Banners thanking President Trump were on display in Israel in December.
Abir Sultan/European Pressphoto Agency
In 1919, David Ben-Gurion, who 29 years later would become the founding prime minister of Israel, dismissed the possibility of peace.
Speaking at a public discussion, he said:
‘Everyone sees the difficulty of relations between Jews and Arabs but not everyone sees that there is no solution to that question. There is no solution. There is an abyss and nothing can fill that abyss… We want Palestine to be ours as a nation. The Arabs want it to be theirs, as a nation.’
Almost a century on, Ben-Gurion’s prescience, in this statement, is clear. Today, Jerusalem, contested city, is adorned with banners saying: “God Bless Trump. From Jerusalem DC (David’s Capital) to Washington DC.”
President Trump’s rash recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, its boundaries to be determined, has won him friends in Israel even as it has envenomed the festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
One thing is safe to say about 2018: It will not bring peace to the Holy Land. Peace is not built on provocations or ultimate-deal fantasy.
Tom Segev, a prominent Israeli historian who has just completed a biography of Ben-Gurion, told me Israel’s founding father was not much interested in Jerusalem when he first went to Ottoman Palestine in 1906. He was not drawn to ‘David’s capital,’ preferring to stay with the Jewish pioneers in Petah Tikva and elsewhere.
‘Jerusalem had too many Orthodox Jews, who were anti-Zionist, and too many Arabs,’ Segev said. Ben-Gurion was interested in forging a new Jew: the scrawny scholars of the European shtetl poring over sacred texts would become vigorous tillers of the soil. ‘Tel Aviv was the capital of Zionism; Jerusalem of Judaism,’ Segev suggested.
Op de CIDI-website van woensdag 21 november 2018 schreef Hidde J. van Koningsveld:
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