AIJAC welcomes the announcement by the US Trump Administration yesterday that it will correct a historic injustice by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and begin the process of moving the US Embassy to the city.
It is simply unconscionable that Israel is the only nation in the world that is effectively disallowed from choosing its own capital, even though Jerusalem has been the Jewish state’s capital since 1950, and the Knesset and other key buildings were built in the western part of the city that is undisputed.
At a time when there is a campaign underway by the Palestinians and their supporters to re-write history and deny all Jewish links to the city in resolutions passed in both UNESCO and the UN General Assembly, it is both common sense and basic decency for states to recognise what the reality is – Jerusalem simply is and has been Israel’s capital. No serious peace plan has ever been proposed which would see Jerusalem cease to be Israel’s capital in future.
Moreover, as President Trump’s measured and careful speech announcing the policy change made clear, there is absolutely no reason why recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital should pre-empt Israeli-Palestinian negotiations about the city’s future or borders, including the possibility the city could serve as the capital of a Palestinian state, as well as Israel’s, under a negotiated peace deal.
Allowing the threat of violence by some Palestinian groups and others to veto such a move would essentially amount to caving into extremists and terrorists.
Given the current destructive Palestinian campaign to re-write Jerusalem’s history, and the failure of the Palestinian leadership to return to peace negotiations since 2014, there is surely a case for other nations to consider following the example of the US, Russia, Vanuatu and the Czech Republic in recognising Israel’s right to select its own capital. Such recognition not only helps correct an injustice and end a discriminatory situation, it is strongly arguable that it is a positive move for promoting a renewed two-state peace process.
Mark Leibler, AC
Dr. Colin Rubenstein, AM