By Moshe Dann
Refusing to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel until Arabs agree, makes the issue a hostage to Arab demands.
Such capitulation is unfair and encourages Arab intransigence.
Although previous US administrations have not been willing to change this biased policy, despite Congressional legislation recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the US President and State Department have opposed such a decision, hoping to offer an incentive for a negotiated settlement. Instead, it has functioned as an obstacle to peace.
Relying on a basic flaw in the Oslo Accords – leaving the issues of Jerusalem, refugees, “settlements” and borders for final negotiations – this wait-and-hope policy serves those who seek to force Israel to capitulate sooner or later.
As long as resolving these important issues depends on Arab approval, it sends a clear message not only that they can hold out for their maximum position, but that they should.
This contributes to an Arab mindset that as long as the international community backs them on these core issues, they will succeed.
IN OTHER words, by taking the position that these issues are still negotiable on terms that would mean Israel’s demise, the US administration is actually supporting that goal. It is not a neutral position, but one that supports Arab interests.
Logically, if one believes that Jerusalem should be divided, that Arabs who are considered refugees should return to Israel, that Israeli borders will revert to the 1949 lines, and recognition of Israel’s right to exist is not even on the table, then why should Arabs compromise? The US administration has given tacit approval to Arab claims, weighing them equally with those of Israel.
By refusing to recognize Jerusalem as a united city and Israel’s capital, while condemning Jewish building in “eastern” (northern and southern) Jerusalem, Obama has effectively strengthened the Arab position. This is not “even-handed” – especially since Obama has not objected to an estimated 60,000 illegal Arab buildings in Eastern Jerusalem.
The US administration could recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital without prejudice to any future determination in the event that a Palestinian state is established. But refusing to recognize Israel’s claims – holding Israel hostage to Arab agreement – shifts the balance against Israel.
Similarly, holding out the prospect that 5 million Arabs will move into Israel and/or Judea and Samaria, and giving money to UNRWA perpetuates this goal.
Suggesting that the 1949 Armistice Lines are the basis for negotiations clearly violates UN Security Council Resolution 242 which asserts “the right to secure and recognized boundaries” – not the Armistice Lines.
Encouraging unrealistic expectations impedes acceptance of Israel’s legitimate claims and her right to exist.
If unresolved issues render the two-state plan unviable, then so be it. The more one believes in delusions, the farther one is from reality and sanity.
With Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood in power and Iran about to achieve The Bomb, holding out for impossible goals is a destructive irrational policy. The initial withdrawal of any mention of Jerusalem from the Democratic platform is an omen of Obama’s agenda for Israel.
Support for Israel is bipartisan; it should not be a wedge issue. But Obama has changed the rules of the game. Waiting for Arabs to compromise, to end terrorism and incitement, and to accept reality puts Israel’s survival on the table.
This article appeared in The Jerusalem Post and is reprinted with permission.