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May 15, 2018 7:48 am

The Day Jerusalem Won

avatar by Ron Prosor / JNS.org

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The Israeli flag at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Photo: Hynek Moravec via Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – The opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, is the fulfillment of what many Jews dreamed of regardless of their political opinions. It also carries historic and diplomatic weight that could affect the entire region.

For 70 years, we have heard many countries, including our greatest friend the United States, make excuses about it “not being the right time” to move their embassies to Jerusalem. And we’ve heard over and over why such a move couldn’t happen so long as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continued.

In 1995, the US Congress enacted a law requiring the United States to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem. But every president since then has used a loophole in the law to delay the move.

Then Donald Trump arrived — a new president, an outsider who wanted to think outside the box. Trump is an unusual politician who reminds us that politicians really can keep their promises.

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When he said during his presidential campaign that if elected he would move the embassy to Jerusalem, he meant it.

Six months ago, when the president declared his intention, the predictors of doom and gloom rose up. The Palestinians declared three days of rage over the decision, and some warned that the move would send the Middle East up in flames — because every kindergartener knows that prior to Trump’s decision the Middle East was a calm, peaceful place, and the Palestinians were spending the rest of the year meditating.

The new American policy lets the Palestinians know that time is not necessarily on their side and their ongoing refusal to hold real negotiations with Israel could hurt them. It is no coincidence that Arab states are remaining silent. It shows that a broader regional move is likely in the next few months. At the same time, I believe that other countries will follow America’s lead and start to move their embassies to Jerusalem.

The reality is that the Palestinians are being left behind. If they won’t come to the negotiating table, then they could find themselves without any allies at all.

The opening of the embassy gives us all hope that the historical truth will win out over fake history, vision and faith will defeat a desire to stand still, and those who say “yes” will be victorious over the naysayers.

Ron Prosor is head of the Abba Eban Chair of International Diplomacy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations.

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