Middle East expert discusses new merger between US Embassy and PA Consulate in Jerusalem

by Leah Rosenberg

There are many reasons why the movement of the US Embassy to Jerusalem is a positive move. One of the most important aspects of the move is that it shows the Arabs that the United States recognizes the entire Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Dr. Keidar explains that symbols are very important to the Arab people. So, it is not just a matter of practicality. It is a very symbolic move. Practically, the movement of the Embassy hasn’t changed that much. But, it is a symbolic knockout.

Jerusalem as a Symbol of The Heart of Israel

If there is one example of how implacable the idea of a peace process is between Israel and it’s neighbors, it is the issue of Jerusalem. The entire book, O Jerusalem, a history of the conflict during the War of Independence, with a special focus on Jerusalem, gives over the essential feelings of both sides on this matter. From a military perspective, there was no good reason for the fledgling Jewish State to continue to insist on holding on to Jerusalem. It was surrounded on all sides. It was not a critical city. Israel could have withdrawn into it’s other population centers near the coast, and not insisted on fighting through the mountainous areas outside of the City. However, Israel, under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion, and the urging of his political nemesis, Menachem Begin, insisted that the young country not give up on Jerusalem.

This strategy proved costly, but effective. One does not give up on the heart of one’s connection to the Land of Israel. What drew so much of the centuries-old attraction of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel was the dream of one day rebuilding Jerusalem. The idea of a State without Jerusalem was so hard to stomach that many were willing to sacrifice their lives in order to hold onto Jerusalem. In the end, the city was split for 19 years during the Jordanian occupation. But since 1967, the city has become unified under the State of Israel. It’s about time that the United States and the rest of the world finally recognize what was self-apparent to every Jew in the Land of Israel for decades.

Dr. Risch

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