It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. Israel is going through a rough political roller coaster. The win at the Eurovision gave Israel a much needed boost of morale. The song by Netta Barzilai “Toy”is ironically fitting; because Israel should not be the world’s political “toy.” President Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem goes beyond symbolic. It is an affirmation by the world’s leading nation that Israel is no one’s political punch bag. Jerusalem has always been the epicenter of Israel and the Jewish people; historically, politically, and biblically. What Berlin was to the Germans during the Cold War; Jerusalem is to the Israelis and Israel for millennia. After the Cold War nobody opposed the move of the German capital to Berlin; no protests ensued. Why isn’t Israel granted the same political courtesy and understanding?
Naftali Bennet, Israel’s Minister of Education and Diaspora opined succinctly that Israel has a right to self government and the inadvertent moving of embassies to Jerusalem (Stars & Stripes. 14 May, 2018). Prior to the 1967 Six-Day War, foreign embassies were located in Jerusalem. Even after the war, most of them remained there; until 1980. What was the catalyst that prompted or urged the world to abandon Jerusalem and move embassies to Tel Aviv? It was not for strategic, convenience, and definitely not religious reasons. It was purely political. The gradual shift from the rights of Israel and its autonomous existence to the support of a well marketed Palestinian “issue” is still an anomaly and hard to understand. The shift coincides with the slow emergence of ultra liberal political correct non-judgmental thinking that gave Arafat’s PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) credence in the 1990’s. The PLO eventually morphed into the Palestinian Authority (PA). Unfortunately, the PA walks hand in hand with Hamas; whose only objective is to obliterate Israel. Anti-Israel sentiment was further exacerbated by the United Nations (UN) and its Security Council. Not much security for Israel on that council. The UN made decisions that legitimized terrorists and gave them a platform to further develop a rift between the international community and Israel. The international community appointed themselves guardians of Israel’s right to self govern and to choose its capital. What other country has ever had its choice of capital questioned or disputed by the international community?
Naftali calls Jerusalem, especially East Jerusalem, the “Holy Basin” of Judaism. The biblical “hotspot” for Jews. Jerusalem is the City of David. It includes the Temple Mount, Mount of Olives, and the Western Wall. These are more than a “point of interest” on a tourist brochure. They are fundamental to Jewish identity. They belonged to the Jews before Christianity and Islam. Jerusalem was and has always been the significant destination for Jews. For far too long, global politics have gagged Israel into submission. Making Jerusalem a global “situation” and forbidding Israel from claiming its historical right to the city. Israel has no problem with the Palestinians: they have a problem with Israel.
Paraguay and Guatemala are following the US embassy’s move to Jerusalem. Other countries should follow suit. The fact that the US managed to vacate an embassy in Tel-Aviv and move to Jerusalem in less than five months is a feat worth mentioning. A perfect example of “where there is a will there’s a way”. To put everything in perspective: the Jerusalem Embassy Act was enacted in 1995 by the 104th US Congress. Three US presidents ignored it and found insidious comfort in playing political “nice” to appease the western elite. They repeated the all too familiar: moving the embassy to Jerusalem would deter peace. Peace for whom? The Palestinians? They do not want peace; they want Israel. There would be riots! Really? And that is different than usual how? By what I have observed, they have made a career out of rioting, or the current “in” word: “protesting”. The Palestinian authority rewards millions to families of suicide bombers. What an incentive to kill! I do not see the UN Security Council admonishing that.
Condemnation from the UN Security Council and several EU countries has made headlines. This also includes Turkey. Cannot make this up. Turkey; whose only mission in life is to kill Kurds. Erdogan has suddenly developed a” human rights” conscience. He gives thugs a bad name. It is too serious to be funny. For the past week, Palestinian riots across the border included burning tires, destroying electric and water resources, forbidding trucks carrying food to cross the border, and the all time favorite: throwing incendiaries at Israeli security forces. Hamas encouraged the riots and proudly displayed on social media rioters waving swastika-adorned Palestinian flags while shouting “death to the Jews”. If that is not bad enough; the Associated Press reported that Israel faces backlash for all the deaths in Gaza. Backlash? A legitimate country is attacked by outside forces bent on destroying it and it is vilified because it tries to defend itself? It is a page out of Bad Parenting 101: giving in to a brat hoping that he would stop his tantrums. Eventually parents find out that giving in does not stop the brat from throwing a tantrum; what it does is turn the brat into a thug. It is called “being played”. Even Egypt seems to have run out of patience and is helping Israel blockade borders. Maybe hard to believe; but not many Arab nations want thugs and terrorists on their doorsteps either. Go figure!
It is about time that the UN and the EU get a grip on reality and stop drinking the Kool-Aid. It is common knowledge that Hamas is behind these riots. As a matter of fact they owned up to the fact that most of those killed were their own. Hamas uses the Palestinian “issue” as a back door to attack and infiltrate Israel. The embassy move played right into their hands and they ingeniously used it as a diversion. I am not trying to downplay the deaths in Gaza. I am not giving violence a pass either. But anyone with an ounce of sense can see that the riots have very little to do with the embassy; and a lot about an opportunity for Hamas to infiltrate Israel at its weakest point. The Palestinians rioting are pawns in a dangerous rigged game for the sole purpose of destroying Israel.
Gaza is and always will remain the “hot poker” of the Middle East. The US Embassy move legitimized the Hamas organized riots. An Associated Press report (Stars & Stripes. 16 May, 2018) said that rights groups are convinced the use of potential lethal force against the “protesters” was unlawful; according to them the the IDF was not in any immediate threat. Meanwhile pictures and videos surfaced on social media showing “protesters” throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli soldiers. Obviously the Associated Press is using the wrong Thesaurus to describe “threat”. Eventually, “so shall this pass” as my mother used to say. But not before Israel is dragged through the proverbial political mud. A pity: because the world needs Israel. It is the only country in the Middle East where freedom and democracy is not only preached but practiced. Israel will prevail because Israel is resilient. It is fitting that right now an Israeli oath reverberates throughout my mind: Never Again! `
Bennet Naftali. May 14, 2018. Special to the Washington Post. Stars and Stripes. All embassies should be in Jerusalem.
Akram F., & Laub K. May 16, 2018. Associated Press. Stars and Stripes. Israel faces backlash after dozens killed in Gaza.