OPINION | The capital of Israel is Jerusalem, and Obama should have the courage to say so.
By Katie Pavlich – 10/04/16 05:33 PM EDT
Late last week, the White House sent out a press release featuring remarks made by President Obama at the memorial service for former Israeli President Shimon Peres. The location on the original release was marked Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, Israel.
“I could not be more honored to be in Jerusalem to say farewell to my friend Shimon Peres, who showed us that justice and hope are at the heart of the Zionist idea,” Obama said in his opening remarks. “A free life, in a homeland regained. A secure life, in a nation that can defend itself, by itself. A full life, in friendship with nations who can be counted on as allies, always. A bountiful life, driven by simple pleasures of family and by big dreams. This was Shimon Peres’s life. This is the State of Israel. This is the story of the Jewish people over the last century, and it was made possible by a founding generation that counts Shimon as one of its own.”
Soon after, another release was sent featuring the same remarks with a different header, simply reading: Mount Herzl, Jerusalem.Why the change from the White House? After all, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, one of America’s strongest allies in the Middle East deserving of priority even during the most controversial of disputes.
“The administration’s policy toward Jerusalem follows that of previous US administrations — of both parties — since 1967,” the White House told The Jerusalem Post about the “correction.” “The status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final-status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. We continue to work with the parties to resolve this issue and others in a way this is just and fair, and respects the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.”
The real answer is as obvious as it is unnecessary. Jerusalem will always be the capital of Israel, even if someday a peace agreement were to be reached. The change came as a way to appease the Palestinians and their leftist allies, who of course have attempted to erase all previously established Jewish history in Jerusalem for centuries. The change was also likely made as a way to prevent violence in response to the declaration from the United States that Jerusalem belongs to Israel, as if those carrying the ideology that has fueled terrorism against innocent Israelis for decades need an excuse.
In the category of U.S. interest, Israeli intelligence services regularly share valuable and essential information about the Middle East. As the region has all but collapsed under Obama’s leadership, Israel has been a reliable, steady, stable force in the region. The Palestinians, however, have partnered with enemy terrorist organizations and have repeatedly taken advantage of good will in order to take innocent life.
Despite being constantly under attack, Israeli doctors and nurses treat Palestinian terrorists in their hospitals, and the Jewish state regularly sends humanitarian aid and assistance to Gaza, even in the middle of wars. Over the years that aid hasn’t been used to promote peace and a better way of life, but instead to build tunnels for future attacks on the Israeli people. The small minority of Palestinians who truly believe in peace are bullied into silence for fear of being killed for admitting so.
In the private sector, Israel has more companies on the Nasdaq than any other country in the world, producing life-saving technology and medical devices. Palestinians and their leftist supporters boycott all of these products, services and information in the name of “human rights,” despite Israel being the only democracy in the Middle East surrounded by severe intolerance.
While Tel Aviv hosts the world’s largest gay pride parade each year, those even suspected of being gay are dragged through the streets in Gaza, and women are treated as slaves and property.
These are just a handful of examples that represent the relationship between the U.S. and Israel as a healthy partnership that promotes human dignity and freedom all around the world, rather than extreme ideological oppression. The U.S. relationship with the Palestinians is a limited, one-way street for a number of reasons, one prominently being a lack of common moral values.
The moral equivalency between the Palestinians and Israel constantly drawn by the White House is not only inaccurate, it elevates evil to the same level as true good. Denying that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel does nothing to promote peace — instead, it disrespects a longtime, helpful and humane ally in the Middle East.
The capital of Israel is Jerusalem, it always will be, and the White House should have the courage to stand by saying so.
Pavlich is editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.