It is disgraceful that the United States, Israel’s best ally and friend, has never recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital even though it recognizes the claimed capitals of numerous brutal dictatorships and enemy nations.
It is also shameful that the Europeans still call the eastern part of Jerusalem a “settlement” and part of the “ occupied territories” when that part of the city was the location of the capital city of ancient Israeli kingdoms for over 1000 years and was home to Judaism’s two Holy Temples.
But the ultimate shame for the distorted world view of Jerusalem is on successive Israeli governments, starting with Rabin and Peres, who agreed to put Jerusalem on the negotiation table as a final status issue of the Oslo Agreement, thus, giving legitimacy to the Arabs’ revisionist history of lies and myths that Jerusalem was ever the capital of an Arab state.
Of course, Jews' rights were jeopardized again when the governments led by Barak in 2000 and Olmert in 2008 were willing to give specific offers to Arafat and Abbas respectively to re-divide the city and waive most rights to the Temple Mount, the holiest site of the Jews. Thankfully both offers were rejected by our enemies.
The slippery slope of giving away our rights in Jerusalem began immediately after the Six Day War in 1967, in which Israel in a war of self-defense routed the Jordanian Army and captured eastern Jerusalem. Then Israeli Minister of Defense, Moshe Dayan apologetically sacrificed Israeli’s sovereign and religious rights by handing total administrative control over the Temple Mount to Jordan’s Islamic Waqf. The same Jordanians who during their previous 19 year control of eastern Jerusalem, destroyed many Jewish synagogues and denied Jews access to their holiest sites, including the Western Wall and Temple Mount.
Prime Minister Netanyahu should share part of the blame, even though he also should be credited for working tirelessly for four years to slow down Obama’s obsessive pursuit of establishing a Palestinian state and dividing Jerusalem.
In 2010, Netanyahu repeatedly apologized when President Obama was personally involved in orchestrating a harsh public confrontation with Israel over its announcing of plans to build new housing units in north Jerusalem during a visit by Vice President Biden. Moreover, in June, data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics showed that not a single new project was started or planned in the Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem since the start of 2013. Jerusalem’s deputy mayor confirmed that it was on a direct order of the prime minster.
So now we reap the sour fruits of our own ambivalent past actions and decisions about our beloved capital.
The European Union on July 17 issued a new directive that its bodies and member nations will no longer be a party to any economic, social or academic cooperation and agreements with Israeli institutions operating beyond the pre- 1967 borders, which includes Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem. Thus the EU is in effect demanding that Israel deny any rights to the Western Wall or the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and erect a border in the middle of Jerusalem, which has been the Jewish capital much longer than any city has been the capital of any European nation.
On July 23rd, a US federal appellate court found unconstitutional a 2002 law that gives thousands of Americans born in Jerusalem the option of listing Israel as their birth place on US passports. The judge stated in the decision that Congress intended to force the State Department to deviate from its decades-long position of neutrality on what nation or government, if any, has sovereignty over Jerusalem. The court said that it found the State Department‘s position compelling that a reversal of US policy could provoke uproar throughout the Arab and Muslim world and severely damage relations.
Now, Netanyahu seems to have given in to Obama at the worse time, when the Middle East is more unstable and dangerous than ever. US Secretary of State John Kerry announced that Netanyahu and Abbas have reached an agreement that provides the basis for the final status negotiations which includes discussing the status of Jerusalem.
As Abbas demanded as a precondition to reviving talks that Israel release prisoners with Jewish blood on their hands and that Israel agree to start negotiations on the basis of the 1967 borders, Israel should have demanded that Jerusalem will never be physically divided again and the Temple Mount will always stay under Israel sovereignty. Putting Jerusalem on the negotiating table without setting red lines first will guarantee its division.
Since the US administration was so desperate to restart the negotiations in order to claim some foreign policy success after its dismal record in Egypt, Syria, and Iran, Israel must create its own uproar and demand that the US move its embassy from Tel Aviv to western Jerusalem, which both the US and the Europeans claim they do not consider part of the “pre-1967 occupied territories."
Historically, Jerusalem has only been the capital of a Jewish state. For thousands of years Jews swore not to forget her. What will you say to future generations when they ask you what did you do when they were negotiating to divide Jerusalem?
Shoula Romano Horing is an attorney. Her blog: www.shoularomanohoring.com
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