The opening of America’s embassy in Jerusalem, Israel, is a joyous day here at the Sun. We thought the ceremony was handled beautifully by Ambassador Friedman and the delegation representing President Trump, including his daughter and son in law, and by all of Israel’s leaders who spoke, including President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu. Rarely have America and Israel been so profoundly in accord as in respect of Jerusalem.
Your editor first visited Jerusalem as a young foreign correspondent in the summer of 1967, three weeks after the city’s liberation, when the logic of Israeli sovereignty emerged in the clarifying light of war. We began writing editorials about what we’ve come to call the Battle of Jerusalem in August of 1994. That was when Prime Minister Rabin and the Hashemite monarch, King Hussein, signed an accord that gave Jordan priority over the city’s various holy sites.
That concession was a mistake, a marker of the fact that no concession to the Arab side could purchase the paper it’s written on. Each step has seemed only to incite more resentment. “The Battle of Jerusalem” featured in two dozen or three dozen editorials that we’ve written since. There’s no reason to think that it’s over. The longer this drama has dragged out, the more clear it has become that any peace process could not really start until Jerusalem was secure.
So moving the embassy is a step in the direction of peace, a point marked by several of the key speakers in Jerusalem today, including, with particular eloquence, Jared Kushner. And in the op-ed piece by E.V. Kontorovich, which appeared yesterday in the Wall Street Journal. Professor Kontorovich has emerged without peer in the clarity of his thinking on this beat. Moving the embassy, he writes, means that America “no longer buys into the legal theory behind claims of Israeli ‘occupation.’”
This won’t stop the left, as Ira Stoll points out in his column today. He quotes a journalist of the Economist as suggesting that the deaths in Gaza are the “result of America abandoning all semblance of fair-dealing in Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Such malarky is why Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke of the connection between truth and peace. No lies could dilute the joy that animated Mr. Netanyahu’s injunction to “remember this moment.” How could any lover of Zion forget?