Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat speaks during a news conference in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
While the Obama administration harmed its ally by strengthening its enemies, if President Donald Trump holds to his promises perhaps things will change going forward. But there is already talk of backpedaling.
Days after United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 condemned Israeli settlements in the “occupied Palestinian territory” of Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation under international law,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat issued a strong rebuke: the mayor and his planning-committee director announced the committee’s intent to approve construction of 618 previously planned housing units in east Jerusalem – a first step toward an additional 5,600 units in the city. “I’m not ever going to stop building. No construction will be stopped by me as mayor,” he said.
Barkat is “politically correct” in the most positive sense of the phrase. He is also legally and historically correct. In property disputes over land ownership, lawyers search property records for deeds, liens and related issues to identify the real legal owner(s). They also use mandatory “discovery” to demand that the opposing party provide all relevant documents, inspections and depositions that pertain to the dispute. In the courtroom, the presiding judge determines whether the proceedings and evidence of both sides are represented in a fair and balanced way.
The US abstention on Resolution 2334 and secretary of state John Kerry’s specious rhetoric laying out his two-state agenda were mockeries of the these basic processes and premises of justice. As further evidence of the resolution’s shaky legal grounds, it conflicts with tenets of international law in the Palestine Mandate, UNSC Resolution 242, the Oslo Accords and Camp David Summit.
The Bible clearly defines ancient boundary lines and one of the oldest title deeds in the world is recorded in the Tanach, where King David purchased the future site of the Jewish Temple from Araunah the Jebusite for 600 gold shekels. David’s son, King Solomon, built the First Temple on that site. There’s ample additional biblical, archeological, religious and historical evidence of Israel’s abiding connection to Jerusalem that pre-dates Palestinian claims. The Jews governed Israel for a thousand years, and lived there continuously for the past 3,300 years. According to Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs researcher Nadav Shragai, Jerusalem was the Jewish capital during that time, never a capital of any Arab or Islamic entity.
Despite Israel and the Jewish people’s deep and abiding historical, cultural and religious connection to Jerusalem, the Palestinians, who began to define themselves as a people only about 100 years ago, insist they will never sign a peace deal that does not include Israel’s surrender of east Jerusalem, including the Old City and the Temple Mount. (Under international law, this area is disputed, not “occupied.”) Meanwhile, the Palestinians continue to deny Israel’s right to exist and incite violence and terrorism against her. As Dr. Joel Fishman wrote, “It is simply not possible to build [a state] on a foundation of myth and ignorance.”
Mayor Barkat and many others rightly identified the previous administration in Washington, DC, as being anti-Israel long before Resolution 2334 reared its ugly head. Over the past eight years the US has pressured Israel to halt “illegal” Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem. In recent years Barkat slammed the Obama administration for criticizing Israel’s plans to expand the suburb of Ma’aleh Adumim – an effort to provide affordable housing in the over-crowded capital. “I don’t know of any city in the world whose regulator is the US president,” the mayor remarked. Efrat mayor and pro-settler leader Oded Revivi added, “Israeli building policies are set in Jerusalem, not New York.”
Based on the latest news reports, it now appears that the Trump administration is starting to waffle on the topic of settlements. Let’s hope these news reports are mistaken, as they so often have been.
What country doesn’t have the right to its unified capital, and to develop and build it? I pray the Trump administration will focus its efforts at the UN against terrorism and stand strong on Israel’s side against any and all attempts to delegitimize the only democracy in the Middle East.The author, who served in senior level positions with four U.S. presidents, is an international Christian broadcaster and journalist whose articles appear in major magazines and newspapers and whose pro-Israel daily television and radio commentaries are aired around the world. sign up to our newsletter