Jerusalem Must Stay a United City
Donald Trump’s wavering in response to a question about whether he would consider Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest city, the undivided capital of Israel brings to light Arab pressure to designate the eastern sector of the historic of the historic city as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
As the Republican frontrunner in the 2016 presidential race, the New York real estate titan’s perspective on Jerusalem, a biblical city with a re-established Jewish majority since 18050, is pivotal for Jews. The JN is steadfast in its belief that Jerusalem must stay united although provisions could be made for some Arab autonomy in predominantly Palestinian neighborhoods. Unity came when Israel won its 1967 war against Arab forces.
Speaking Dec. 3 before the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington, Trump refrained from taking a position whether Jerusalem should be divided between Israel and the Palestinian Authority if it meant helping their decades-long conflict. That revealing stance later became lost amid Trump’s outrageous assertion that all Muslims should be banned temporarily from entering the U.S. in the wake of increased fears about terrorists infiltrating Syrian refugee pools.
Making a Case
On Dec. 4, the Zionist Organization of America issued a concise and unapologetic statement about the Jewish people’s indisputable claim to the city that has maintained a Jewish presence for 3,000 years.
Israel holds what the ZOA called a “legal, historical and moral right to its own undivided capital.” Jewish holy places, like the Western Wall, the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives, are located in the Arab-dominated eastern sector. Hebrew University and the Jewish National Library are also there.
During Muslims Jordan’s illegal occupation of east Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967, Jews and Christians faced violence and vitriol as well as religious restriction if not persecution. Under Israeli sovereignty, Jews, Christians and Muslims alike are free to worship.
Staking a Claim
As for Israel’s legal right to what Israeli poet Naomi Shemer described as “Jerusalem of Gold” in Israel’s unofficial second anthem Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, the ZOA points to Jerusalem being part of the territory earmarked for a Jewish homeland in 1920 at the San Remo Conference, which drafted the League of Nations Charter.
The San Remo Resolution, passed by the Supreme Allied Powers recognized that Great Britain was granted the British Mandate in what was then called Palestine to establish a Jewish homeland – a “sacred trust in civilization” according to the League of Nations. The San Remo’s documents recognizing the Jewish people’s rights have never been superseded by an internationally biding agreement.
It goes without saying a divided Jerusalem would jeopardize Israel by giving Palestinian terrorists easier access to Jewish holy sites, heavily Jewish west Jerusalem and central Israel.
What’s more, the Jewish Embassy Act, passed by Congress in 1995 recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital and mandated the U.S. embassy be moved there from Tel Aviv. Only a presidential waiver since then has stalled the long – overdue move.
The Act holds that “Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected” and that “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.”
Donald Trump’s waffling not withstanding, Jerusalem clearly is, and should remain the indivisible capital of Israel and the Jewish people.
This article was published by the Detroit Jewish News.