The Wall Street Journal on Monday December 12 ran an article entitled, Trump: Moving U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem Very Big Priority. Indeed, David Friedman, who is poised to become the new U.S. ambassador to Israel, has stated that he intends to work in the US embassy in Israels eternal capital Jerusalem.
Reporter Felicia Schwartz omitted several essential facts.
About Jerusalem, Schwartz wrote that both Israel and the Palestinians have claims to the contested city.
They may both have claims, but the Jewish case rests on international law as well as archeological evidence of historical Jewish sovereignty over the city. And, while there may be a religious connection between Islam and Jerusalem, there is no historical or legal basis for a specifically Palestinian claim on Jerusalem, as there has, for one thing, never been Palestinian sovereignty over the city.
Schwartz continues, the U.S. has held that Jerusalems final status should be the subject of broader international negotiations aimed at resolving the long-simmering dispute. In fact, the US position is that the status of the city should be decided by direct negotiations between the parties. In December of 2009, the State Department issued a statement saying that,
Our position on Jerusalem is clear. United States policy remains unaffected and unchanged: As has been stated by every previous administration which addressed this issue, the status of Jerusalem, and all other permanent status issues, must be resolved by the parties through negotiations.
And as recently as last month, Congress has continued to affirm the importance of direct negotiations between the parties.
She also wrote that the chief representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the U.S., Maen Rashid Areikat, said that moving the embassy would make it more difficult to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue, but failed to note that Palestinians have already thwarted multiple attempts at resolving the dispute, including Israeli offers to divide Jerusalem.
Schwartzs version of Jerusalem's modern history is misleading as well. She writes that Israel captured the western part of the city in 1948 after the country declared statehood, and makes no mention whatsoever of Arab rejection of the UN partition plan, or of the five Arab armies that invaded Israel when it declared independence. She continues, later, [Israel] annexed East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, but again fails to explain that Jordan, which was illegally occupying eastern Jerusalem at the time, attacked Israel in 1967, even after being asked to stay out of the fighting by the Israeli government. Schwartz also ignores that Jordan expelled all Jews in the eastern part of the city in 1948. These omissions create a false impression that Israels territorial gains were the result of its own aggression, rather than the result of defensive wars.
In a telling final paragraph, Schwartz summarizes what she terms the contentious issues between the parties that are actually Palestinian concerns and demands. She writes,
[T]he two sides remain at odds over the construction of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, the release of Palestinians held in Israeli jails and the schism between Fatah and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.
From Israels vantage, the parties are at odds because Palestinian leaders refuse to desist from anti-Jewish hate-mongering and calls for violence in their media, mosques, schools and political culture, and refuse to come to terms with the legitimacy of a Jewish state of Israel in the region as demonstrated by the repeated rejection of end-of-conflict peace offers.