Guest Commentary: Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration Was Just Recognizing Reality
By Charlie Gerow
President Trump’s declaration didn’t make Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for more than 3,000 years.
King David made it so, not President Trump.
Not coincidentally, recent archaeological digs continue to unearth evidence of the accuracy of biblical accounts regarding King David and the Jewish people’s legitimate claim to their lands.
On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel. That same day, President Harry Truman recognized the new nation. Ben-Gurion named Jerusalem as its capital. This occurred three decades after the Balfour Declaration announced British support for “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.
Yet for the past 70 years, few nations have recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. How foreign governments believed they could deny a sovereign nation determining their capital is a question worth pondering.
It wasn’t pondering so much as pandering to a long-held fiction that maintained the status quo of the Israeli capital for seven decades.
All of which flew in the face of reality, a truth that Trump made clear when he said his decision was “a recognition of reality.”
The reality is that The Knesset, Israel’s unicameral national legislature, meets in Jerusalem. So does its Supreme Court. Israel’s president and prime minister live there.
More to the point, the U.S. Congress recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital more than 20 years ago. The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.
In the Senate the vote was 93-5. Only one Democrat voted against the bill. It passed the House 374-37, with more than 150 Democrats joining the majority Republicans.
The act called for the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by May 31, 1999. There was only one catch — a waiver provision that has kept the law unimplemented ever since. Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have all claimed the waiver. So did President Trump, in June and again last week.
What was different in Trump’s waiver is the clear declaration that the lengthy process of moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, where we already have a consulate, has finally begun. It wasn’t a precipitous move, as witnessed by the additional waiver, but a measured move and a promise kept.
The predictable howls and protests have ensued. How long they will last is in question.
Of course most of the violent protests come from those who deny the rightful existence of the nation of Israel in the first place. Hamas doesn’t like President Trump’s move? Big shock there.
Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to the violent destruction of Israel. Complaining about its capital is minor-league stuff for them.
What’s more troubling is those on the American political left who are criticizing the president’s move. Many of them have given both voice and vote in support of Jerusalem as Israel’s rightful capital. The hypocrisy of their new-found opposition is chilling.
The alleged “disruption of the peace process” is the cry most commonly heard from those folks.
How, exactly, has that peace process been coming along for lo these many years. Is following the 20-year-old law calling for the relocation of our embassy really going to upset that apple cart?
Isn’t it equally likely that if a brokered peace is to be had, that settling the question about Israel’s capital will break the logjam and allow Jerusalem to remain undivided with the access and freedoms the Israelis would allow to all in East Jerusalem?
The day after Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, then Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, in a Washington, D.C., speech told the world, “Jerusalem is the heart of the Jewish people. … We differ in our opinions, left and right. We disagree on the means and the objective.
“In Israel, we all agree on one issue: the wholeness of Jerusalem, the continuation of its existence as capital of the state of Israel. There are no two Jerusalems. There is only one Jerusalem … and there is no peace without Jerusalem.”
In the words of the Psalmist, let us all pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Charlie Gerow is the CEO of Quantum Communications which has a Maryland office in Annapolis. He can be reached at email@example.com.