Differing views on Jerusalem as a capital | Letters

Palestinian claims to Jerusalem as their capital have no basis in fact or history, says Joshua Rowe. Trump and Netanyahu know the west’s response is all wind and fury, says Christopher Sterling. It’s hard to argue with Israel’s assertion that Trump is simply acknowledging the reality, says Leon Rosselson

I refer to your numerous frenzied articles about the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. How brave and courageous of President Trump to confirm the Jerusalem Embassy Act passed by Congress in 1995. Jerusalem has been the capital of a Jewish state for some 3,000 years so such a recognition is long overdue. Indeed, it was President Obama who declared Jerusalem the “eternal capital of the Jewish people”.

While the city is holy to all faiths and this is something Israel respects (something the Arabs never did when they had control of the old city between 1948 and 1967), Palestinian claims to Jerusalem as their capital have no basis in fact or history. There has never been a Palestinian entity or nation in history, let alone a Palestinian capital city.

Moreover, the Palestinians have lost a lot of sympathy due to their own actions. They could long have had a state (for the first time in history) and a capital in East Jerusalem had they chosen the path of co-existence. Sadly, co-existence is not part of their plan. They refused an offer of a state in 1937 by the Peel commission (the “two-states” solution). They refused a similar offer by the UN in 1947. After the war of 1967, when the Arabs failed to annihilate the tiny Jewish state, Israel offered to return the captured territories in exchange for peace (an offer embedded in UN resolution 242) but this too was refused. They wanted the territories but not the peace. They would not accept a state of their own because such an acceptance meant recognition of Israel’s right to exist. Instead, they always chose the path of war and terror.
Joshua Rowe

• The US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has provoked uproar. Western politicians and the mainstream media are lining up to condemn Trump’s action as unhelpful to and even destructive of the peace process. Governments will instruct their ambassadors to register protest in the strongest possible terms and editorials will cite this as another example of Trump’s incoherent and reckless foreign policy.

But Trump and Netanyahu know that this is all wind and fury; that, slowly and quietly, other western governments will follow suit; that UN resolutions condemning Israel will be vetoed or abstained; that economic boycotts will be opposed and that the use of overwhelming force to crush protest will be excused as self-defence. Most of all, they know they hold the ace of trumps: the antisemite card. Make no mistake, what is unfolding is a process of ruthless and relentless colonisation, backed by deadly force. This is not some deplorable event from previous centuries, for which we can apologise and move on. This is happening now. We, the west, can stop it – and must take responsibility if we don’t.
Christopher Sterling
Harpenden, Hertfordshire

• It’s easy to condemn Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital (Letters, 8 December) but it’s hard to argue with Israel’s assertion that he is simply acknowledging the reality. And the reality is that the international community has totally failed to hold Israel to account for its violations of international law; that the “peace process” was only ever an excuse for Israel to expand its settlements; that the US was never an honest broker in the negotiations; that there was never a realistic prospect of a two-state solution; and that the Oslo accords were a disaster for the Palestinians in that they enabled Israel to solidify its occupation of the West Bank. It’s time for a new approach and a different vision of the endgame.
Leon Rosselson

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