Jerusalem Is Israel’s Capital, No Matter What Anyone Says

Anticipating the announcement by President Trump that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state and begin the process of relocating the American embassy from Tel Aviv, Shmuel Rosner writes:

[F]or about 3,000 years, Jerusalem has been the center of the Jewish people: a physical center when a temple was standing, and a center for prayer and longing from afar after the Jews were dispersed around the globe. Every year, at the very end of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, and at the end of the Passover seder, Jews recite, “Next year in Jerusalem.” . . . [But] even the United States, Israel’s closest ally, has not recognized the city as [Israel’s] capital even though [its] government has been based there since 1949. . . .

[A] statement from an American president will [not] actually change Israelis’ commitment to Jerusalem. This is [their] capital and it always will be. It was taken away from the Jewish people by force. It was recaptured by force. If necessary, it will be preserved under Israel’s jurisdiction by force, too. . . .

In 1947, ahead of the United Nations vote [to partition Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state], the CIA warned that “armed hostilities between Jews and Arabs will break out if the UN General Assembly accepts the plan to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.” President Harry Truman decided to support partition despite the warnings. The CIA was right; the Arabs responded with violence, leading to Israel’s War of Independence. Thanks to that, the Jewish state was even larger than the borders mandated by the United Nations, and the Palestinians still don’t have a state. But Truman was right, too; he proved himself a friend of the Jewish people, willing to take risks for what was right.

Will a statement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital ignite a similar round of defiance and violence? It’s possible. . . . If [it is], we will all regret it. But it is worth remembering that Truman’s recognition of Israel was also met with violence—and it is still remembered as a great American moment.

Read more at New York Times

More about: Donald Trump, Harry Truman, Israel & Zionism, Jerusalem, US-Israel relations

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security