czech Republic will probably be the first.) This may or may not change the Palestinian Arabs’ intransigent attitude against compromising their demands. In either case, Israel’s rights to its historic capital are acknowledged by the world’s leading power.
President Trump stated that a 2-state solution is only viable if both Israel and the Palestinian Authority agree to it. However, much more likely is a continuation of the status quo or one of several other formulas for a “state-minus” Palestine which would honor a ceasefire with Israel.