Recently, the President of the United States of America formally acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It was a decision mainly met with contention from leaders in the Islamic world, and good tidings from Israel itself. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Jewish-state, staunch allies of the American government with deep cultural ties with the American Judeo-Christian culture, have marked the occasion of American recognition of Jerusalem with a joy that has been long in anticipation.
In this essay, I briefly expand on the human rights component of the contending issue between Palestine and Israel, and on a wider lens, the use of Palestine by internal and external powers as a proxy to militarily fight the Jewish homeland, destabilize the safety of the region, and in effect create an uneasy status quo of constant existential threats.
This middle-eastern city has historically been a staging ground of battle for thousands of years between Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Philistine, and Egyptian forces in the region who have reigned over it through conquest and battle. In Judeo-Christian scripture, it has long been recognized as the center of Judaism, and yet, as is shown in God’s Word, Jerusalem has been given or fallen into foreign sovereignty before. Long regarded as Jewish land, as is clearly stated in holy scripture, the topography east of the Mediterranean Sea has faced reacurring existential threats time and time again. As it stands, though the city and country be defended by Israel, its center harbors the ‘Dome of the Rock,’ which along with Mecca in Saudi Arabia, is the epicenter mosque of Islam. Israeli forces guard the city and are on alert every day of the year, dealing with possible attacks from Islamists suicide bombers using self-exploding devices, men brandishing weapons who take them out indiscriminately on people, or rock-throwing skirmishes between individuals of Islamic culture and Israeli military and police. Decades of diplomatic work has been rendered useless in the face of key issues that do not go away. Namely, these are:
- The safety and human rights of Israeli citizens.
- The safety and human rights of Palestinians.
- Palestine’s claim to be recognized as a nation, and have Jerusalem as its capital, alongside Israel.
- The use of the ‘Israel and Palestinian conflict’ as a proxy for international states.
Within its borders, Israel has contained sections where another people live within walled areas, such as Gaza and the West Bank. These are the Palestinians. A predominantly Islamic population, traditionally contending for recognition as a nation. Palestine has operated largely as a segmented and controlled set of territories within Israel. Military leaders of Islamic faith have arisen with the help of outside Islamic powers to oppose Jewish-right to exercise sovereignty within its borders. Even so, governorship of the capital, has resided with Israel, since it was recreated by a United Nations charter on May 14th, 1948, almost seventy years ago. Notwithstanding, peace has been elusive ever since, even in the midst of the best diplomacy available bringing with it tremendous amount of focus and attention to bring about an end to conflicts. It is as if all that has been accomplished are temporary reprieves in a never-ending detente. Responsibility for much of the instigations against Israel are believed/ known to be originated, not by Palestine itself, but by forces amiable to external Islamic-political powers looking to destabilize the region and provoke negative disruption. The Jewish people live in a constant state of hyper-vigilance that waxes and wanes according to their ability to normalize within this constant threat, itself rising and falling according to statements made by political leaders, small skirmishes arisen between Israeli law enforcement and regional conflicts from neighboring countries and international bodies which create a ripple-effect unto the Palestinian-Israeli stage.
The way forward in this particular situation may be able to deflate secondary issues which stoke the flames of opposition from within and without. Just as there is a Jerusalem for the Jews, should there be a Jerusalem for the Palestinians and the Islamic people? I posit that the use of the Israeli-Palestine conflict by outside forces can be dealt a power-void with the creation of a Palestinian country recognized by Israel first and across the global community, including the United States of America. Safety in the region for all people would receive its best ability to attain peace through the realization that there are not just Jewish and Palestinian people contending for the right to live safely and govern themselves, but that the entire Islamic world is keenly interested in the establishment of a permanent status quo for Palestine. This final outcome is a Palestine that is a nation, has a capital in Jerusalem, alongside Israel, and can begin to climb the road of social and economic prosperity as a people. Truly, the significance of making Jerusalem a dual capital is not an easy decision to make, but I believe it to be the right decision to make. At no point in the future, will the Palestinian (and therein, the greater Islamic world) stop from signaling the Palestinian injury of being a people in great distress and controlled by a greater power. This will simply go on as it is, unless a morally right, socially responsible path is carved by Israel to clear the way in the name of peace (salem) and human right to self-govern.
As a King James scripture daily reader and someone who is very pro-Israel, it is clear that God identifies a latter time where the physical Jerusalem is taken back. This has happened already. Jerusalem is under Israeli control and Israel is a nation. Reality for Israel is bittersweet though. Jerusalem is in Jewish control, yet its traditional religious epicenter is in Islamic control. There is no foreseeable way that a Jewish temple can be placed in Jerusalem without destroying the Dome of The Rock and enlarging the conflict to cataclysmic proportions. These issues will not go away but be made worse, if that route is followed, as some would wish. What we are left with is a troubled status quo which is irresponsible to keep in place. It is a status quo which external Islamic powers take advantage from, deriving political power even, in order to continue their anti-Zion rhetoric. Can Israeli leadership void the foundation of external aggression against it, win a greater peace for its people, place the human right of Palestinians as a priority that benefits Judah and continue on with life? Is it not time to close this chapter and open a new one, or is this equilibrium much too powerful to move away from?
Peace will have to be a compromise of shared geographical political recognition within the physical city of Jerusalem for Israel and Palestine, in order to start a new chapter.
God calls us to love him and to love one another.
- The political bravery by Israeli leadership can bring an end and begin to win true peace through the overture of recognizing Palestine and accepting a dual-nation capital.
- Israel would recognize Palestine as a nation, even before its borders are identified beyond their present delineations. In one fell swoop, Israel can take the first step.
- This would positively disrupt the balance of power in the region, give Israel the moral high ground, and directly address a principle issue in the conflict. Israel should gain peace and a greater ability to pursue its inner growth without an existential threat and a constant war-defense footing.
- Palestine’s recognition as a nation, with a capital in Jerusalem would begin to address its right to pursue its development and right to life, just like Israel.
Countries like Iran, and entities like Hamas and Hezbollah, would have to publicly stand down from their stances of contrarianship against Judah. A declaration by outside powers clearly returning from calls for the destruction of Israel and following with overtures of peace, beyond superficial statements should be forthcoming. Peace is one of the names of the Lord God, and as such, a noun. But it must be treated also as a verb. Peace has to be a practice, and not a one-time event. Peace must be a cultivated atmosphere of trust given value on a daily basis. The alternative is the constant stress and uncertainty that new developments and instigations can pressure the continuation of uneasy living, of the possibility of death on both sides and of the use of the Israeli-Palestine conflict by external powers. Truly, the leadership of Israel has a constituency to placate, yet how many lives have to be lost? It is clear that many Israeli citizens would be disgusted in ceding recognition to Palestine, especially if their loved ones and offspring have been victims of inhumane attacks. But the people of Palestine are human too, and they suffer also. They live walled in. What does that do the the human psyche? How does that warp people’s mentality? Is it not incubating animosity?
Israelis have yearned for the ‘promised land’ and ceding dual-nation status in Jerusalem may initially feel as a loss. But I say that Israel does not lose its capital, it does not lose its sovereignty, nor its earthly promised land. The truth of the matter is that there are another people there too. They cannot be shipped out. It is not fair to keep them in a state of despair either, nor is it beneficial to the safety of Israel to do so. The emotion and passion of Israel and Palestine is so strong that it surpasses the sense of shared humanity. It is easy to not feel this sense of shared humanity if your child or loved one was lost in a senseless attack. That is understood. Nothing on earth can bring back a life. Nothing on earth, but agape love can change the balance of power, but future lives can be spared through political bravery that says, ‘hello brother,’ and ‘hello sister.’