Jerusalem: A commonsense decision, caught up in today’s hyperpartisan political scene

For decades, a unified, bipartisan voice has called for the United States embassy in Israel to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jeruslaum. Not only has it been on the agenda for both political parties for far too long, each of President Trump’s three most recent predecessors made campaign promises to rightfully recognize Jerusalem as the true capital of the state of Israel.

As far back as 1992, Bill Clinton unequivocally stated, “Jerusalem is still the capital of Israel and must remain an undivided city accessible to all.”

This sentiment was echoed by George W. Bush in 2000 “As soon as I take office, I will move the United States ambassador to the city Israel has chosen as its capital,” as well as then Senator Barack Obama in 2008, “I continue to say that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel. I have said that before and I will say it again.”

So one would think the President’s decision to finally fulfill this promise would be applauded by those on the left, right, and just about everywhere in between. Despite relative consistency and uniformity throughout the years by those who support the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, the general perception seems to be far from stable.

Unsurprisingly in this age of hyperpolarization, a genuinely positive policy move has been hijacked by partisans who are unwilling to give credit where credit is due. Unfortunately, the growing trend of blind partisanship and demagoguery makes it extremely difficult to work across the aisle and find commonsense solutions.

Critics of the move have claimed this decision will only make the Palestinian authority more hostile towards Israel, the United States, and any possible peace negotiations. What this viewpoint fails to account for is that it is impossible to jeopardize nonexistent peace negotiations, as the Palestinians have rejected meaningful negotiations time and time again.

Congressional candidate Jeremy Wynes (IL-10) said it best, “I’m encouraged to see another example of offensive, rather than defensive, diplomacy when it comes to our Middle East policy, recognizing facts on the ground and sending a clear message that the historic relationship between our country and Israel will not be blackmailed by threats of terror from those who have walked away from every peace offer and never taken ‘yes’ for an answer.”

The unfortunate truth is that at this time, there is simply no reason for American or international leaders to believe that the Palestinians will begin to take peace negotiations seriously. It is long overdue that the United States takes an unequivocal step of support in favor of the only side interested in finding a resolution in this conflict.

Moving forward, it’s essential that the United States continues to make our support undoubtedly clear for the state of Israel. If peace is ever to be found in the ever increasingly volatile Middle East, Israel will certainly be the catalyst for it.

About the Author
Jake Leahy is an elected member of the Bannockburn School District 106 Board of Education (IL). At just 18 years old, he is the youngest elected official in Illinois. He is also a small business owner and a student at the University of Illinois.
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