Netanyahu likens Trump’s Jerusalem speech to Israel’s founding
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday called US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital one of the key milestones in the Jewish state’s history, comparing it to several monumental past events.
“There are major moments in the history of Zionism: the Balfour Declaration, the founding of the state, the liberation of Jerusalem and Trump’s announcement yesterday,” Netanyahu said in a video posted to social media.
“I told him: ‘My friend the president, you are going to make history.’ Yesterday, he made history,” Netanyahu added.
The prime minister said Trump’s decision was embraced by Israelis of all stripes, paraphrasing a famous biblical verse to invoke the Jewish people’s long-held emotional attachment to the city.
“This is a festive and unifying moment, for the right, the left, religious, secular,” he said. “We are making Jerusalem our chief joy.”
Netanyahu, who has been effusive in his praise of the US president’s decision, spoke three times with Trump in the days before the speech, discussing with him the “importance” of him recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a well-placed Israel source said.
Netanyahu stressed to Trump that the status quo on the Temple Mount will be preserved, the source said.
Briefing reporters about the international reactions to Trump’s dramatic declaration Wednesday, the source said that the responses from Central and Eastern European countries, as expected, were “measured.”
“Israel’s problem is focused on Western European countries, which can be seen also from their reactions to President’s Trump statement,” the source said.
But Jerusalem was unfazed by such responses, the source added. “Israel is acting in several other international arenas, creating new relationships in Latin America, Asia and Africa in order to pursue its agenda.”
Netanyahu is due to fly to the “lion’s den” in Paris and Brussels early next week to confront Western European positions toward Israel, the source said. He is scheduled to meet French President Emmanuel Macron, as well as European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and all 28 foreign ministers of EU member states.
On Thursday, the Foreign Ministry hit back at Mogherini over her criticism of Trump’s move, saying continued rejection of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would harm chances for peace.
Speaking earlier in the day, Mogherini had said Trump’s “announcement has the potential to send us backwards to even darker times than the ones we are already living in,” reiterating the EU’s policy that Jerusalem should be the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state.
She also called for “an even stronger engagement for peace” during “this difficult moment” and said the bloc will now “engage even more with the parties and with our regional and international partners” in the pursuit of a peace deal.
The Foreign Ministry’s response termed her remarks “bizarre.”
“The insistence that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel is a denial of an indisputable historical fact,” it said. “Any denial of this simple truth distances peace by creating expectations among the Palestinians that are divorced from reality.
“President Trump took a courageous and just step that advances the chance for peace by speaking the truth,” it added. (the Times of Israel)
Palestinians riot in West Bank, Gaza as tempers flare over Jerusalem
Protests erupted across the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip on Thursday, as Palestinians raged against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a speech the previous day.
At various locations around the West Bank and Gaza hundreds of Palestinians held demonstrations against the move, setting fires, chanting and clashing with troops.
Demonstrators also burned posters of US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Israeli and American flags.
Dozens of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were reported injured, mostly from tear gas inhalation and Israeli rubber bullets, but also some from live rounds.
On Thursday, Hamas terror group leader Ismail Haniyeh called for a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising. The Palestinian Authority canceled classes for its West Bank school system for Thursday, in an apparent attempt to get more young Palestinians to clash with Israeli troops. Shops were shuttered to begin three “days of rage” over Trump’s decision.
In light of a “situational assessment by the IDF General Staff,” that army said it “decided that a number of battalions will reinforce the area of [the West Bank], as well as combat intelligence and territorial defense units.”
The military would not specify the number of additional battalions being sent in the West Bank as reinforcements.
On Wednesday, the Israel Police also announced that it would be deploying officers throughout the capital, including sites where violence regularly breaks out, like the Old City’s Damascus Gate, where a demonstration was taking place Thursday.
Clashes in Gaza, West Bank, Jerusalem
Palestinians in the southern Gaza Strip, near the cities of Rafah and Khan Younis, rolled burning tires and threw rocks at the security fence and the Israeli troops on the other side of it, the army said.
The Israeli soldiers initially responded with tear gas and rubber bullets to push the demonstrators back. When “main instigators” continued advancing toward the fence, the troops fired warning shots in the air and when they continued, the soldiers shot live rounds at them, injuring several, an IDF spokesperson said.
Palestinian media reported that four rioters sustained gunshot wounds.
In Bethlehem, hundreds of Palestinians squared off against dozens of Border Police officers, separated from each other by a long stretch of empty road.
The protesters threw rocks and set tires ablaze. Israeli troops, in full riot gear, used a water cannon that shoots a foul-smelling liquid — known as “the Skunk” — at the mostly masked demonstrators and also occasionally fired rubber bullets toward the crowd.
The ground near the clash was littered with thrown rocks and other detritus, and the air was filled with smoke from Israeli tear gas and Palestinian tire fires.
One Palestinian in Bethlehem was injured by a rubber bullet, and five others were treated for tear gas inhalation, the Red Crescent said.
A large demonstration was also held in the West Bank city of Ramallah, which is the seat of the Palestinian Authority government. Channel 10 news reported that some of those in the crowd called for torching the offices of US representatives in the city and burned photos of Trump.
According to the Red Crescent, four of the rioters there were hit by live rounds and two by rubber bullets. Three suffered from tear gas inhalation.
In the city of Tulkarem, eight Palestinian protesters were hit by rubber bullets and 11 were treated for tear gas inhalation, the Palestinian ambulance service said.
Israel closed the Gilboa Crossing in the northern West Bank after Palestinians threw rocks at it during a violent demonstration, the Defense Ministry said.
“The reopening of the crossing will be dependent upon situational assessments,” the ministry added.
Small clashes were also reported in the cities of Nablus and Qalqilya.
Outside the Damascus Gate of the Old City in Jerusalem over a hundred protesters scuffled with security forces, mostly nonviolently save for some light pushing and shoving. There were no reports of injuries or arrests.
In the Shuafat refugee camp, one person was hit by a rubber bullet during a violent demonstration there, the Red Crescent said.
Between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails a road near the Israeli West Bank city of Ma’ale Adumim, causing no injuries or damage. Border Police in the area arrested 10 suspects, the report said.
Rioters also threw Molotov cocktails and stones at Israeli cars on a road near the West Bank village of Rantis, outside Ramallah. There were no reports of injuries.
Also on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, several thousand Palestinians marched in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, burning US and Israeli flags while chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”
Setting the ground for protests
In a Wednesday address from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.
Trump also said the United States would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, though he set no timetable for that.
Furious Palestinian leaders in the Fatah-controlled West Bank had responded to Trump’s speech with outrage, declaring that the United States could no longer serve as Middle East peace broker.
The Palestine Liberation Organization announced a general strike in protest across the West Bank, shutting schools and businesses.
Trump’s announcement upturns decades of precedent and runs counter to international consensus, with no other country currently taking the same stance.
Jerusalem’s status is among the most difficult issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the US traditional position has been that it must be negotiated between the two sides.
While Israel has always considered Jerusalem its capital, with the prime minister’s office and parliament building located there, countries have avoided recognizing it as such to prevent damaging hopes for a two-state solution.
The Palestinians see the eastern sector of the city as the capital of their future state. (the Times of Israel)
Netanyahu: More countries plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
Israel is talking with more countries about recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.
His announcement comes as the UN Security Council in New York prepares to hold a meeting in New York to discuss US President Donald Trump’s decision Wednesday to officially recognize Jerusalem and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“I would like to announce that we are already in contact with other countries which will issue a similar recognition,” Netanyahu said at the Foreign Ministry’s Digital Diplomacy Conference in Jerusalem.
He lauded Trump’s decision explaining that he had earned himself “an eternal role” in Jerusalem’s history and the annals of the Jewish people.
“Yesterday was a momentous day, an important one,” Netanyahu said. “Jerusalem has an extraordinary history and over the millennium, you can cite a few significant milestones, yesterday’s statement by President Trump is such a milestone.”
Netanyahu added he had no doubt that once the US embassy is relocated to Jerusalem and even before, other countries would follow suit.
Trump made history on Wednesday when he recognized that Jerusalem was Israel’s capital, almost 70 years after the United States voted in the United Nations to accept Israel as a member state.
But until this year, no country recognized Jerusalem as the country’s capital and none of them have embassies in the city, which is Israel’s seat of government, even though their leaders and diplomats frequently visit and hold meetings in Jerusalem.
In the spring, Russia became the first country to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but limited that recognition to the western part of the city.
On Wednesday night, in an unusual move, the Czech Republic broke ranks with the European Union which prefers to act as a bloc, and issued a similar endorsement. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praises ‘historic’ Trump decision on Jerusalem
“The Czech Republic currently, before the peace between Israel and Palestine is signed, recognizes Jerusalem to be in fact the capital of Israel in the borders of the demarcation line from 1967,” the Czech Foreign Ministry said on its web page.
“The Czech Republic together with other EU member states, following the EU Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions, considers Jerusalem to be future capital of both states, meaning the State of Israel and the future State of Palestine,” it said.
But relocating the embassy could occur “only based on results of negotiations with key partners in the region and in the world,” the Czech Foreign Ministry said.
Trump also did not mean his endorsement to include all portions of the city, but he refrained from limiting it to the ceasefire line from the Six Day War.
From the country’s creation in 1948 until the Six Day War in June 1967, Jerusalem was a divided city, with Jordan controlling the eastern section.
The entire city has been in Israel’s hands since the Six Day War, but the international community, including the US, does not recognize Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem.
The status of Jerusalem is one of the core issues that is expected to be resolved in a final status agreement for a two-state solution.
The Palestinians hold that east Jerusalem is the capital of their future state.
The EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Trump’s decision was harmful to the peace process, a statement which was endorsed by the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Great Britain and Germany.
France, Bolivia, Egypt, Italy, Senegal, Sweden, Britain and Uruguay, have asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to publicly brief the Security Council on the issue this Friday. (Jerusalem Post)
World leaders warn peace process doomed after Trump announcement
World leaders warned that US President Donald Trump may have doomed the peace process and called for calm in the wake of violent threats from the Arab world.
“The EU calls on all actors on the ground and in the wider region to show calm and restraint in order to prevent any escalation,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said.
The EU is concerned about the “repercussions this may have on the prospect of peace,” she said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also expressed concern in New York.
“I have consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians,” Guterres said.
“I understand the deep attachment that Jerusalem holds in the hearts of so many people. It has been so for centuries and it will always be. In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear: there is no alternative to the two-state solution. There is no Plan B,” Guterres said.
At the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on Wednesday in the country’s capital, UN Special Representative to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said, “we all have to be very careful with the actions that we take.”
France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, also called the decision “regrettable” and said the status of Jerusalem was not for one country to decide, but a matter of international security, of consensus and of law.
The administration’s closest allies in the Arab world, on which it based its upcoming Mideast peace initiative, strongly condemned the move. Egypt said it refused to recognize it and warned of grave consequences. Turkey threatened to sever ties with Israel, and the State Department’s office for embassy security warned of planned protests in all of Turkey’s major cities.
From the Vatican, Pope Francis said, “I wish to make a heartfelt appeal to ensure that everyone is committed to respecting the status quo of the city, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.
“Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, where the holy places for the respective religions are venerated, and it has a special vocation to peace,” he added.
British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke against the decision at the parliament, and Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn attacked the move on Twitter as “a reckless threat to peace.”
The British prime minister characterized the move as “unhelpful” to the prospects for peace in the region.
“We disagree with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement,” May said. “The British Embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it.”
“We encourage the US administration to now bring forward detailed proposals for an Israel-Palestinian settlement,” she added. “To have the best chances of success, the peace process must be conducted in an atmosphere free from violence. We call on all parties to work together to maintain calm.”
US special envoy Jason Greenblatt, however, tweeted in support of Trump, stating: “No matter how certain parties react, we will continue to be hard at work putting together our peace plan to benefit all parties.” (Jerusalem Post)
IDF retaliates to three rockets fired at Israel by striking Hamas targets
The IDF confirmed it struck two Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said. The strikes came in response to three missiles launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel earlier in the evening.
Two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip fell inside the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and did not reach Israeli territory, but set off rocket sirens in the Hof Ashkelon and Sha’ar HaNegev regional councils, as well as the city of Sdreot.
A Jihadist Salafi group in Gaza called the Al-Tawheed Brigades – which does not heed the call from the enclave’s dominant force, Hamas, to desist from firing rockets – claimed responsibility for the first two launches.
Israel holds Hamas responsible for all activity happening in the Gaza Strip.
A third rocket, of unconfirmed origins, was fired toward Israel and landed in Israeli territory in an open area, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit confirmed. Since the rocket did not approach an urban center it did not set off rocket sirens in the Negev communities near the Gaza Strip.
The IDF confirmed the use of a tank and an IAF aircraft to strike Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
Gaza residents said there were no casualties from the Israeli attack and that two unmanned lookout posts were hit.
The day after US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was marked by Palestinian protests across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, resulting in the closure of the Gilboa Crossing in the West Bank. (Jerusalem Post)
With operational F-35 jets, Israel claims complete regional air superiority
A year after the advanced stealth jet first touched down in the country, the commander of the Israel Air Force Brig.-Gen. Amikam Norkin announced on Wednesday that the integration and training period for the jet has finished.
“The announcement of the operationalization of the Adir aircraft comes at a time in which the IAF is operating on a large scale on a number of fronts in a dynamic Middle East,” Norkin said, adding that the jets will allow Israel to confront the “constantly evolving and complex challenges” in the Middle East.
After years of developing the most expensive plane in history, the jet is expected to be used for long-range missions and will, according to senior Israeli officials, provide complete air superiority in the region for the next 40 years.
With an extremely low radar signature, the F-35 is able to operate undetected deep inside enemy territory such as Iran as well as evade advanced missile defense systems like the advanced Russian- made S-300 missile defense system, which Tehran announced in March had become operational.
Built by Lockheed Martin, the planes are being purchased as part of the military aid agreement between the US and Israel.
In the first deal, Israel purchased 19 F-35s at a cost of $125 million, while in a second deal of 14 jets, Jerusalem will pay $112m. per plane. The cost of the plane is expected to drop to around $80m. in the coming years.
The jet was designed to the country’s own specifications and will be embedded with Israeli-made electronic warfare pods as well as Israeli weaponry, all set to be installed once the planes arrive.
The Israeli F-35s have components built by several local defense companies including Israel Aerospace Industries who produced the outer wings, Elbit Systems-Cyclone that built the center fuselage composite components and Elbit Systems Ltd., which manufactured the helmets worn by the pilots.
Israel is also the only partner nation to have secured the rights from the US to perform depot-level maintenance, including overhauling engines and airframe components, within its borders.
The IAF, which currently has nine F-35s, is expected to receive a total of 50 planes to make two full squadrons by 2024.
It’s believed that the country is still considering to acquire F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing jets. According to Lockheed Martin, the B variant “is designed to operate from austere bases and a range of air-capable ships near frontline combat zones. It can also take off and land conventionally from longer runways on major bases.”
This could be crucial at times of war when air force bases – and particularly runways – run the risk of being targeted by enemy missiles and rockets. (Jerusalem Post)
Why Trump is right in recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
by Alan Dershowitz J Wire
President Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a perfect response to President Obama’s benighted decision to change American policy by engineering the United Nations Security Council Resolution declaring Judaism’s holiest places in Jerusalem to be occupied territory and a “flagrant violation under international law.”
It was President Obama who changed the status quo and made peace more difficult, by handing the Palestinians enormous leverage in future negotiations and disincentivising them from making a compromised peace.
It had long been American foreign policy to veto any one-sided Security Council resolutions that declared Judaism’s holiest places to be illegally occupied. Obama’s decision to change that policy was not based on American interests or in the interests of peace. It was done out of personal revenge against Prime Minister Netanyahu and an act of pique by the outgoing president.
It was also designed improperly to tie the hands of President-elect Trump. President Trump is doing the right thing by telling the United Nations that the United States now rejects the one-sided U.N. Security Council Resolution.
So if there is any change to the status quo, let the blame lie where it should be: at the hands of President Obama for his cowardly decision to wait until he was a lame-duck president to get even with Prime Minister Netanyahu. President Trump deserves praise for restoring balance in negotiations with Israel and the Palestinians. It was President Obama who made peace more difficult. It was President Trump who made it more feasible again.
The outrageously one-sided Security Council Resolution declared that “any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem,” have “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” This means, among other things, that Israel’s decision to build a plaza for prayer at the Western Wall — Judaism’s holiest site — constitutes a “flagrant violation of international law.” This resolution was, therefore, not limited to settlements in the West Bank, as the Obama administration later claimed in a bait-and-switch. The resolution applied equally to the very heart of Israel.
Before June 4, 1967, Jews were forbidden from praying at the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site. They were forbidden to attend classes at the Hebrew University at Mt. Scopus, which had been opened in 1925 and was supported by Albert Einstein. Jews could not seek medical care at the Hadassah Hospital on Mt. Scopus, which had treated Jews and Arabs alike since 1918. Jews could not live in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, where their forbearers had built homes and synagogues for thousands of years. These Judenrein prohibitions were enacted by Jordan, which had captured by military force these Jewish areas during Israel’s War of Independence, in 1948, and had illegally occupied the entire West Bank, which the United Nations had set aside for an Arab state. When the Jordanian government occupied these historic Jewish sites, they destroyed all the remnants of Judaism, including synagogues, schools and cemeteries, whose headstones they used for urinals. Between 1948 and 1967, the United Nations did not offer a single resolution condemning this Jordanian occupation and cultural devastation.
When Israel retook these areas in a defensive war that Jordan started by shelling civilian homes in West Jerusalem, and opened them up as places where Jews could pray, study, receive medical treatment and live, the United States took the official position that it would not recognise Israel’s legitimate claims to Jewish Jerusalem.
It stated that the status of Jerusalem, including these newly liberated areas, would be left open to final negotiations and that the status quo would remain in place. That is the official rationale for why the United States refused to recognise any part of Jerusalem, including West Jerusalem, as part of Israel. That is why the United States refused to allow an American citizen born in any part of Jerusalem to put the words “Jerusalem, Israel” on his or her passport as their place of birth.
But even that historic status quo was changed with President Obama’s unjustified decision not to veto the Security Council Resolution from last December. The United Nations all of a sudden determined that, subject to any further negotiations and agreements, the Jewish areas of Jerusalem recaptured from Jordan in 1967 are not part of Israel. Instead, they were territories being illegally occupied by Israel, and any building in these areas — including places for prayer at the Western Wall, access roads to Mt. Scopus, and synagogues in the historic Jewish Quarter — “constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” If that indeed is the new status quo, then what incentives do the Palestinians have to enter negotiations? And if they were to do so, they could use these Jewish areas to extort unreasonable concessions from Israel, for which these now “illegally occupied” areas are sacred and nonnegotiable.
President Obama’s refusal to veto this one-sided resolution was a deliberate ploy to tie the hands of his successors, the consequence of which was to make it far more difficult for his successors to encourage the Palestinians to accept Israel’s offer to negotiate with no preconditions. No future president can undo this pernicious agreement, since a veto not cast can never be retroactively cast. And a resolution once enacted cannot be rescinded unless there is a majority vote against it, with no veto by any of its permanent members, which include Russia and China, who would be sure to veto any attempt to undo this resolution.
President Trump’s decision to officially recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital helps to restore the appropriate balance. It demonstrates that the United States does not accept the Judenrein effects of this bigoted resolution on historic Jewish areas of Jerusalem, which were forbidden to Jews. The prior refusal of the United States to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was based explicitly on the notion that nothing should be done to change the status quo of that city, holy to three religions. But the Security Council Resolution did exactly that: It changed the status quo by declaring Israel’s de facto presence on these Jewish holy sites to be a “flagrant violation under international law” that “the U.N. will not recognise.”
Since virtually everyone in the international community acknowledges that any reasonable peace would recognise Israel’s legitimate claims to these and other areas in Jerusalem, there is no reason for allowing the U.N. Resolution to make criminals out of every Jew or Israeli who sets foot on these historically Jewish areas. (Ironically, President Obama prayed at what he regarded as the illegally occupied Western Wall.)
After the UN, at the urging of President Obama, made it a continuing international crime for there to be any Israeli presence in disputed areas of Jerusalem, including areas whose Jewish provenance is beyond dispute, President Trump was right to untie his own hands and to undo the damage wrought by his predecessor. Some have argued that the United States should not recognise Jerusalem because it will stimulate violence by Arab terrorists. No American decision should ever be influenced by the threat of violence. Terrorists should not have a veto over American policy. If the United States were to give in to threat of violence, it would only incentivize others to threaten violence in response to any peace plan.
So let’s praise President Trump for doing the right thing by undoing the wrong thing President Obama did at the end of his presidency
This year, in Jerusalem
Editorial from the Washington Times
For once, Donald Trump’s taste for all-capital letters makes the right point with blunt precision: “Jerusalem IS Israel’s capital: I will move our embassy there AND make peace with the Palestinians.” Making peace with people who don’t want peace is always difficult, when it’s not impossible, but the president promises to soldier on.
“Today we finally acknowledge the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” he said Wednesday. “This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality.”
Reality is a hard sell in certain precincts of the Middle East, where “hating the Jews” is all that’s expected of a leader. The nations of the West, foremost among them the United States, usually go along with the fiction that there is an authentic appetite for lasting peace, that all it would take to find it is to devise the right “process.” But processed peace is not peace. Everyone knows that’s true, but it’s impolitic to question the cliche.
The usual voices are saying the usual things in the wake of Mr. Trump’s announcement, which had been expected for days and even weeks. This move, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “reflects the President’s commitment to an ancient but enduring truth, to fulfilling his promises and to advancing peace.” He called the decision an important step toward peace because “there is no peace that doesn’t include Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” Conservatives and Republicans in the United States generally approve, liberals and Democrats generally don’t. But the president got some unusual bipartisan support from friends of Israel.
The U.S. Senate’s top Democrat, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, tells the Weekly Standard magazine that he urged the president to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided capital,” arguing that doing so would “show the world that the United States definitively acknowledges Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.”
Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the leading Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the magazine Monday that “I believe that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, so to me that’s not news. He said the president’s announcement should “advance Israel’s security and peace in the region.”
The Muslim world is predictably in high dudgeon. When is it not? Hamas, the Palestinian terror organization that is occasionally treated as if it were a respectable, civilized player in the game, says Mr. Trump “has opened the gates of hell.” (Hamas and Kim Jong-un apparently share the same writer, with an appetite for the same red-hot rhetoric.) Pope Francis, who never misses an opportunity to dabble where dabbling is neither necessary nor useful, repeats the usual boilerplate about the fragility of “the peace process.”
The usual Democratic senators are eager to take counsel of their manifold fears and to pay tribute to the peace-process cliche. Cory Booker of New Jersey says both the capital and the embassy should be “part of a larger peace process.” Dianne Feinstein, who sometimes says useful things, retreats this time to the comfort of the cliche. “Relocating our embassy to Jerusalem will spark violence and embolden extremists,” she says, as if she hasn’t noticed that the extremists are hard at work now plotting death and mayhem on the innocent. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut says he wants to “hear the rationale for [moving the embassy] now.”
President Trump gave it to him and to whomever wants to hear it. “While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise,” he rightly says, “they failed to deliver. Today I am delivering. When I came into office I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking.”
And so he has. “This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It is something that has to be done.”