For The Record.
Let’s get this out of the way up front. The City of Jerusalem is a Holy City to two faiths, not three. The Old and New Testaments mention Jerusalem throughout. The City is firmly embedded, root and branch in Judaism and Christianity.
It is not mentioned in the Koran. Not once. Islam’s tenuous claim to Jerusalem is based on a single verse: He Who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haraam to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing. – Quran 17:1
Al-Aqsa refers to a mosque, ostensibly within the City of Jerusalem. To which Mohammed was traveled. Hundreds of miles in a single night. By riding a magic horse.
Look, I’m not here to disparage the cannon of another faith. Scientologists believe Aliens seeded humanity. And yes, I believe that the Almighty assumed human form and was born of a young woman who had yet sleep with her husband or any man for that matter.
The difference is clear. If you are understandably skeptical with respect to virgin birth, I’m not going to kill you. Or even try to have you arrested. Or accuse you of a so-called “hate crime.” Or attempt to shun you from polite society. In fact, I’m going to leave you alone. I’ll debate the merits, if you want, but if I fail to persuade you with reasoned discourse, I’ll just shrugged my shoulders and let it be.
Archeology and Lore.
The original founders of the Jerusalem are lost to antiquity. Archeological evidence indicates that Ophel, the original fortress, dates back as far as the Copper Age during the 4th Millennium B.C.E.
The Book of Genesis refers to Jerusalem in Chapter 14. Melchizedek, a Priest-King ruled the city. From his interactions with Abraham we extrapolate that the inhabitants of Jerusalem (referred to as “Salem” at the time) worshiped the same God that called forth the proto-Israelites from the city-state of Ur.
Centuries later, when King David conquered the city, it was (according to scripture) inhabited by the Jebusites, a Canaanite offshoot. With the city brought firmly in the orbit of David’s domains, the surviving Jebusites became indentured to the Children of Israel. Archeological evidence is inconclusive thus far, but I’ll go with the biblical account.
Are the Arabs living in Israel today the decedents of the Jebusites? Or any of the people identified in the Bible as Canaanites? No. No more so than anyone today can claim descent from the Hittites of Asia Minor after conquest by the Greeks, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, and Mongol Turks.
We would do well to dispense with some myths once and for all.
1. There is no such thing as a “Palestinian.”
Arab domination of Israel began during the late 11th Century C.E. passing from one imperial power to another for the next 800 years. The Arabs currently living in Israel are indistinguishable from ethic Syrians and Jordanians. World War I marked the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Thus, Arabs living in what is today Israel found themselves without a nation and without a cultural identity. In 1964, President Nasser of Egypt began calling them “Palestinians” in order use them as a bludgeon and an extortion tool against Israel. This mythology of this 2oth century construct has been effective. Even Israel’s defenders indulge her enemies and use the term.
2. There no such thing as the “West Bank.”
The Arabs lay an inexplicable claim to a large swath of the ancient Roman provinces of Judea and Samaria. It serves the enemies of Israel to refer to these as “Occupied Territories. A provably false assertion.
3. “Palestinians” suffer oppression in Israel.
Fact: Arabs in Israel benefit from more rights than any other nation-state in the Middle-East. Arabs hold Israeli citizenship and serve in the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament).
4. Moving the United States Embassy to Israel simply reflects reality.
The so-called two-state solution is a failure and the very idea should be scrapped by the United States once and for all. Since there are no “Palestinians,” there can be no “Palestinian State.” To pretend otherwise is to treat the Arabs living in Israel as children and legitimizes blackmail as tool of diplomacy.
Jerusalem Going Forward.
The U.S. decision to move it’s embassy to Jerusalem has been denounced as “reckless” by the usual suspects. Far too predicable of course. Both Hamas and Hezbollah have called for violent uprisings. President Erdogan of Turkey (a member of NATO and a supposed U.S. ally) has stated that moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem will “plunge the region into a ring of fire.” Maybe. And maybe it’s time for the West to see this through once and for all. We are clearly at a critical juncture with our foreign policy and the next months will test our resolve. A reasonable person might ask, what’s it to the rest of the world where Israel has it’s capital?
Living in fear of tantrums is no way to conduct foreign policy.