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Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem – Max Singer (BESA)

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Nov. 21, 2016

Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem – Max Singer (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

  • The U.S. State Department understands very well that any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians will leave at least western Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and part of sovereign Israel. But the foreign policy establishment continues to insist that because Jerusalem’s ultimate status can only be determined by agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, it would be wrong for the U.S. to “prejudge” the outcome by acting on the truth that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem.
  • The State Department’s insistence on the diplomatic fiction that none of Jerusalem is part of Israel helps preserve the Palestinian hope that, someday, Israel will be forced to give up its capital. That Palestinian hope is the main obstacle to peace. The Palestinians can only make peace when their community comes to understand that international pressure will never force Israel to acquiesce in its own destruction.
  • The Palestinian leadership now tells its people that compromise with Israel would be immoral because Israel is a colonial invader that stole Palestinian land by force. But Israel is descended from Jewish kingdoms that ruled parts of the land for centuries in ancient times. It also has legal claims from the League of Nations mandate.
  • The U.S. may not be able to induce the Palestinian Authority to stop inciting its constituents and teaching its children to hate Israel. But there are ways in which the U.S. can expose and eventually defeat Palestinian lies that work against peace.
  • If the U.S. consistently tells the truth about the ancient Jewish presence in Palestine, and publicly refuses to swallow the Palestinians’ false denials of history, the Palestinian leadership will not be able to keep the truth from their people.
  • The U.S. has followed a policy of avoiding truths that are painful or embarrassing to the Arabs for at least 50 years. It hasn’t worked. Maybe it is time to try the strategy of telling the truth. Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, in accordance with the long-standing congressional position, would be a good way to make a start on a truth-telling strategy.

    The writer is co-founder of the Washington-based Hudson Institute.

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