Robert Danin of the Council on Foreign Relations was interviewed by BBC World News about the stalled peace process between the Palestinian Arabs and the State of Israel. His comments could be applied to anytime in the past 71 years.
He stated that the process was dead-ending, and that avenues forward were unclear, leading to despair on both sides. Although he was touted by the show’s hostess as being an expert in Middle Eastern affairs, and especially on the so-called peace process, his insight hardly calls for much expertise. With multiple wars between Israel and her Arab neighbors as well as two major intifadas (uprisings of Arabs in riotous insurrection), plus massive rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza, nobody would ever suggest for one moment that the history of that region for the past 71 years has been harmonious.
Further, the so-called “peace process” between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization that began in the nineties, known as the Oslo Accords, has not gone smoothly. The Palestinian Arabs have been offered incredibly open-handed deals by Israel four times in the last 20 years, with the prospect of their own state (with the requirement of course of recognizing Israel as a sovereign state), but each offer was deep-sixed by the peace-loving, flexible, and altruistic Palestinian Arab leadership.
As soon as this writer became an adult, thinking person, Jeremiah’s prophetic statement “Peace peace when there is no peace” defined my understanding of the endless negotiations between Israel and her neighbors, and the Arabs who insisted that Jews had illegally co-opted their homeland.
The peace process so-called has been given top priority by the world’s great powers, but this shift towards emphasis on peace has replaced more important priorities which were emphasized earlier in the twentieth century Zionist movement, namely the importance of Judaism to Western identity, the need for the Jewish people to have their suffering ameliorated by having their own sovereign state identity, and the historical relevance of the Jewish homeland.
These three elements comprise the integrity and truth inherent in the State of Israel, which integrity and truth should be the top priority for our country and the world. By affirming and defending Israel, we affirm and defend these values instead of looking for merely expedient “solutions.” Expedience is necessary and valid when it is used to implement higher principles and values.
President Trump this past week has taken a giant step towards restoring historical integrity, truth, and clarity to the Middle East by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and agreeing that the U.S. embassy would be moved there from Tel Aviv. Thus, he affirmed that from the U.S. point of view, the placement of the Jewish capital is not a matter of negotiation between Israel and the hostile allied Arabs of the PLO and Hamas.
In fact, Hamas has already and emphatically taken the very existence of the Jewish state off the table for any negotiations. Their agenda is based on total destruction for Israel. Their goal of destruction is written into their charter. Thus, life for Israel and the dignity of humanity must affirm just the opposite view from that espoused by Hamas. Just as their non-negotiable assumption is that Jews must be annihilated, we must affirm life for the Jews, the dignity of the individual, and the legality of the Jewish state. As a simple formula, negativity and hate must be countered by greater positivity and love.
The Jewish people and their great moral leadership began with the forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, continued thousands of years through the kings and prophets, included the giving of the Moral Law to Moses, was sustained miraculously by the Maccabees and the Hasmoneans after revolting against Antiochus IV, and culminated in Jesus the Messiah and his Jewish followers who brought a universal message of salvation and hope to the world.
First, there is nothing more normal than having the capital of Israel in Jerusalem, while there is something highly abnormal about having the capital of Palestine as Jerusalem. Signs of pro-Palestinian Arab protestors in New York City insisted that Jerusalem belonged to them as their capital.
There is only one problem with this, namely that only a sovereign country can have a capital city, and the Palestinian Arabs do not live and never have lived in a sovereign country that has legitimate, recognized boundaries and receives ambassadors. Thus, by process of elimination, since only one of the negotiating parties in the peace process is a sovereign country, that country gets to have a capital city and the other does not.
Second, President Trump has taken a step to free the United States from the so-called peace process. That process has become a diplomatic tar baby and we have become like Brer Rabbit. Every time Brer Rabbit would hit the tar baby, he would become more and more sticky and soon he became impaled by the immoveable yet sticky “opponent.”
We need to re-affirm the obvious, namely that we are first and foremost Israel’s friend, and that it is not a friendship that depends upon their moving forward in the peace process under orders from the U.S. or any other allies. Rather, it is a friendship and alliance based upon integrity and truth. It is based upon an historical connection with the Jewish people through the Bible, consistent cooperation between the U.S. and Israel in a common struggle against lawlessness and terror, a common commitment to the rights of man (i.e., life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness), and a love for learning and expanding the frontiers of human knowledge and creativity.
Third, by making this latest decision, President Trump is normalizing the miracle that is the re-creation of the State of Israel. Only after multiple attacks by its neighbors did Israel in 1967, nineteen years after its re-creation in 1948, regain control of its historical and spiritual capital, Jerusalem. Is it anything short of a miracle that after 2000 years a country in its integrity should be restored to the original inhabitants? Even the survival of the Jews as an identifiable socio-religious ethnicity for these thousands of years is itself a miracle.
The other Biblical peoples of ancient times are now defunct. These include the Phoenicians, Amorites, Amalekites, Edomites, Moabites, Philistines, Assyrians, Samaritans, and the Babylonians. Divine Providence has kept the Jewish people alive and identifiable whether they be from Morocco, Iran, Ethiopia, or Russia. It is a unity that is ontological, that is, at the level of being. They are able to relate and to organize themselves based on a deep sense of connection rooted in a common destiny, an identity coded for social unity despite respect for a wide array of opinions.
Jerusalem is the crown jewel of Israel’s survival and identity. That survival and identity cannot be fully explained naturalistically, but instead is evidence of God’s power, faithfulness, and love for the Jewish people. Israel’s re-creation is a miracle, and Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem is politically normalizing that miracle.