No recipe for peace between Israel and the Palestinians has ever called for the removal of the Israeli Parliament from Jerusalem, or the seat of the government or the Supreme Court. The western side of the city is Israel’s capital, there’s no challenge to that. The question is whether the city will be divided east from the Knesset, to create a second capital for a Palestinian state.
UN chief António Guterres confused the two points when he responded to Trump’s Jerusalem recognition, saying that “Jerusalem is a final status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations”. Jerusalem still is a final status issue, being Israel’s capital doesn’t change that.
Looks like there’s a lack of distinction between issues to be negotiated within a realm of peace-making, and claims that are well outside that realm. A clear example is the issue of the right of return: Since the return would bring about the demise of Israel, demanding it is a tool of enmity and continued competition, rather than subject for negotiations around the peace table.
Similarly, a party that denies a degree of basic rights from its foe, is not turning towards compromise. The Palestinian wholesale denial of Jewish connection to Jerusalem (an undeniable fact evident from the halls of the British Museum to every Jewish community around the world, no matter the denomination) — is indicative of a fantasy of grand victory, not of peaceful tendencies.
Who’s the victim of this illusion? The most recent one is UNESCO, which paid with budget, support and credibility for issuing bizarre, anti-historical resolutions stemming from political animosity unrelated to the organization’s mandate. But since the Palestinians are the ones suffering the most from a flawed status-quo, THEY are the main victims of its persistence.
There’s no justice in lies, no peace in wanting it all. Peacemakers like Guterres, for generations, have not helped the Palestinians heal from the catastrophic illusion that Israel is a foreign, unrooted entity bound to disappear with just some more patience. They continue to operate with enduring futility, within an unchanged, erroneous paradigm that claims that Israel, the strong party in the conflict, holds the key to its solution.
Perhaps the Secretary General could have been more instrumental joining the recognition of Israel’s capital, making it clear that the dream of peace can be achieved only between two parties that recognize each other’s rights.