Category Archives: Jerusalem

Move the US Embassy to Jerusalem

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Since 1993, residents of New York City have had a sister city in Israel named Jerusalem.  On December 5, 1949, the Israeli government declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and on January 23, 1950, the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, proclaimed that Jerusalem was and had always been the capital of Israel.

Everyone understands that the city of Jerusalem is holy to three religions, and there are conflicting claims to it by two peoples.  But the historical evidence confirms the forthright Knesset declaration.  David made Jerusalem the capital of his kingdom in 1003 B.C. and it remained so for 400 years until the kingdom was conquered by the Babylonians.  After Jews had returned from the Babylonian exile in 538 B.C., Jerusalem again became the capital of the Jewish people.  During the Muslim rule over the area, Jerusalem never became the capital of a Muslim state, or even became a distinct province.

Between 1922 and 1948, the city did become the center of political power during the British Mandate as Jerusalem became the seat of the British high commissioner.

The U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181, the partition resolution, of  November 29, 1947 that proposed the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state in Palestine, also proposed that Jerusalem become a separate entity, corpus separatum, a special administrative regime separate from either state and administered by an agency of the United Nations.

Thanks to the war resulting from the invasion of Arab armies into the state of Israel, on the day of its creation on May 14, 1948, Jerusalem became a divided city, with barbed wire.  The Old City was annexed by Jordan, while the western section became the Israeli capital.  Israeli citizens and all Jews of other states were denied access to holy sites in the area controlled by Jordan.  In April 1950, Jordan declared that it had annexed the West Bank and Jerusalem, an annexation that was supported only by the U.K. and Pakistan.

As a result of the six-day June 1967 war, the city was reunited under Israeli administration.  Since 1967, Jerusalem has been a united city administered by Israel.  Israel, on June 27, 1967, extended legal and administrative jurisdiction to the whole area and expanded the municipal borders of the city.  The Knesset passed the Protection of the Holy Places law granting special status to the holy sites.

The Israeli Basic Law of July 1980 affirmed Jerusalem, “complete and united”  as the capital of the country.  It promised protection of the holy places and free access to them.

In 1990, the U.S. Congress unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 106, which declares that Congress strongly believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected.  A Senate Concurrent Resolution 113 in 1992 reaffirmed that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city.

The U.S. Congress on October 23, 1995, by overwhelming majorities in both chambers, passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act to initiate and fund the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  It made clear that every sovereign state, under international law and custom, may designate its own capital, and that since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.  Congress asserted that the city is the seat of judicial, legislative, and executive institutions.  In addition, it is the site of social and cultural institutions and the spiritual center of Judaism.  Moreover, Jerusalem has never been the capital of any state other than Israel.

The 1995 act stated that State Department funds could be withheld if the embassy was to not moved by May 31, 1999.  But the law also provided for “presidential waiver,” allowing presidents not to implement it, and this has continued in spite of a congressional attempt in 2009 to remove the waiver.

The act was never implemented partly for fear of antagonizing the Arab world and partly because U.S. presidents have regarded it as congressional infringement on the executive’s constitutional authority over foreign policy.

It is time for the president of the U.S. to act positively.  Countries choose particular places as their capitals for different reasons.  The place may be dominant, as Berlin was in German unification in the 19th century.  It may be a political compromise, as were Washington, D.C.; Canberra; and Ottawa.  It may be shared, as in the Union of South Africa, where four colonies had political functions, and in the Netherlands, where functions are shared between Amsterdam and the Hague.

Israel has a right to choose its capital, and it is only political machinations that prevent this from being accepted internationally.  Thirteen countries had embassies in Jerusalem until U.N. Security Council Resolution 478 of August 20, 1980, which was passed by 14-0 with the U.S., in which Jimmy Carter was then president, abstaining, which condemned Israel’s Basic Law of July 1980 on Jerusalem as null and void.  The resolution held that the Basic Law, that the city was to be the complete and united capital, was a violation of international law.

The resolution called on all established diplomatic missions in Jerusalem to withdraw.  The immediate comment of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was that the U.S. abstention in this “inane resolution” meant that the U.S. had allied itself with the enemies of Israel.

The 13 countries that had embassies then withdrew them.  The only country to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is El Salvador.

The problem remains because of intransigent Palestinian and Arab opposition.  Jordan has a stake in the issue since it is the official custodian of the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount.  It is laughable that Saed Erekat, the Palestinian negotiator who never negotiates, says that if the U.S. Embassy is moved, the PLO will withdraw its recognition of Israel, and that would destroy the nonexistent peace process.

Interestingly, on January 3, 2017, three members of the U.S. Senate, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Dean Heller, proposed the move of the embassy and suggested that State Department funds be withheld until the move was made from Hayarkon street in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, perhaps to the existing U.S.  consulate there.

The U.S. move will not inflame the “Arab street,” wherever that is located, nor is it giving in to Israeli extremists.  The U.S. ambassadors in Arab countries will not be expelled from them.  It is absurd to argue, as Secretary John Kerry did, that an “absolute explosion” will occur not only in the West Bank, but in the whole Middle East if the embassy is moved.

Two changes in U.S. policy and law are essential.  The first concerns the U.S. Supreme Court, which should overturn the decision of Zivotofsky v. Kerry, decided on June 8, 2015.  Congress in September 2002 had passed a law that an American citizen born in Jerusalem must list Israel as the place of birth.  However, the Court ruled 6-3 that the U.S. president has the exclusive power to recognize foreign states, and so Congress may not require and cannot force the government to issue passports calling Jerusalem part of Israel.  The late Justice Scalia, dissenting, argued that Congress does have the power to recognize foreign nations because it can regulate commerce with those countries.

President Obama’s defiance of an act of Congress in foreign affairs was reconfirmed when, at the memorial for Shimon Peres in September 2016, he dropped the reference to “Jerusalem, Israel” as the location of the ceremony.

It is now incumbent on President Donald Trump to recognize reality and agree to move the embassy.  He recognizes the stark reality that the State of Israel, like all other countries, has decided on the location of its capital.  It would be a symbolic gesture of major importance to agree with decision of the only friend the U.S. has in the Middle East.

UN to declare Israel an ‘occupying power’ in Jerusalem

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UNESCO, the U.N. agency charged with protecting cultural treasures, passed a resolution that declares Israel an “occupying power” in Jerusalem while refusing to recognize Temple Mount and other Jewish holy sites as legitimate.

The resolution is expected to be approved by the UNESCO executive committee later this month.

Washington Times:

The U.S. and some European nations fought the resolution but were easily outmuscled by Russia, China and Middle Eastern and developing nations. Opponents were also hindered by two dozen countries that refused to vote at all, delivering victory to Israel’s critics in committee. A final vote by the UNESCO executive committee is slated for later this month.

“One-sided anti-Israel resolutions have been a recurring challenge at UNESCO in recent years,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in Washington, decrying the latest version, which Israeli newspapers reported passed by a 24-6 vote.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the decision “absurd,” while members of the U.S. Congress said the resolution embarrassed the international body, whose formal name is the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

“To declare that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or that Egypt has no connection to the Pyramids,” Mr. Netanyahu told the Reuters news agency.

“This insanity shows that Israel’s adversaries are willing to go to any lengths to denigrate our ally,” added Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican. “Not only does the U.N. pretend that there is moral equivalency between Israeli citizens and Palestinian terrorists, UNESCO goes out of its way to insult Israel.”

Donald Trump, the GOP presidential nominee, said he’ll insist on Jerusalem getting recognition as Israel’s capital by moving the U.S. embassy there. And he said the Obama administration hasn’t done enough to defend the city’s place in Jewish history.

“In a Trump Administration, Israel will have a true, loyal and lasting friend in the United States of America,” Mr. Trump said in a statement.

Submitted by a handful of Middle Eastern nations, the draft resolution affirms the Old City of Jerusalem’s place in “the three monotheistic religions” of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But the resolution then details a long list of grievances, accusing Israel of hindering Muslim worshippers’ access to their holy sites and looking the other way as Israelis provoke Palestinians in both Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

This is nothing less than a denial of history.  Palestinians routinely deny archeologists access to important digs to prevent anyone from proving that the Jews were in Jerusalem before Muslims.  They deny that “Temple Mount” even exists by referring to the site as “al-Aqsa Mosque/al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary).”

And then the Arabs had the gall to claim that the stated aim of the text was “the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Palestine and the distinctive character of East Jerusalem.”

One Israeli minister referred to the resolution as “delusional”:

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Unesco was ignoring “thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem” and aiding “Islamist terror”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a Facebook post that Unesco had become a “theatre of the absurd” in taking “another delusional decision”.

“To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or that Egypt has no connection to the pyramids. By this absurd decision, Unesco has lost what little legitimacy it had left.”

Well put, Mr. Prime Minister.

It’s amazing how far the U.N. will go to demonstrate its anti-Semitic character.  Denying history and reality, the Palestinians and their allies won’t be satisfied until everything Jewish in Israel is sanitized or wiped off the earth.

 

Why does UNESCO Insist On Rewriting Israel’s History?

“UNESCO ignores the unique Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, the site of two temples for 1,000 years, and the place to which Jews prayed for thousands of years,” Netanyahu said in a statement last month.

No one should be surprised by UNESCO’s resolution, passed April 11th, yet politicians across the spectrum in Israel have reacted angrily towards a UN organization that has catapulted itself into the complicated political quagmire that is the Middle East.  After all, Yair Lapid expressed the outrage by explaining how the most recent decision goes against UNESCO’s charter.

“This resolution was an utterly irresponsible intervention in one of the most complex places in the Middle East. UNESCO prides itself on promoting tolerance, interfaith and intercultural dialogue, yet it passes resolutions which erase the Jewish people from the historical narrative,” Lapid said.

The resolution in question takes Israel to task for preventing Muslim access to the Temple Mount and even the Kotel. These two sites, holy to Jews around the world are named as Muslim/Palestinian holy sites Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif and Buraq Plaza.

The resolution at one point says:

Further deplores the Israeli decision to approve a plan to build a two-line cable car system in East Jerusalem and the so called ‘Liba House’ project in the Old City of Jerusalem as well as the construction of the so called ‘Kedem Center’, a visitor centre near the southern wall of the Mosque, the construction of the Strauss Building and the project of the elevator in Al Buraq Plaza ‘Western Wall Plaza’ and urges Israel, the Occupying Power, to renounce the above-mentioned projects and to stop the construction works in conformity with its obligations under the relevant UNESCO conventions, resolutions and decisions.”

Another paragraph states:

Calls on Israel, the Occupying Power, to stop violations against the Waqf properties east and south of Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif, such as the recent confiscations of parts of Al Youssefeyah cemetery and Al-Sawanah area by banning Muslims from burying their dead in some spaces and by planting Jewish fake graves in other spaces of the Muslim cemeteries, in addition to the dramatic change of the status and distinctive character of the Umayyad Palaces, in particular the violation of the continued conversion of many Islamic and Byzantine remains into the so-called Jewish ritual baths or into Jewish prayer places.”

With this sort of language, the government has essentially lost control of a process that began a long time ago.  The process of international delegitimization began by an Arab world seeking the help of other UN member states, has systematically attempted to erase Jewish history in Israel for the sole purpose of rendering Israel’s existence just one long occupation based on historical fabrications.

The question isn’t why the Arab world is engaging in such profuse insanity, but rather why is the rest of the Western world going along with it?  After all, by supporting UNESCO’s denial the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount or even most of the Land of Israel, many countries in the Christian world have in fact undermined the roots to their own history. So why the rush to support such erroneous claims by the Islamic countries pushing these sorts of resolution?

In his book 1984 George Orwell penned what has now become one of his most famous quotes: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” The UN and its associated organizations like UNESCO understand full well that history supports Jewish claims in their entirety to all of the Land of Israel.  More than this, history shows that is was not only the Roman Empire and later the Byzantines that contributed to the injustices of the Jewish people in their historic homeland, but the Arab world by and large finished off through forced colonizationwhatever fledgling community of Jews remained in the Land of Israel.

Dr. Harry Mandelbaum noted the following in an article he wrote for Think Israel:

  • The historian James Parker wrote: “During the first century after the Arab conquest [670-740 CE], the caliph and governors of Syria and the Holy Land ruled entirely over Christian and Jewish subjects. Apart from the Bedouin in the earliest days, the only Arabs west of the Jordan were the garrisons.”
  • In year 985 the Arab writer Muqaddasi complained: “the mosque is empty of worshipers… The Jews constitute the majority of Jerusalem’s population” (The entire city of Jerusalem had only one mosque?).
  • In 1377, Ibn Khaldun, one of the most creditable Arab historians, wrote: “Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel extended over 1400 years… It was the Jews who implanted the culture and customs of the permanent settlement”

These are uncomfortable facts if you are trying to paint the opposite picture.

In order to perpetrate a future dismantling of the 3rd Jewish Commonwealth in its historic boundaries, the claims of the Jewish people must be returned to the realm of myth.  Does this in fact cut away at the roots of Christianity?  It does, but Constantine through the Council of Nicea in 325 showed that he and the Church were perfectly comfortable in doing away with Christianity’s roots by reworking history and projecting that rebuilt history back onto the past.

UNESCO is in a sense doing what the Council of Nicea did centuries ago; attempting to permanently control the future by controlling the past.  The irony is that today’s Church has by and large made peace with the idea that the Judaism serves as their religion’s roots.  Despite this acceptance, their overtures to the Jewish people came about precisely because of the Jewish Nation’s return to its historic homeland, which destroyed one of the major tenets of early Church philosophy known as the wandering Jew.

The assumption by the Church, was the exile of the Jewish Nation came about due to a rejection of Jesus, proving covenant between the Jews and the Almighty to be null and void.  According to the Church this exile would continue forever.  Aurelius Prudentius Clemens said as far back as 400 CE: “From place to place the homeless Jew wanders in ever-shifting exile, since the time when he was torn from the abode of his fathers and has been suffering the penalty for murder, and having stained his hands with the blood of Christ whom he denied, paying the price of sin.” The Church was forced to dismantle this tenet upon the Jewish people’s return.  By reversing this sort of doctrine, the Church is essentially accepting the veracity of the Mosaic covenant.

Supporting UNESCO or at least remaining silent stems from the inherent need to deny a national connection the Holy Land for the Jewish people. For the world, this history, the history of the Nation of Israel and its connection to its land has become a burden. After all, it is far easier to deal with the Jewish burden than the Muslim one and perhaps, just perhaps that tenet of the wandering Jew, so vital to the Church and many Christian theologians, will be reinstated in a very careful way.

The nefariousness of all of this is of course obvious, but what is perhaps more telling is that the Israeli government has assumed this is just some sort of mistake or lack of knowledge. It isn’t, and the faster it understands this, the faster it can start pushing back successfully.

David Mark is founder of www.IsraelRising.com. He is a land of Israel activist and an advocate for the indigenous right of the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland, which includes reclaiming Jewish property in historically Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem. He lives south of Hebron,