The anticipated announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, is a bold move for the U.S., but fraught with concerns over the fallout that will have ripple effects throughout the Middle East and the world. Israel has long claimed that Jerusalem is its ancient, undivided capital, but as of this date, that position has not been agreed to by any other country.
Jerusalem, Recognized As Israel’s Capital – At Last!
The threats of violence by Arab factions, as well as severance of diplomatic ties with Israel and, possibly, with the U.S., are realistic and to be anticipated. Some have already hailed such a move as the death-knell of the so-called “peace process” that has long been dead. It just hadn’t been buried yet. This announcement may well bury it and finally put an official end to what has unofficially taken place years ago.
The “Palestinians” have called for “A day of rage” and other Arab factions have called for demonstrations in anticipation of President Trump’s announcement. Clearly, it would be a wise move for the U.S. to beef up its security in U.S. embassies around the world, particularly in Arab countries. In a similar manner, Israel should do likewise.
The announcement that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel cuts across the decision of the United Nations denying that Jerusalem had any historical connection with the Jewish people. Such a decision was absurd when it was made and revealed the bias against the Jewish state by what was supposed to be an impartial, international body. That decision effectively denied Biblical history, which is not surprising, given the number of Arab countries that supported the resolution.
But, without the actual text to comment upon, one can only speculate on the content and the consequences. We should be careful not to impose our own desires on political pronouncements, not to become prophets to support our own pronouncements. The President’s statement could refer to a future, as opposed to an immediate, date when that recognition will take effect. It could also refer to the removal/transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which could take place by a specific date, not necessarily immediately. Or, Trump could announce that West Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, leaving East Jerusalem for future negotiations with the “Palestinians” as their potential capital, as well as once again defer moving the embassy. This latter alternative could take into account the need for the Arab world to adjust to the decision and, therefore, contain terms that are geared to soften the impact of the decision on the Arab countries that are “friends of the U.S.”
Whatever might be said tomorrow, it is clear that there will be immediate consequences for Israel. Saudi Arabia is a major player in the Middle East right now and the U.S. needs its cooperation and support. It is hard to believe that the decision to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would be taken without consultation with the Saudis. Similarly, King Abdullah of Jordan cannot remain silent in the face of such a declaration. Notwithstanding that Israel is “at peace” with Jordan, the latter can take immediate action to recall its Ambassador from Israel, effectively cutting off relations for a season, as it has done in the past. It would be dangerous and foolish for Jordan to try to take military action against Israel. Nevertheless, it could finance action by other Arab groups. Egypt has also denounced such a declaration, indicating that it would have major consequences, but obviously without specifying what those consequences would be. It, too, has withdrawn its Ambassador to Israel on occasions far less serious than this one.
However, the main concern is not the action of the so-called “Palestinians”, but the potential action by Lebanon’s head of the Hezb’allah and Turkey. The Hezb’allah have threatened to send thousands of missiles in Israel’s direction, while Turkey has already threatened to cut off ties with Israel and would do its utmost to foment action against Israel, together with many of those in the region who would love to see the elimination of Israel. Israel’s military has conducted extensive drills in recent weeks, some with other countries, in anticipation of the need to respond quickly to a military offensive by Hezb’allah and some of our other neighbors.
From a practical point of view, there could be a “third intifada” that has been waiting for just the right opportunity to take place. Security all over Israel will have to be tightened, additional check-posts may need to be set up, caution will need to be the word of the day when assembling in crowded areas, like shopping centers, bus and train stations. In any event, the decision is not going to be accepted easily by Israel’s neighbors. We will have more wisdom regarding this in another day.
“I will bless those who bless you and those who curse you, I will curse”. (Gen. 12:3)
To say that you are urged to pray would be an understatement.
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,