Joe Biden must not divide Jerusalem: opinion

It is time for us to change our clocks and “turn back” to the new time. However, Joe Biden would do well not to diplomatically turn back the clock and cause a historic mistake.

On November 23, 2016, my article titled “Mr. Trump eliminate this affront ”was published in The Jerusalem Post. It represented what was at the time an unacceptable situation in Jerusalem, the capital of the sovereign State of Israel. It detailed the parody of a consulate catering to the propaganda needs of a non-state, within the capital of a strong United States ally.
“It is also an affront to the sensitivity of Americans and their desire expressed through their representatives in Washington to respect the fact that Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel,” I wrote. “Just look at the consulate’s website. Even the address contains “jru” – – but no hint of the host country, Israel, as if Jerusalem were an independent country. “

Today, in 2021, we can proudly say that the previous US administration heeded the call of so many and far exceeded our expectations for 2016. The status of Jerusalem has been corrected. The embassy in Jerusalem is a beautiful testament to the friendship of the United States and Israel. What was once a foreign consular entity in the heart of a country closely allied to the United States has become one that truly represents the United States for all citizens of Israel.

Now there is talk of the Biden administration seeking to turn back the clock and undo what was done. Rumor has it that the State Department will put a non-state foreign consulate in Jerusalem, looking back to the 1948-1967 east-west designation that artificially trashed the city for 19 years. They would do well not to embarrass the alliance and friendship of the two countries by attacking this ancient capital city of Israel in this way. Those 19 years were not the model of peace and harmony for all the peoples and religions that Jerusalem strives to be.

The United States Consulate, on Agron Street in Jerusalem (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

They would do well to look at American history. The British did not see the United States as a truly independent and unified entity. The burning of the city of Washington by the British during the Chesapeake Campaign of the War of 1812 was the culmination of this outlandish arrogance. Washington City was not a major city nor was it steeped in history, until then. It was and is the capital of the United States of America. Soon after, part of the country decided to put its capital city in the new Southern Confederation. A bloody civil war was fought for the unity of the country. Artificial divisions can destroy peace, not build it.

Until 1948 there was no designation of Jerusalem to the east or west. King David moved his capital from Hebron to Jerusalem and it remained the capital of the Land of Israel and later Judea. From then on, it was part of a province within the powers and empires of the time. Diminished, but not divided.

On May 28, 1948, the Jewish quarter was captured by the Jordanians. They exiled the Jews from the Jewish Quarter and destroyed their synagogues. They tried to starve Jerusalem with a terrible siege. The target was the entire city. So Jerusalem was bitterly divided for 19 years. That’s the full extent of the east-west designation: 19 years out of thousands of years of the city’s history.

On June 5, 1967, when the Jordanians opened fire along the entire ceasefire line, the battle for the city was on. Two days later, the order was given to completely reunite the city. The blue and white flag of the State of Israel was flown over the Western Wall, a remnant of the holy Jewish temples.

By reuniting the city, Israel wanted to maintain its character for all religions. The government even handed over the keys to the Temple Mount to the Jordanian authority, although it is the holiest place on earth for the Jewish people.

Jerusalem today is complete and beautiful. It has grown out of the backward city in which it had become a beautiful and prosperous capital city. It has grown so large that it makes pre-1948 Jerusalem look like a small city, a shadow of what it was and is now.

Everyone is welcome to our beautiful city. But do not divide or sow discord. Don’t show disrespect to your friends and allies. Build the good and don’t break the unbroken. It’s too easy to do damage in this volatile area.

American presidents do historic good when they come together and heal, as was done in Berlin. Mr. Biden, keep that wall down. Do not fracture and divide our city. Don’t turn the clock back to the wrong time.

The author has served in various positions in the construction of commercial relations between Israel and the United States, including that of commercial commissioner / director of commerce of the government of Israel with the United States. He currently lives in Jerusalem.

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