PRESIDENT TRUMP IS CRUCIFYING JERUSALEM, THE HOLY CITY OF PEACE
U.S. President Donald J. Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the political capital of the State of Israel. With a stroke of his pen – in one fell swoop of political posturing – he betrayed centuries-old international commitments to a shared city. Although many will shrink into their ignorance of Jerusalem’s context by applauding President Trump’s naïve and misguided claims in “the pursuit of peace,” HCEF maintains that the fate of Jerusalem cannot and should not be decided by any single political leader or foreign government.
How can it be that after 2000 years of faithful and shared custody over their Holy City, Palestinians, Christian and Muslim, should lose their right to their spiritual and geographical home overnight? It is incomprehensible to consider Jerusalem under the sole jurisdiction of any one faith or political entity. Jerusalem should be shared by two peoples, Palestinian and Israeli, and the three monotheistic faiths of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
President Trump’s words and actions do not only threaten Palestinian access to the city, but they also threaten to disrupt the very character of Jerusalem itself.
As Pope Francis has cautioned in his recent remarks, Jerusalem is a unique city sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, where the Holy Places for the respective religions are venerated, and [where there is] a special vocation to peace … such identity must be preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East, and the entire world ….
To dedicate Jerusalem to Israel under the false pretenses of upholding a U.S.-led peace process insults our intelligence and undermines our better judgment. As Edward Said wrote in an essay on Jerusalem several years ago, a strong campaign that recognizes Jerusalem as a complex and multivalence city is precisely the kind of antidote we need to the drifting, impossibly unwise course now being undertaken … beneath the tattered banners of the peace process. I do not see that overly praised and defended process as leading to the kind of peace most people can live with for any length of time ….
If an Israeli-administered Jerusalem is the kind of peace that the U.S. and Israel hope to procure, then it seems a real and lasting peace for this generation is not at hand.
Through his words and actions, President Trump is adding himself to the long list of individuals who seek to lay claim to Jerusalem for their private interests and personal gain, disregarding the history, the laws, and the complexity of the facts on the ground.
Jesus’ earliest followers are the Palestinian Christians, the “Living stones of the Holy Land,” who are an integral part of the Palestinian people. Lest we forget, Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth and other parts of the Holy Land, is the only prophet who spent many years in Jerusalem. It is there where he was judged, crucified, and resurrected. We ask all Christians not to let Jerusalem and Palestinian Christians be crucified. Do not be silent as the Holy City becomes endangered.
HCEF denounces President Trump’s decision and asks that peace-loving people around the world raise their voices against any move that would hand over Jerusalem, whether symbolically or effectively, to any one single party, including the State of Israel. We ask that in these historic moments on which the future hinges, that you stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people by advocating against any entity that would seek to destroy a shared Jerusalem. To the would-be conquerors of our Holy City, we say: “Keep your hands off of Jerusalem.” Jerusalem is for all.
Rateb Y. Rabie, KCHS
HCEF President and CEO