During my November visit to Israel, many Israelis asked me who would be the first American president to keep his campaign promise to move the American Embassy to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.
Most Israelis strongly believe that President Trump has been so much friendlier in tone, style, and public support of Israel than President Obama ever was. However, many people on the political right, who had such high expectations from the election of this most non-politically correct president, have been truly disappointed that Trump has followed the conventional delusions of previous American presidents who failed to deliver on their promises to move the embassy in their mistaken belief in a possible Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
First, President Trump should know that there is exactly zero chance for any so-called peace deal or true peace to be forged while the Palestinian Authority continuously monetarily compensates terrorists who kill Jews and names squares, streets, schools, and summer camps after these so-called martyrs.
Second, The Palestinian Arabs desire east Jerusalem, including the Old City and the Temple Mount, to be their future capital in any peace deal, despite the fact that Jerusalem has never been the capital of any state other than a Jewish one. Trump must be informed that for 19 years from 1948 to 1967, Jews have already witnessed and experienced what Arab rule in the West Bank and east Jerusalem will bring to the Jewish state and it was not peace.
In 1948, the day after the British left and Israel declared its independence, five Arab armies invaded the newly declared Jewish state. As a result, the British-led Jordanian Army conquered the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem which housed the Jewish quarter and Jews’ holiest sites, including the Western Wall and Temple Mount. In the end, the 1,400 Jews who lived in the Jewish Quarter within the walls of the Old City had to negotiate their surrender to the Arabs and their expulsion to western Jerusalem which the Israelis held on to.
Consequently, 35 ancient synagogues in the Old City were destroyed, desecrated, and razed by the Jordanians, and their interiors used as hen houses or stables filled with dung heaps, garbage, and carcasses. The ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives was in complete disarray with tens of thousands of tombstones broken into pieces to be used as cheap building materials, large areas of the cemetery were leveled to provide a short cut to a new hotel, and Jews were not allowed to be buried or visit there. Hundreds of Torah Scrolls and thousands of holy books were plundered and burned to ashes. For the first time in 1,000 years not a single Jew or one synagogue remained in the Old City.
Although the Jordanians had signed an armistice agreement in 1949 guaranteeing Jews the right to visit and pray in their holy sites including the Western Wall, the Cave of the Patriarchs, and Rachel’s Tomb, not one Israeli Jew was ever permitted by the Jordanians to do so. Moreover, the Western Wall became a slum and was transformed into an exclusively Muslim holy site named Al Buraq Wall.
Prior to 1967, as a child, I used to visit my grandfather who lived on Mamilla Street in Western Jerusalem, very close to the no-man zone outside the Jaffa Gate in the Old City. It is hard to believe that from May 27, 1948, through June 7, 1967, Mamilla was Israel’s frontline and the border of Israel with Jordan. The western three quarters of Mamilla were held by Israel and the eastern quarter became a no-man’s land of barbed wire and concrete barricades between the Israeli and Jordanian lines. At the time, Jordanian snipers stood on the top of the Old City walls and tried to shoot any Israeli who was in west Jerusalem down below. As a four- to seven-year-old kid, I used to crawl out of my grandfather’s house to avoid being randomly shot by snipers only for being Jewish and then had to run quickly to avoid being shot at.
On June 5, 1967, after Arab leaders declared their intentions to destroy the Jewish state, Israel was forced into a war against the combined armies of Jordan, Egypt, and Syria and the Six-Day War began.
Miraculously, the Israeli Army defeated the combined Arab armies, conquering the entire Sinai from the Egyptians, the Golan Heights from the Syrians, and the Judea and Samaria hills of the West Bank from the Jordanians. Eventually, paratroopers captured eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and the Western Wall from the Jordanians. After 2,000 years, we were again free to pray in Jerusalem.
I was 8 when I visited the Old City for the first time, as did hundreds of thousands of other Jews and Israelis following the Six-Day War. I still remember how exciting it was to step on that holy ground, walking in the steps of our high priests and Jewish Kings from thousands of years ago, and freely praying. We touched and kissed the Western Wall and climbed to the Temple Mount where the two Jewish Temples stood. We visited the burial place of our ancestral mother Rachel on the road to Bethlehem a mere 5-minute drive from the Old City, and lastly the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs in Hebron, the city where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are buried.
As an Israeli, who witnessed the horrors of Arab rule in east Jerusalem, I choose a united Jerusalem controlled by the Jewish state over a piece of paper called peace.