'Jerusalem, Israel' has a nice embassy-sounding ring to it
The recent announced decision by President Trump formally designating Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel has generated a storm of protest, mainly from left-leaning American groups and newspapers, as well as predominantly Muslim countries. Setting aside for a moment whatever one might think of the president in general, his action in this particular case deserves some thoughtful consideration.
First, and perhaps most important, this action is a reflection of the legislative process of our government. The decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the proper location of our embassy was made by our elected representatives on October 24, 1995. By overwhelming majorities – 91% in the House of Representatives and 95% in the Senate, our Congress officially demanded that the action be taken as soon as possible. However, the executive branch has, every six months since then, delayed the implementation of the move until now.
The political events leading up to the formal decision by our legislators is not widely recognized by our media and populace in general. The State of Israel was formally recognized by the United Nations in 1947, with implementation set for May of 1948. The size of the new state was a mere fraction of what had been designated by the United Kingdom in its formal splitting of the territories in the jurisdiction of their mandate, set at the conclusion of World War I. Despite the disappointment caused by this rendering, the Jews, who had been living in the region for centuries, accepted the terms of the U.N. decision. The Arabs in the region did not. Immediately upon British departure from the area, on May 15, 1948, forces of Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt stormed into the new State of Israel from all sides, bent on military conquest and complete removal of its Jewish inhabitants. To the surprise of the world, the State of Israel succeeded in defending its borders and repulsing the multi-front attack.
Twice more, in 1967 and 1973, Israel's neighbors instigated military assaults on Israel; each time, they failed. Most notably, in the 1967 conflict, it was Jordan that precipitated the attack on the Israeli section of Jerusalem, resulting in the rout of the Jordanian army that followed. Ever since, the Arab governments have demanded a return to the "pre-1967 borders," with the presumption that it was the Israelis who precipitated the military action.
Just for a moment, suppose that the Arabs had been successful in their military adventures and had ousted the Israelis from their sliver of land. Does any logical person think the Arab governments would then be amenable to "peace talks" in order to re-stake the boundaries in the region? Why should any aggressor nations who attempted to steal land by military action be given the opportunity to claim that land by diplomatic means?
The Israelis, to their credit, unilaterally returned lands in the Sinai to the Egyptians and made other concessions to the Jordanians in order to facilitate formal recognition by these governments. The Arabs living in "the West Bank," Judea and Samaria, now want formal recognition with no offer of diplomatic resolution, only the threat of more vicious terror and plunder, for which they have become internationally known.
One possible solution that gets little notice in the press is repatriation. Jews from all over the world have, for decades, been repatriated to Israel. They have been welcomed from the United States, Europe, Asia, and even Africa, at Israel's expense. These new citizens have contributed greatly to the country's phenomenal advances in science, medicine, and agriculture.
These same human assets are available to the Arab countries. These nations, many of them mired in the feudalism of the twelfth century, have countless millions of acres of potentially arable land and endless wealth and are remarkably under-populated. Yet the "Palestinians," as they are called, are persona non grata in most of these nations. Jordan, from which many of these unfortunates originated, has unceremoniously expelled more than 20,000 in recent decades. Beirut displaced more than 30,000 in 2007. Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Libya ejected over 100,000 in 1994. Perhaps most notably, Kuwait, one of the wealthiest of the Arab countries, forcibly deported more than 200,000 Palestinians in 1991.
All of these Arab countries could become self-sufficient, and even net exporters of food and other products, with the aid of this huge potential labor pool. The technology for developing arid regions into resourceful ones is available. It may well be that because the advances were made largely in Israel, they are distasteful to the leaders of the Arab countries. But that is hardly reason to dismiss them. Until the Arab countries accept their responsibility for the Palestinian problem, there is no reason to place the blame for the current unrest on the government of Israel.
Israel has shown itself to be a positive contributor to world sustenance and health. Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish State, has been since 1948, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. It deserves recognition as such by the world's community of nations.