Jerusalem Day dance through Damascus Gate on way to Western Wall
Jerusalem Day dance through Damascus Gate on way to Western WallFlash 90

Leonard Grunstein is co-author of the book Because It’s Just and Right: The Untold Back-Story of the U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

(JNS) King David declared Jerusalem the capital of his kingdom in the Land of Israel over 3,000 years ago.

Although many empires have conquered the Land of Israel over the centuries, the Jewish people never entered into any peace treaty with any conqueror that voluntarily surrendered title to the Land. Moreover, no other independent country comprising only the Land of Israel was ever established and ruled by any resident and indigenous nation other than the Jewish people. Jerusalem has only been the capital of Israel and no other nation. It should be noted that the Quran does not even mention Jerusalem.

In 1948, the modern State of Israel was reborn. However, in Israel’s War of Independence, a substantial portion of Jerusalem (including the Old City with the Temple Mount and Western Wall) was illegally conquered by Jordan. Nevertheless, Jordan did not declare Jerusalem its capital. Israel managed to retain the western part of Jerusalem, which it made its capital. In the defensive 1967 Six-Day War, Israel succeeded in liberating and reunifying Jerusalem. The undivided city continues to be Israel’s capital.

The propaganda effort to disassociate Jews from Israel and Jerusalem is absurd. International law, the Bible, the Quran (5:21 and 17:104) and history itself recognize the rights of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. Almost seven years ago, President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel under U.S. law pursuant to the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act.

Regarding history, consider that the Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery is over 3,000 years old. There is no comparable Arab cemetery in Israel. The oldest is from the 11th century. The Islamic Waqf’s own 1924 guide to the Temple Mount confirms, “Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute.” The guide also notes that, in 637 CE, the Caliph Omar conquered and occupied Jerusalem.

The Ottoman Empire, which conquered the Land of Israel in the Middle Ages, was on the losing side of World War I. This set the stage for the establishment of new or reconstituted sovereign states out of the portions of the former Ottoman Empire ceded to the victorious Allies.

It was in this context that representatives of the Allies—including the United States, Britain, Italy, France and Japan—met in Paris in 1919. They received presentations from various delegations that made claims to lands previously controlled by the defeated Central Powers. As a result, Poland was reborn, the borders of Czechoslovakia and Romania were fixed and recognized, and the nation of Yugoslavia was created.

In 1920, the Supreme Council of Allied Powers met in San Remo, Italy to resolve many of these claims. The Supreme Council dealt with the Jewish people’s claim to an area referred to as “Palestine” that is now the State of Israel. The Arabs also presented their claims.

The title to the Land of Israel was resolved in favor of the Jewish people and the 1920 San Remo Resolution was adopted and unanimously confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations in 1922. By virtue thereof, the resolution became an international agreement, binding on all the member countries. The same resolution provided for the establishment of the nations of Syria and Iraq.

The resolution granted recognition to “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” It effectively recognized the Jewish people as the indigenous people of Palestine for over 3,500 years and rejected the claims of others. This demolishes the false claim that Jews are just modern-day colonialists.

It should be noted that the resolution did not purport to grant the Jewish people a newly minted right to Palestine. Instead, recognition was given to the “grounds for” reconstituting the Jews’ national home there as a preexisting legal right. It also referred to the area of the Palestine Mandate (now known as Israel), as a country. Sovereignty was vested in the Jewish people and under Article 5 could not be ceded to anyone else.

The United States recognized the foregoing in the 1924 Anglo-American Convention. As a treaty ratified by the Senate, the convention is the “supreme law of the land’ under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution. The rights granted under the treaty to the Jewish people are also codified under Article 70 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

Interestingly, when the British illegally adopted the White Paper in 1939 restricting immigration by Jews to then-Mandatory Palestine, a bipartisan majority of the House Foreign Affairs Committee urged the State Department to protest the move as a violation of the 1924 Anglo-American Treaty. President Franklin D. Roosevelt later stated that the United States disapproved of the White Paper and reaffirmed support for the recreation of a Jewish commonwealth in the Land of Israel.

Beginning on the night of June 4, we celebrate the 57th anniversary of the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem. May Israel soon defeat the evil that is Hamas and return the hostages and valiant soldiers of the IDF home safely. Am Yisrael Chai.