Yesterday the U.S. took a giant step forward towards achieving lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
For too many years, the international effort to deny the historical basis for a Jewish homeland in the land of Israel has been gaining momentum, delegitimizing Israel by challenging the essential purpose of its modern recreation. As evidence mounts that the world will support this perversion of history, the incentive for Palestinians to make peace has been evaporating.
Yesterday that all changed.
The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is nothing less than a reaffirmation of Israel’s eternal right to exist and a resounding rejection of the never-ending onslaught of UN resolutions that seek to sever the connection of the Jewish people from the land of Israel.
A major obstacle to peace over the years has been that Palestinian leaders too often believe they can reach their objectives by means other than the negotiating table. Even more tragic is that they frequently prioritize destroying Israel over founding the country they claim to desire.
The Palestinians have been given many opportunities to have their own state, beginning in 1948 when the modern state of Israel was (re)founded. Each time the Palestinians rejected peace from which we can infer that having an independent state side-by-side with Israel was far less important than ensuring that Israel not exist — and more precisely that the Jewish people not have an independent homeland in the Middle East. Indeed, for decades the PLO would not recognize the right of Israel to exist and even today Hamas will not state that Israel should exist permanently. Hamas is not alone — consider that the common chant of Palestinian protesters in America: “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” The “river” is the Jordan and the “sea” is the Mediterranean, so there is no land left for Israel.
Many approaches have been tried to destroy Israel. Initially Arab leaders chose war, including an invasion of Israel on the day it declared independence and a surprise attack on Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. When war failed, Palestinians leaders incited terror attacks that killed or wounded approximately one out of every 800 Israelis, attempting to force Israel to accept indefensible borders.
Even when Palestinian leaders accept the continuing existence of Israel, they demand the “right of return” of millions of “refugees” which would ensure that Israel not remain a Jewish state. All other refugee populations — including the Jews who were stateless for two millennia and the nearly one million Jews driven from Arab countries between 1948 and 1970 — build lives in their new homes and are soon no longer refugees. Critically, their descendants are never considered refugees. However, five million Palestinians who never lived one day in Israel cling to the designation “refugee” so that they can flood Israel and make it majority Palestinian, achieving the goal of destroying the Jewish State from within.
While war and terror have failed to destroy Israel, a new tactic has been disturbingly successful: rewrite history to remove any Jewish connection to the land.
Countless recent UN resolutions show the world is eager to help. Just last week 151 countries voted for a General Assembly resolution that “any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem were illegal and therefore null and void.” This resolution clearly purports to show that Israel has no right to Jerusalem. A year ago the infamous Security Council Resolution 2334 said all of East Jerusalem — including the Jewish Quarter and the site of the Temple Mount where the Temple stood and was the center of Jewish life for centuries — was declared to be “occupied Palestinian territory.” Of course, recent UN resolutions do not even refer to the Temple Mount; instead they only use the Muslim name, “Haram al-Sharif.” It is as if the Temple and the Temple Mount never existed.
Jerusalem has deeply profound significance in Judaism. It is not only the site of the Temple, but also where Abraham bound Isaac, and where Jews face while praying. Every Passover Seder concludes with “Next Year in Jerusalem!” Jerusalem has been the spiritual capital of Judaism for 3,000 years, yet resolution after resolution attempts to diminish its importance to Judaism and to Israel.
Jerusalem is not the only historic tie of the Jewish people to Israel that is being severed. This past July UNESCO declared that Hebron is a Palestinian World Heritage Site, even though it is where the Patriarch Abraham lived and the Tomb of the Patriarchs is found. In 2015 UNESCO declared that the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb were Muslim sites, not Jewish sites. One by one the connections of the Jewish people to Israel are being erased.
If one assumes that the Jewish people have no connection to Jerusalem, Hebron, or any of their holy and historic sites in Israel, why is the Jewish homeland in Israel? It could be in Kentucky. If that is what the world believes, why would the Palestinians compromise for peace? All they need to do is wait until the world completely forgets why the Jews are in Israel at all and resolves to give all the land to the Palestinians.
With increasing vigor, the United Nations has been leading the fight to delegitimize Israel by popularizing a vile revision of history that obliterates any connection of Judaism to Israel. That Jerusalem and its holy sites are Palestinian and predominantly Muslim has become the dominant narrative — until yesterday.
An American president has the largest bully pulpit in the world and an unparalleled ability to force the world to hear the truth.
President Trump spoke the truth: that Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.
In doing so, President Trump reaffirmed that Israel has the right to exist and will continue to exist as a Jewish homeland, and that the United States will not allow the world to reinvent history in order to delegitimize our ally. This tells Palestinian leaders that their campaign to convince the world that the Jewish homeland called Israel does not belong in the Middle East will fail. Faced with this difficult truth, meaningful negotiations become the best option. Peace never had a better chance.
Dr. Philip J. Rosenthal is the co-founder and president of Fastcase, Inc. (www.fastcase.com) and was the 2016 Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party nominee for Congress in the N.Y. 10th, the district that includes Wall Street and Ground Zero. To read more of his reports — Go Here Now.
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