Trump’s actions have confirmed historical truth

In 1929, the Supreme Moslem Council’s publication: "A Brief Guide to the Haram Al-Sharif," stated on p. 4 that "(The Temple Mount’s) identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute."

Mark Silverberg

OpEds Israel - a smile of peace
Israel - a smile of peace

What President Trump did on December 6th was to recognize an historical reality by making Jerusalem the capital of the State of Israel - an act especially important given the efforts of the Palestinians to delegitimize the Jewish people's historical connection to the City of David. His announcement simply acknowledges reality, buries the false assumptions of the old “peace process”, and puts forth a new approach.

The Palestinians have refused to recognize those basic facts, just as they have refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state which is why they are livid over his decision. For them, war against Israel is not a conflict about the division of land. It is a war of extermination based on their refusal to accept that the Jews have any right to that land whatsoever, and Jerusalem is central to that refusal which is why they deny the Jews any rights to Jerusalem whatsoever. 

But the truth is and always has been that Jerusalem cannot be disconnected from the State of Israel. Trump’s action unambiguously reinforces the historic bond between the Nation of Israel and Jerusalem and the natural right of the Jewish people for self-determination in their ancestral homeland. Far from the Israeli presence there being illegal, the Jews are the only people who are entitled to the city as a matter of international law, historical truth and natural justice. The fact is Jerusalem appears 669 times in the Old Testament and 142 times in the New Testament and major Jewish rituals, including the conclusion of the Passover Seder and Yom Kippur service, end with the age-old affirmation, "Next year in Jerusalem." 

Since King David made Jerusalem the capital of Israel some 3,000 years ago, that city has served as the physical and spiritual capital of the Jewish people. It was in Jerusalem that Jewish Temples stood, Jewish kings ruled, and Jewish prophets preached and that’s why, from every corner of the earth, the Jewish people, even in times of exile, yearned to return to Jerusalem. Moreover, the prime minister’s office, the Knesset, and nearly all Israeli government offices have been situated in Jerusalem since Israel declared its independence nearly 70 years ago and for more than 50 years while under Israeli sovereignty, the rights of all faiths have been respected and protected to ensure that all religious groups may pray as they wish at Jerusalem’s holy sites.  

Unfortunately, the primary obstacle to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from Day 1 has been and continues to be the Palestinians’ rejection of the right of self-determination for the Jewish people in their ancient homeland - including Jerusalem - and that is the crux of the problem and, quite possibly, the reason for Trump’s dramatic change of policy.

To undermine any basis for compromise with Israel, Palestinian leaders flatly deny any ancient Jewish connection to the land. They claim that there never was a Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount. Yet their own history belies this claim. In 1929, the Supreme Moslem Council’s publication: "A Brief Guide to the Haram Al-Sharif," stated on p. 4 that "(The Temple Mount’s) identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute." (After 1954, however, all such references to the biblical Temples disappeared from this publication). In addition, neither the PLO’s National Charter nor the Fatah Covenant drafted during Jordanian rule (1948-1967) even mention Jerusalem, let alone called for its establishment as a Palestinian capital.

Neither the PLO’s National Charter nor the Fatah Covenant drafted during Jordanian rule (1948-1967) even mention Jerusalem, let alone called for its establishment as a Palestinian capital.
Though Trump affirmed Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he did refrain from calling it the undivided capital of Israel - suggesting that the US would still support potentially dividing Jerusalem between the Israelis and the Palestinians as part of any future peace negotiations. Indeed, he explicitly stated that the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty and Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations of a future peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israelis, although Palestinian actions over the decades, unfortunately, suggest that such an agreement is unlikely to say the least.

For peace to come, the Palestinians must decide that they have more to gain by giving up the conflict and recognizing Israel than by perpetuating the conflict until Israel has been annihilated. But that is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future because according to a recent study by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the Palestinian Authority budget has committed $154 million for salaries of imprisoned and released terrorists and $192 million for the families of those "martyred" in their war to murder Israelis and to exterminate Israel, for a total expenditure of $346 million! 

This figure amounts to 49.6% of all foreign aid to be received by the Palestinian Authority by the end of 2017, and that is why the US House of Representatives passed the Taylor Force Act (which would cut U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority if the PA does not halt its payments to convicted terrorists and their families) on December 5th - a day before President Trump’s speech recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

It is abhorrent to think that money from US taxpayers is rewarding Palestinian terrorism, but it's hard to conclude otherwise when confronted by these figures and what they mean. The compensation of Palestinian terrorists by the Palestinian Authority is immoral and incomprehensible in and of itself, but it clarifies the true motives of the Palestinians and suggests that they have absolutely no intention or desire to accept Israel’s existence which a two-state solution, by definition, means.   

Truth is, the so-called “peace process” has been effectively dead ever since the late Yasser Arafat, the then president of the Palestinian Authority, rejected the proposed final settlement at the Camp David Summit in July 2000. That deal offered him 95% of the West Bank, all of Gaza, compensation in lieu of the right of return of the Palestinian diaspora, and, most importantly East Jerusalem. Rather than accept the offer, recognize Israel and end the conflict however, Arafat decided that the best way to get an even better deal was to promote violence by triggering the second intifada in September of that same year.

Taking all this into account, the fact remains that Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a pragmatic step in the right direction and is totally consistent with U.S. policy as set forth in the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 - a law that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support - which states unequivocally that America should recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and that the U.S. embassy should be located there. That Act was overwhelmingly approved by both the U.S. Senate (93–5) and the House of Representatives (374–37) and both the Democratic and Republican party platforms have consistently and explicitly acknowledged Jerusalem as Israel’s capital for the past several decades - including most recently in 2016. 

Sadly, for nearly seven decades until now, alone among the nations of the world, Israel has been denied the sovereign right to determine its own capital – the only country in the world to be denied that right. It was one of the quirks of the ongoing appeasement of Arab countries and the Islamic world that the U.S. and all other nations kept their embassies in Tel Aviv. Thus, U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital by President Trump is a positive step and an important one particularly in the face of Palestinian efforts to delegitimize the Jewish people's historical connection to the City of David and especially their denial of the right for Israel to exist at all. 

America has finally done the right thing.

The Palestinians continue to act as though they will get what they want through rejection, resistance and rage. Their refusal to accept Israel’s existence has been uncompromising and thus the greatest obstacle to a true peace. If the Palestinians can't find a better way to establish their own national identity other than by hating Israel, Zionism and the Jews, then they're never going to build a state worth having.

It is possible of course that recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the U.S. embassy there could revitalize the “peace process” by demonstrating to the Palestinians that history is moving forward without them and that their maximalist claims to Israeli territory are an obstacle to peace, but if the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and changing the location of the embassy is enough to block peace talks as they maintain, then we must concede that a “peace process” was, is and always has been an illusion.