When the incoming Trump administration spoke of the possibility of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem the Palestinians began making threats.
Hamas, the Islamic terrorist regime that controls the Gaza Strip, threatened a new upsurge of violence and terrorism by saying that the move would “open a new chapter of conflict” and “add fuel to the fire.”
Palestinian Authority diplomat Saeb Erekat said that the Palestine Liberation Organization, an entity that considers all of Israel an illegitimate country occupying “Palestine,” would revoke its 1993 decision to recognize the State of Israel.
This is an empty threat. They have never accepted the State of Israel. The PLO Charter still contains Article 2 stating that “Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.” The British Mandate stated that all of Palestine was to be the national home of the Jewish People.
It is the so-called Palestinian entity that is the fraud here, not the Jewish state.
Palestinian leaders like Erekat have a history of saying one thing to the foreign media and something completely different to their own people.
Threatening violence, Article 9 of the PLO Charter says that “Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine.”
“Two-state solution” advocates should note that this article would remain the core belief of radical Palestinians should Israel be forced to withdraw from territory, and these two-state diplomats now insist that the essential heart of the Jewish People be included in this so-called solution. What are commonly defined as “1967 lines” behind which Israel must retreat include the eastern parts of Jerusalem and the Old City, which contain most of the most important shrines of Judaic heritage.
Erekat said that all agreements signed with Israel would be dead should the US move its embassy to Jerusalem. Palestinian signatures are apparently meaningless. When Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo Accords on the White House lawn in 1993 he agreed to renounce violence. Seven years later he ordered major terrorist attacks against Israel. This terrorism, known as the Second Intifada, went on for two years, peaking with the Passover Massacre at Netanya’s Park Hotel, when a Palestinian suicide bomber murdered Jews who had gathered to celebrate the Jewish festival of deliverance.
Palestinian signatures and promises are temporary appeasements, convenient pauses until a more favorable opportunity to eradicate Israel presents itself.
Proving this point, Erekat threatened that the entity he represents would consider all agreements signed with Israel null and void and that Israel would be responsible for paying all the salaries of the Arabs in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. In other words, he threatened to disband the PA.
This opens up the possibility of applying alternative and better solutions for Israel and for the local Arabs than the two-state failure.
Erekat also warned that he would ask the UN General Assembly to suspend Israel’s membership if the US moves its embassy. Erekat may have forgotten that the PLO is a non-member observer at the UN and cannot ask the UN to do anything.
The UN has proven by it incessant anti-Israel voting that it is at war against the Jewish state. Yet Israel continues to thrive and develop. It is the Palestinians that threaten and shrivel and, take note: the Arab world is fed up with them.
Erekat threatened to disband the PA. This is an opportunity for Israel and the US to initiate a move away from the failed two-state paradigm.
There are a number of feasible alternative solutions, some of which require dismantling of the PA and replacing it with something better for the Arab population of the area. The PA has been a corrupt, undemocratic, violent governing body, while the people under its divided authoritarian rule continue to suffer.
As a first step, Israel should reclaim its legitimate sovereignty over the part of Judea and Samaria designated in the Oslo Accords as “Area C,” in which almost 500,000 Jews and fewer than 100,000 Arabs live today.
Israel, since its inception, has known Arab wars and terrorism. Israel is strong. Israel will not fold under new threats.
Israel has seen that gestures of good will and appeasement such as full withdrawals from southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, handing them over to our mortal enemies, have not resulted in peace. There is no assurance that withdrawal from Judea and Samaria will end up any better.
If the Palestinian mouse cannot stop roaring and get back to the negotiation table with a sense of pragmatism that has been so lacking for decades, the time has come for bold new initiatives that would allow Israel to withdraw from the diplomatic cul-de-sac in which it finds itself today.
For this it needs the support of the United States.
The US should set a marker by moving its embassy to Jerusalem because there is justice in it and it is the right and moral thing to do. It should do so because it acknowledges to the Palestinians and to a world in denial that without the Jews Jerusalem would not have been built thousands of years ago and it is their eternal capital. It should tell the Palestinians that refusing to accept this fact will never bring peace.
The US should move its embassy to Jerusalem and tell the Palestinians that any violent rejection of the move would be an act of war against the US.
Furthermore, Brexit and the phenomenon of Trump’s ascendancy heralded the start of a new world order. We saw signs of change when Britain, which had voted for the iniquitous UN Security Council Resolution 2234 that attempted to rob Israel of the vital heart of Jerusalem, reverse itself under the looming presence of a Trump presidency by defending Israel and refusing to sign the anti-Israel statement at the Paris Conference. This was followed by the UK vetoing an attempted endorsement by the EU foreign ministers.
It seems in certain capitals the truth is beginning to register.
As both the US and Britain have taken a stand and acknowledged that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and an integral part of the Jewish People they have little choice in honesty and justice but to move their embassies to Jerusalem.
And the Palestinians be damned if they refuse to accept it.
The author is the senior associate for public diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is the author of the new book
1917: From Palestine to the Land of Israel.