The Israeli flag flies over the Old City of Jerusalem
Just like the Palestinians and their supporters simply can’t help themselves but resort to violence whenever a political decision is not anti-Israel enough, similarly the UN, the EU, and many other countries, whether civilised or not, feel it incumbent upon them to condemn Israel or the US or both if an action or statement is undertaken from which Israel benefits.
The case of Donald Trump’s Jerusalem declaration was no exception. We could have written the script ourselves.
The UN convened an emergency discussion to “debate”, i.e. to condemn, Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital:
Washington’s move left it isolated as one after another fellow UN Security Council members — Russia, France, the UK, China, Egypt, Jordan and a host of others — condemned the announcement.
The debate unfolded at a largely symbolic emergency meeting of the council — no vote on a resolution was planned, as the US has veto power — two days after Trump reversed two decades of US policy on the holy city.
The meeting was convened by eight of the 14 non-US members of the council. It seemed a vivid show of the discord triggered by Trump’s announcement, which included plans to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Asked what he expected to come from the UN meeting, one diplomat said: “Nothing.” Another said the session would show US “isolation” on the issue.
That very attitude is the essence of what is wrong with the UN. They are all about empty declarations on the one hand, or about rejectionism – opposing the US and Israel almost automatically. This time it is the US in the hot seat, being isolated for its views. More often it is Israel in this position.
Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour spoke of the “global consensus” against Washington’s recognition and said Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and ultimately move the US embassy there should be reconsidered and rescinded.
Palestinian envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour at the UN Security Council, December 8, 2017 (United Nations)
“There can be no just and lasting solution to the Palestine question without a just solution” to Jerusalem, he said, calling the city “the heart of Palestine.”
This is a flat-out lie. When Jerusalem was in the hands of “Palestine”, aka Jordan, during the years 1949-1967, the Jordanian Arabs (or Palestinians or whatever they want to call themselves) did absolutely zilch for Jerusalem besides emptying it of Jews in a horrific act of ethnic-cleansing never acknowledged by the world. They destroyed 58 synagogues and turned the Western Wall into a rubbish dump. They severely damaged and partially destroyed the ancient, 3,000 year old Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, using some gravestones for latrines. THIS is called “being the heart of Palestine”??? I hate to think what their brain looks like. Their mendaciousness is beneath contempt.
Even before the UN debate, individual countries also chided him for his recognition of reality. Sweden led the charge with the demand for the UN debate:
Replies came thick and fast, for example:
Turkey accused Trump of “putting the region in a ring of fire”. The only “ring of fire” is the one of their own making. Again: violence is a choice. The Turks don’t HAVE to whip up their streets into a frenzy. They could also call for calm and restraint. But pigs could also fly.
Erdogan had earlier threatened to sever diplomatic ties with Israel if the president recognized Jerusalem as the capital.
To be honest I did not realise that Turkey and Israel had renewed relations at all. Would it be such a great loss if Erdogan carried through on his threat? He is forever trying to hold Israel hostage to his tantrums. Maybe it’s time to call his bluff.
Theresa May at the debate in the Commons about Trump’s declaration
Britain said Trump’s declaration was “unhelpful”. The British would know all about being unhelpful in the Middle East, particularly during the infamous White Paper years of 1939-1948 when the doors of Palestine were shut to the fleeing Jews of Europe. Prime Minister Theresa May said:
‘Our position on the status of Jerusalem has been clear and long-standing: it should be determined in negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states.
As Arlene Kushner below remarks, the two parts of the above paragraph contradict each other. Either Jerusalem’s status should be determined in negotiations, or it should ultimately be a shared capital. But there is no point in negotiations if the “ultimate” solution is pre-determined. And if if it is OK to determine that the capital should be shared, it can equally be acceptable to pre-determine that it is the Israeli capital.
France’s Emanuel Macron urged Trump to desist from his declaration – to no avail evidently.
Even the US State Department itself has not caught up with the statements of its President, and is still not listing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital!
The United States still will not formally recognize Jerusalem as being located in Israel on official documents, maps, and passports, despite President Donald Trump’s announcement earlier this week that America is formally recognizing the holy city as Israel’s capital, according to State Department officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about the matter.
Despite Trump’s declaration, which was formally codified on Wednesday into U.S. policy, the State Department is taking a more nuanced position on the matter, drawing some ire in Congress among pro-Israel lawmakers who accuse the State Department of undermining Trump’s efforts.
State Department officials this week had difficulty stating as fact that Jerusalem is located within Israel, instead trying to parse the issue as still subject to diplomatic negotiations.
State Department officials who spoke to the Free Beacon about the situation said that while it supports Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, it is not yet at the point where it will list Jerusalem as part of Israel on passports, maps, and official documents. This means that official documents, such as passports, will not, at this point, list “Jerusalem, Israel” as a place that exists.
The State Department’s careful parsing of the issue has already drawn outrage on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers are describing this as part of an effort to undermine the Trump White House’s clear-cut declaration on the matter.
Arlene Kushner sums up the situation excellently when she writes that the world is crazy:, making note of the pretzel-logic needed to explain the EU’s position: (last emphases are mine):
But look at the line-up that includes: France, Germany, Sweden, Italy and the UK, as well as the EU, Russia, etc. etc.
Incredibly, EU foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini declared that the Trump declaration “has the potential to send us backward to even darker times than the ones we are already living in.”
There is an inherent lack of logic in the position routinely embraced by these nations and the EU: They insist that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is premature because this issue must be resolved via negotiations. And besides, they insist, Jerusalem must be the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state.
That is to say, they have no trouble prematurely advancing a scenario that has not been determined via negotiations, as long as it is their scenario.
Thank goodness for the breath of fresh air that is US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. She launched a blistering attack on the UN that was condemning the President, accusing it of causing more damage to Middle East peace than advancing it.
UN Watch brings us the full text of her speech:
“Thank you, Mr. President. The Jewish people are a patient people. Throughout three thousand years of civilization, foreign conquest, exile, and return, Jerusalem has remained their spiritual home. For nearly 70 years, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel, despite many attempts by others to deny that reality.
The American people are less patient. In 1948, the United States was the first nation to recognize the independent state of Israel. In 1995, the U.S. Congress declared that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel, and that the U.S. Embassy should be located in Jerusalem.
Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama all agreed with that position, but they did not act. They delayed, in the hopes that a peace process would produce results – results that never came.
For 22 years, the American people have overwhelmingly supported that position, and they have waited . . . and waited. This week, President Trump finally made the decision to no longer deny the will of the American people…
Israel, like all nations, has the right to determine its capital city. Jerusalem is the home of Israel’s parliament, president, prime minister, Supreme Court, and many of its ministries.
It is simple common sense that foreign embassies be located there. In virtually every country in the world, U.S. embassies are located in the host country’s capital city. Israel should be no different.
The United States took this step in full knowledge that it will raise questions and concerns. Our actions are intended to help advance the cause of peace. We must recognize that peace is advanced, not set back, when all parties are honest with each other. Our actions reflected an honest assessment of reality.
I understand the concern members have in calling this session. Change is hard. But we should never doubt what the truth can do. We should never doubt that when we face the truth, believe in the human spirit, and encourage each other, that peace can happen.
To those who have good faith concerns about the future of peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, let me again assure you that the President and this administration remain committed to the peace process.
To those who do not act in good faith – to any person, leader, country, or terrorist group that uses this week’s decision as a pretext for violence – you are only showing yourselves to be unfit partners of peace.
Finally, I will not let this moment pass without a comment about the United Nations itself. Over many years, the United Nations has outrageously been of the world’s foremost centers of hostility towards Israel.
The U.N. has done much more to damage the prospects for Middle East peace than to advance them. We will not be a party to that. The United States no longer stands by when Israel is unfairly attacked in the United Nations. And the United States will not be lectured to by countries that lack any credibility when it comes to treating both Israelis and Palestinians fairly.”
Once again, kol hakavod to Nikki Haley who is not afraid to speak truth to power and put the UN in its place. Let’s hope her words start to sink in and begin to have an effect.
Binyamin Netanyahu, on a trip to Paris, was not backwards in coming forward to counter French Prime Minister Emanuel Macron’s pleas to Trump to refrain from his declaration:
Prime Minister Netanyahu ridiculed continued opposition to President Trump’s declaration, and the ongoing refusal of most of the international community to acknowledge the reality that Jerusalem is and has been the Jewish capital city.
“There is an effort, continually, in UN forums – UNESCO, and elsewhere – to deny the millennial connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem. And that’s absurd.”
“You can read it in a very fine book – it’s called the Bible,” Netanyahu said. “You can read it after the Bible. You can hear it in the history of Jewish communities throughout our diaspora – ‘Next year in Jerusalem’,” continued Netanyahu, referencing a phrase from the Passover Seder.
“Where else is the capital of Israel, but in Jerusalem? Where is our Knesset – our parliament? Where is our supreme court? The seat of our government? The Prime Minister’s Office? The President’s Office? It’s not in Beer Sheva, it’s not in Ashdod – these are wonderful cities, but its in Jerusalem.”
And there has been other positive fallout from Trump’s declaration. A few countries have expressed their interest in moving their embassies to Jerusaelm too:
The Phillipines sent a message to Israel:
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte sent a message to Israel that he wanted to move his country’s embassy to the capital, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported Wednesday.
The Czech Republic too, always a good friend of Israel, is similarly weighing up an embassy move, and Hungary joined in:
The Czech Republic and Hungary have broken ranks with the European Union on President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the EuObserver reported this week. Czech president Milos Zeman on Thursday announced: “[Trump’s decision] makes me truly happy […] We may, sooner or later, follow the United States.”
Both countries refused to endorse the EU’s statement that was going to express “serious concern” on the part of the entire organization of states. As a result, the statement was issued only by the EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.
Just imagine a day in the not too distant future when it will be simply a matter of course for countries to have their embassies in Jerusalem. They should be brave like the Czechs and Phillipines, and give it a go. I’m sure the sky will not fall in.