Let me be clear – I am not a flag-waving fan of the current President of the United States. His public pronouncements have generated a constant stream of criticism, derision and sheer dismay amongst a worryingly large number of Americans, both allies and enemies. However, he has rather surpassed himself on this occasion and it has taken some time for his famous announcement to sink in. In case you’ve been living under a stone for the last few days, he has recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, to the consternation of most of the rest of the world, jubilation in Israel and fury of the Palestinians. He has offered no reason for his decision, apart from vague references to ‘new thinking’.
The Palestinians are having hysterics about all this because, for the first time, a weapon of western complicity is now threatened. If the Jews are entitled to regard Jerusalem as Israel’s capital then it sets at naught the spurious Palestinian claim that Jerusalem is theirs, as is the whole of the land “from the river to the sea”. Their claim is based on two separate untruths. Firstly, the claim that “we were here first”. This sometimes gains traction with people in the West who can’t be bothered to learn a little history and it is, after all, a convenient untruth. Secondly the assertion that Jerusalem – of course holy to Jews and Christians – is also one of the most holy places in Islam is again a manifest falsehood. Al-Aqsa is no more the ‘furthest mosque’ than Finsbury Park and Islam was in its infancy when Mohammed decided that they should direct their prayer to the Ka’aba instead – thus in fact presenting their rumps to Al-Aqsa every Friday. The violence of the Palestinians’ reaction, the call for ‘days of rage’ ‘new intifada’ and so on simply underlines the fact that they’re not prepared to share Jerusalem with the Jews, in fact, their express purpose is to make the whole region Judenrein, exactly as happened in Gaza after the Gush Katif giveaway. This is entirely consistent with the Islamic belief that from Mohammed’s own sunnah he would “expel all the Jews and Christians from the Arabian peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim”. In other words, it is inconceivable to a pious Muslim that Israel itself exists, an affront to the Prophet’s own verbal testimony, despite the fact that he was probably referring to what he believed to be the peninsula – a coastal strip from what is now Jeddah down beyond the Yemeni border – Islam spreading to the south rather than the north. Yes, there will be violence and it would be naive to assume that incendiary threats will not be translated into action, they assuredly will. Appeasement, however, does nothing to prevent bloodshed, in fact it encourages more of it because the cause of the terror is religious fanaticism, no more and no less. Trump has not foreclosed any possibility of a Palestinian state, nor indeed the further possibility of Palestinian control over East Jerusalem, he has, in fact, simply stated the obvious. In the last few days, the Palestinians – or at least those determined to incite violence – have shown their hand beyond all doubt. Their fury at the endorsement of Jerusalem at all shows how much they depend on the west facilitating their strategy, reinforcing their politics of victimhood. There is a feedback loop between Palestinian violence and Western pressure for change; the more violence, the greater the outcry in the West and the greater the leverage against Israel; effectively, the Palestinians are trying to get the West to do their political dirty work for them. But no longer. In spite of the dismay of America’s allies, appeasement ended when Trump opened his mouth.
Of course, there will be those who simply wonder what all the fuss is about. The Knesset has been in Jerusalem since 1948 – it is therefore not unreasonable to suppose that the seat of government resides in the capital, along with many judicial and nationally important institutions, including the residences of the Prime Minister and the President. Far from the Israeli presence there being illegal, the Jews are the only people who are entitled to the city as a matter of international law, historical truth and natural justice. And yet, the rest of the world screams ‘foul’.
The West’s refusal to follow the American lead is small minded at best and malevolent at worst. By doing so, they genuflect to the men of violence who are attempting to prevent Israel from recognising and asserting its own capital city. If the Germans, for example, demanded that the British relocate their capital to Sheffield, it would be met with derision. What is more sinister is that by aligning themselves with the Palestinian view, the British, French, and Germans and others are saying that they don’t think the Jews have any right to Jerusalem either and it can be bargained away as easily as playing a hand of poker. Their argument rests on the belief that there can be no peace unless Jerusalem is negotiated away – the reverse is true. Trump is playing a card from the bottom of the deck; there will in fact not be peace until there is recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – an essential step. Unless, of course it is a Pax Romana, one that embraces capitulation, surrender, dhimmitude, conquest and ultimately, extermination. The Jews have been there before. Never again.