Jerusalem – Israel’s Capital – And, We Mean It

Posted on August 6, 2009 In Blog

The Jerusalem Post‘s Herb Keinon, today, provides a pointed analysis of the current debates and politics surrounding Israel’s sovereignty and activities in Jerusalem.

Keinon’s key takeaway lines are these:

For the past 40 years, scores of Israeli politicians have been talking about Israel’s 3,000-year-old link to Jerusalem and how the city must remain Israel’s undivided capital forever. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke that way for years, especially when he was mayor of the city. But then he became prime minister, changed his tone and – by his own in admission – was willing to compromise on Jerusalem… In other words, there has long been a dissonance between Israeli slogans on Jerusalem and the country’s negotiating position regarding the city.

Talk to foreign diplomats and they will tell you, with absolute sincerity, that the Arabs will never, ever compromise on Jerusalem, not in a million years. The Jews, they believe, will compromise. And their expectations are not unfounded: a quick glance at diplomacy over the last 10 years shows that premise to be true. Ehud Barak was willing to make Israeli concessions to the Palestinians regarding Jerusalem at Camp David and Taba, and Olmert was willing to do the same during his conversations with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Netanyahu… seems to be made of different stuff on Jerusalem. When he says the city will be the undivided capital of Israel, he – apparently – means it.

While those – in the Arab world, Europe or elsewhere – who seek to redivide Jerusalem will continue to press their case, we must continue to educate the public at large of the deep Jewish connection to the holy city and that most Jews, in Israel, the United States and elsewhere, oppose the holy city’s redivision.

There are history lessons to be taught too. And Marty Peretz does an outstanding job of that today at The New Republic.

The effort must continue.