The Strangest Dispute in History
Vol: 63 Issue: 19 Tuesday, December 19, 2006
In 1995, the United States Congress passed into law the ‘Jerusalem Embassy Act’ that required the United States to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s declared capital at Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 passed by a margin of 93-5 in the US Senate and had the overwhelming support of the American people.
Section two of the Act states that:
“(1) Each sovereign nation under international law and custom can designate its own capital;
(2) Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the state of Israel;
(3) The city of Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s president, parliament, and Supreme Court, and the cite of numerous government ministries and social and cultural institutions;
(4) The city of Jerusalem is the spiritual center of Judaism, and is also considered a holy city by the members of other religious faiths;
(5) From 1948-1967, Jerusalem was a divided city and Israeli citizens of all faiths as well as Jewish citizens of all states were denied access to holy sites in the area controlled by Jordan;
(6) In 1967, the city of Jerusalem was reunited during the conflict known as the Six Day War;
(7) Since 1967, Jerusalem has been a united city administered by Israel, and persons of all religious faiths have been guaranteed full access to holy sites within the city.
Section three states:
“(1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group is protected,
(2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.”
Up until this year, only two states had moved their embassies to Jerusalem — Costa Rica and El Salvador. This year both states acknowledged that as an ‘historical error’ that cost them the friendship of the Arab world, and moved their embassies back to Tel Aviv.
Despite the Act’s lack of ambiguity and the overwhelming margin by which it was passed, the Act has yet to be implemented. The legislation included a ‘wiggle clause’ that allows the President to postpone the move for six months, if he believes such a move would be harmful to national security.
So, every six months for the last eleven years, starting with Bill Clinton and with George Bush following the Clinton precedent, the Executive Branch has exercised its option to defer the move for another six months.
This week, George Bush put off the move for the 23rd time since the Act was passed.
Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem would be enormously significant to Israel’s claim of ownership of the Holy City, which is hotly disputed by the Palestinians.
The Palestinian position is that Jerusalem is really a Palestinian city known as ‘al Quds’ and that Israel has no legitimate historical claim to the city.
That is as historically accurate as claiming that Washington, D.C. is not really an American city, but evidently, it is a fiction the world is ready to accept, eyes wide open.
The City of Jerusalem was founded 3,000 years ago by King David, who purchased it from Ornan the Jebusite, for six hundred shekels of gold by weight. Ornan offered to give his threshingfloor, but David wanted to ensure his ownership claim was indisputable.
“And Ornan said unto David, Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes: lo, I give thee the oxen also for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all.”
“And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost.” (1st Chronicles 21:23-24)
Having purchased Ornan’s threshing-floor at above fair-market value, King David founded the city of Jerusalem. His son, Solomon, constructed the First Temple on the site of Ornan’s threshing-floor.
While the Palestinians deny Israel’s historical claim to the city, they do not dispute Nebuchadnezzar’s capture of the city in 586 BC. Neither can they deny the existence of the Western Wall of Solomon’s Temple, which stands in mute testimony to Israel’s historical claim.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of artifacts attesting to the Jewish possession of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, not to mention Israel’s historical presence in Judea and Samaria, claimed by the Palestinians as the ‘West Bank.’
Secular historical accounts reference Solomon’s Temple. That Cyrus sent Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple is confirmed by secular Persian royal records.
Flavius Josephus’ epic historical account of the ‘Wars of the Jews’ was published in the 1st century and is an eyewitness account of the Jewish history of the last half of the first century.
Josephus confirms the Jewishness of the West Bank, the Jewishness of Jerusalem, the existence and destruction of Herod’s Temple and the Roman deportation of the Jews into the Diaspora.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were indisputably written by Jews, and were indisputably buried by Jews in AD 70, and were found in 1947 in the West Bank, where they had indisputably remained undisturbed for almost 1,900 years.
The Dead Sea Scrolls included a vast library of documents attesting to Jewish ownership of the disputed territories. It is equally indisputable that not one of those documents was either forged or less than 1,900 years old.
Yet Jewish historical ownership and possession of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and the West Bank is THE most hotly disputed territorial claim on the face of the earth.
Even though the Congress explicitly recognized Israel’s land claim in 1995, the Executive has deferred action BECAUSE of the ownership dispute.
When one sits back and takes a look at it objectively, it is nothing less than other-worldly. How could anybody credibly dispute the historical Jewish connection to Jerusalem? More than that, how could anybody give the disputed claim even a first hearing?
It is as historically absurd as arguing that the Europeans got to America before the Indians did. But 191 out of 191 countries take the official position that Israel’s claim of historical ownership is sufficiently vague as to justify withholding official recognition.
Including the United States of America, for the 23rd time in a row.
It is surreal.