Sunday, December 17, 2017

Europe should recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Ever since the foundation of the State of Israel, its authorities and citizens consider Jerusalem as their capital, while other countries use Tel Aviv as interim capital so that not to anger Arabs, some of whom have claims on Jerusalem.

In the distant 1995, the US Congress voted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli capital and ordering the US Embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Since then, three US Presidents have had their terms and none of them dared to implement the act. It needed to wait for Donald Trump to be implemented. He is widely regarded as crazy, and I dislike him, mostly because of his pro-Russian positions, but this act of him shows that even crazy rulers have their role in society.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu appealed to Europe to follow the American example, but European leaders refuse, at least for now. I think that they should absolutely support Israel and its right to name its capital. Especially after it was European countries that carried out the Holocaust. Unfortunately, it seems easier for the Europeans to shed crocodile tears for the Jews perished in the Holocaust than to support the surviving Jews and their state.

My prognosis is that Europeans will continue to make fools of themselves for some time, maybe several years, and then will quietly start to move their embassies to Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the Palestinian opponents of Israel are rioting and have already produced some victims. It is notable that the most violent protests are in Gaza, where there seems to be no other industry. In contrast, Arab residents of East Jerusalem are peaceful. The quote below is from an Atlantic report by Emma Green:

"Jerusalem—the political and geographical center of the debate—stayed relatively quiet... Palestinians in East Jerusalem have integrated with Israelis to a significant extent; they depend on Israel and its tourists for their livelihoods, so there’s a lot at stake if they decide to protest or strike... For his part, Abu Madhi says he wishes the Israeli government would make East Jerusalem a little nicer. “You’ve been to Tel Aviv sometimes?” he asked me. “Clean country, high-speed world, green trees.” He pointed to the Damascus Gate area. “Why shouldn’t we have here a garden, and here a basketball court? This thing that I prefer, the government could do.”... Eventually, a man brought a tarp out to the area near the Damascus Gate for the next round of prayers. More than 60 men lined up before the Old City, facing a row of cameras, a line of Israeli soldiers just behind them. This was the most peaceful form of protest—and the most normal thing in the world.... “Just one hour, and you’re going to see everything’s okay,” Abu Madhi said. “You’re going to see an Arabic man and a Jewish man sitting here.”"

Maybe now, as a resident of a capital gaining international recognition, Mr. Madhi has a higher chance to see new gardens and sport facilities.


Charles N. Steele said...

Good points. But on the tangential issue you raise, I don't think Trump is pro-Russian. Since entering office, he has authorized sales of deadly weapons to Ukraine for fighting Russians, increased sanctions on Russia, closed a Russian consulate and expelled its staff as spies, increased military support for the Baltics, convinced NATO members to increase their military spending (or at least say they will), authorized the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines and promoted hydraulic fracturing, promoted export of U.S. LNG to Central and eastern Europe, authorized military actions that destroyed one quarter of the operational air force of Russian ally Syria... and just the other day Secretary Tillerson outraged the Russians for his NYT op-ed condemning their cyber-attacks on the American political system. Every single one of those things is a reversal of Obama policy.

How is it, then, that Barack Obama (and by extension Hilliary Clinton) are still commonly said to be hardliners on Russia while Trump is allegedly pro-Russian? I cannot understand this at all.

Maya M said...

I praise Trump for giving Ukraine arms. However, he has done also less praiseworthy things, such as revealing to the Russians intelligence obtained from Israel. Also, his pro-Russian and anti-Nato rhetorics both before and after the elections, even if it were empty words, had a huge impact on Eastern Europe. This is a region that has always considered words important, and is located too close to Russia. The mood is gloomy, and even political forces that used to be strongly anti-Russian have now muted their voices, because they think America has given Russia a carte blanche.