AMBASSADOR to the US Ron Dermer addresses the Senate in Washington this week..
(photo credit: screenshot)
US President Donald Trump’s recent moves on Jerusalem constituted “shock therapy” against Palestinian rejectionism, which is the real obstacle to peace, Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer said in Washington.
Dermer was speaking at an event in the Senate on Tuesday where former Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold gave a presentation to about 100 legislators, congressional staffers and think tank members titled “Jerusalem: What’s at stake.”
Dermer said that there is no peace today between Israel and the Palestinians because of a Palestinian refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the right of the Jews to a state in Israel within any boundaries.
“That is why the Palestinians try to deny any historical connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem
,” he said. “Because to admit this connection is to admit that the Jewish people aren’t foreign colonialists in the Land of Israel; that Israel for the Jewish people is not India for the British, or Algeria for the French, or the Congo for the Belgians – but that this is the land of our ancestors.”
The minute the Palestinians recognize a Jewish connection to Jerusalem, he said, the whole edifice of Palestinian rejectionism would begin to collapse, because it would mean that the Jewish people are in Israel “not merely by might, but by right.”
“Dealing with this Palestinian rejectionism is critical if you are going to advance peace, and the rejectionism is strongest, and of course most absurd, when it comes to Jerusalem,” he said.
Dermer mocked the phrase that Palestinian officials often use – that Israel is trying to “Judaize Jerusalem,” saying this is akin to saying that the Chinese are “Sino-fying” Beijing, or the Russians are “Russo-fying” Moscow.
Dermer said that while he understands why the Palestinians are trying to deny a Jewish connection to Jerusalem, he does not understand why the world tolerates it and even applauds it, as it did when it adopted UN Security Council Resolution 2334 in December 2016, a resolution that essentially stated that the Western Wall is in occupied Palestinian territory.
“To advance peace, you must confront this Palestinian rejectionism,” he said, “and that is precisely what President Trump did when he recognized Jerusalem as our capital. It is shock therapy for Palestinian rejectionism. And it is actually, in my view, one of the first positive things that has been done to advance peace in decades.”
He said that by recognizing the Jewish people’s historical connection to Jerusalem, Trump “laid an important cornerstone for peace.”
Gold, the head of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said that Trump’s announcement also “effectively put to rest” the idea of a corpus separatum – or internationalization – of Jerusalem, an idea that he said has persisted up until today.
“When President Trump recognized Jerusalem
as Israel’s capital, he effectively put to rest the internationalization idea,” Gold said. “He was also correcting decades of diplomatic distortions at the United Nations. Finally, he was fulfilling the Jerusalem Embassy Act from 1995, that bipartisan initiative cosponsored by senators Tom Daschle and Bob Dole, calling for moving the embassy to Jerusalem.
That was the accepted position across the American political spectrum and across our political spectrum.
“This,” he said, “was the greatest gift the United States could give to Israel on the 70th anniversary of its birth.”