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We have been told time and again over the past 70 years that Jerusalem – its borders and sovereignty – is one of the most contentious issues that will have to be settled before there can be a legitimate peace between Arabs and Jews here in the Land of Israel. In fact, the diplomatic experts have always contended that this issue is so complex that it must be left as the last piece of a negotiated settlement between the parties. Only after they have agreed on all other matters and created an atmosphere of trust and peaceful intent that will allow the status of Jerusalem to be finally determined, will an agreement be realized.

In theory, there may be merit to this contention. However in practice, regarding the facts on the ground, the issue has long ago been settled. Jewish Jerusalem has expanded and developed in a manner that borders on the miraculous over the past decades. The building cranes have never left the city and the infrastructure of the metropolis has been enhanced over and over again. Jerusalem now possesses the largest population that it probably ever had in all of its long glorious and turbulent history.
The vast majority of its inhabitants are Jews and even though many different faiths and beliefs are present in the city and are free to operate according to their conscience and rituals, any visitor to Jerusalem will agree that Jerusalem is a Jewish city. On the Sabbath and Jewish holidays much of the city is transformed into one large synagogue and meeting place and the Jewish atmosphere pervades all areas of the population, whether or not they themselves are observant or even Jewish.
The United Nations in 1947 voted to make Jerusalem an international city under United Nations rule. The fact that no international city has ever proved to be successful as a solution to territorial or ideological differences seemed not to have been taken into consideration, when this ill-conceived idea was advanced. The idea of an international city was backed by the Vatican and other Christian groups.
Jerusalem, after the War of Independence, was a divided city as the Jordanians occupied the eastern and northern parts of the city and continued a sporadic war against the Jewish citizens and civilians living in the Jewish neighborhoods. Jordan had no intention of making Jerusalem an international city and in 1967 made war against Israel with the express hope of conquering the entire city and driving out its Jewish population.
It failed in this effort and lost its control over parts of Jerusalem, which now became a united city under Jewish rule. The government offices of the state of Israel are all located in Jerusalem as is Hebrew University, the Israel Museum, the Israeli parliament, the residences of the president and the prime minister of Israel, and the national archives and library with its treasured books and manuscripts.
Israel long ago declared Jerusalem as its official capital. The nations of the world still somehow hoped that Jerusalem would not be part of Israel and refused to move their embassies from the Tel Aviv area to Jerusalem. They piously stated that this was a matter for final settlement in negotiation with the parties involved. Unfortunately, such negotiations have never been taken seriously by the Palestinians and any proposal regarding Jerusalem, no matter how favorable it may have been towards the Arabs, has been rejected and ridiculed.
A crack in this wall of wishful thinking, unrealistic expectations and the inability to grant to the Jewish people its ancient capital, has now occurred. The United States has announced that it will move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as the legitimate capital of the state of Israel. This has been followed by other nations also now agreeing to move their embassies to Jerusalem.
I believe that part of this change of policy is due to the fact that these nations recognize that it is not so much that the Palestinians or Moslems want Jerusalem for their own as it is that they just don't want the state of Israel and the Jewish people to have it. I think that this is the only explanation as to why the peace negotiations over Jerusalem have gone nowhere and are likely to continue to go nowhere.
The attitude is that: ‘it is not so much that I want it, as it is that I am determined that you shall not have it.’ So, until this changes, there is very little wriggle room on this issue. The facts on the ground have pretty much already decided the matter. In a practical sense they are irreversible and just as the Lord’s prophets foresaw, He has seen fit to rebuild Jerusalem and once again reestablish it as the Holy City.
Shabbat shalom
Berel Wein

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