President Donald Trump has done what a half score presidents promised — and failed — to deliver because friends and foes alike said it was just too dangerous: He has declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel and promised to move the American embassy to that capital city, although it may take another year to accomplish the physical feat.
Trump says the coming federal tax cut is the biggest Christmas gift the American people have ever received; I say his Jerusalem declaration is an even bigger gift to the world from the American people.
Federal law required this move for decades, although American presidents have had leeway about the timing. Poll after poll — of voters and their elected leaders — has shown overwhelming endorsement.
The Israeli nation does not constitute an occupation; it simply re-established itself in the capital stolen centuries ago, retaking it from those who took it by force.
Israel received it as the fruit of victory in a war it did not begin. Other nations — even the United Nations — may roar that Trump is escalating tensions in the region, but that makes as much sense as calling out the bully’s victim for fighting back against the bully.
Yet a larger question for Americans should be: “Why is this move so pivotal at this time?”
The answer is simple to speak yet difficult to articulate: Jerusalem is and always has been the heart of Israel. The city without the nation is a fish without water.
There is the simple history issue. Jewish people have identified their national vision and aspirations with Jerusalem since the time of the Judges — some three-and-a-half millennia ago. King David claimed the city as his capital in the 10th century B.C., and so it remained until Roman armies destroyed it in 70 A.D.
No nation so thoroughly destroyed has ever re-established herself after centuries of exile, and yet Israel has done it twice — once after 70 years and again after nearly 2,000 years.
Anyone doubting a God who purposefully intervenes in human affairs need look no farther for proof than the events of 1948 and subsequent — there is simply no other reasonable explanation for such improbable prophecies to come so overwhelmingly true.
There is the simple justice issue. The Palestinians who claim Jerusalem as their capital have never had a nation — let alone a capital. They have proven incapable of providing such basics as drinking water and electricity, not to mention an education system and jobs, for their people.
The Israelis, who actually have history behind their claim, have made the deserts — and their special city — thrive, prosper and bloom.
There is the simple integrity issue, but this one comes with a side of the colossal arrogance of the nations that imagine it their right to determine the status of another sovereign nation.
Let readers imagine themselves when the people who camp on their land with their permission show their gratitude by periodically firing guns and rockets at their family members. Let them imagine further these squatters demanding the family vacate their home in favor of the squatters’ claim on it. Let the scenario reach final outrage when the neighbors announce they have determined the squatters are indeed entitled to the property — but only to most of it — and any action by other neighbors in support of the family is a threat to the peace of the neighborhood.
Analogies are dangerous as they tend to oversimplify variables, but this one holds up pretty well.
It gets even better when we expand the field to say many nations feel free to tell another nation just where its capital city may be located. The outrage factor in that other nation — any other nation — would be astronomical.
What is to be lost when Trump keeps his promise? Will militant Islamists hate America as they hate Israel? They already do. Will the Islamic State group send suicide bombers to launch terror attacks on the U.S.? They already do. Will Iran become aggressive? It already is.
On the other hand, did Iran back down and release their American hostages within hours of Ronald Reagan becoming president? It did. Did a Libyan dictator and terrorist halt his operations within days of President George Bush threatening him and any others who thought the U.S. soft? He did.
The good news is Americans can serve justice, logic and the God who has a special love for Israel, justice and human integrity by supporting Trump and the rule of law. We can treat nations as we would be treated. We can stand for what is both right and ultimately prudent.
James A. Wilson is the author of “Living As Ambassadors of Relationships,” “The Holy Spirit and the End Times,” and “Kingdom in Pursuit.” He can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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