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A New Approach to Peace in the Middle East

January 3, 2018
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Jerusalem: Capital of Israel

“Israel, like all nations, has the right to determine its capital city…It is simple common sense that foreign embassies be located there. In virtually every country in the world, U.S. embassies are located in the host country’s capital city. Israel should be no different…Our actions are intended to help advance the cause of peace. We must recognize that peace is advanced, not set back, when all parties are honest with each other. Our actions reflected an honest assessment of reality.”

Mark Neyman/gopphoto.gov.il

—Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, addressing the UN Security Council

“Pretending that Jerusalem isn’t what it is, is a formula for continued self-delusion. What Jerusalem is, is the capital of Israel, both as the ancestral Jewish homeland and the modern nation-state.”

—Bret Stephens, Op-ed in the New York Times

“Whoever does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel does not recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state…A recognition by the United States and by other countries of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will make it clear to the Palestinians that they must accept the existence of Israel and that it is time to conduct real negotiations for peace with Israel.”


—Yisrael Katz, Israel’s Minister of Transportation, addressing Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference

A New Approach to the Conflict

“We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. All challenges demand new approaches. My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this is a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace.

“Peace is never beyond the grasp of those willing to reach it.”

 —US President Donald Trump, announcing US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Jerusalem—Not an Obstacle to Peace

“What President Trump has done is put facts squarely on the table. Peace is based on reality…Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, no one can deny it. It doesn’t obviate peace, it makes peace possible.”

—Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, addressing the EU in Brussels

“President Trump’s declaration marks a milestone—for Israel, for peace and for the world. The Palestinians can choose violence as they have always done, or they can choose to join us at the negotiating table.”

—Danny Danon, Israeli UN ambassador, in response to Trump announcement

“Jerusalem is not, and never will be, an obstacle to peace for those who want peace. As it is written, ‘Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, may all that love her prosper, may there be peace in her quarters and palaces.’”

—Reuven Rivlin, Israel’s president, in response to Trump announcement

“This move is not an impediment to peace. It’s a drastic move towards peace…when (our enemies) understand that essentially the US is adding another brick to the foundations of the Jewish nation we make a big move forward towards peace.”

Public Domain

—Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Minister of Education

“In order for negotiations to succeed…you have to get the parties into what I call ‘the box of realism.’ And, unfortunately, those who have been engaged in peace negotiations on the Palestinian side haven’t been there…Partly, it’s the fault of organizations like UNESCO, which in May 2017 adopted yet another resolution which cut off the historical and legal ties of Israel to Jerusalem. And in a certain sense, what President Trump has done, he has introduced an important correction—I may say a brave correction…”

—Dore Gold, former Israel Foreign Ministry Director-General

“Acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is also essential for peace. I think that what peace requires is to be built on the foundation of truth, on the facts of the past and on the present. This is the only way that you can build a pluralistic and successful future. The sooner the Palestinians come to the realization, the sooner we will have peace.”

—Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, at press conference in Paris

“It’s unfortunate that the Palestinian Authority is walking away again from an opportunity to discuss the future of the region, but the administration remains undeterred in its efforts to help achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians and our peace team remains hard at work putting together a plan.”

—Representative of Mike Pence, US Vice-President (making statement about Pence’s visit to Israel

Voices in Opposition

“Trump’s decision will not change the reality in the city of Jerusalem. This is a Palestinian, Arab, Islamic city and it is the capital of the Arab Palestine…These deplorable and unacceptable measures deliberately undermine all peace [and are] tantamount to the United States abdicating its role as a peace mediator.”

Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority

“We should call for and we should work on launching an intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy.”

—Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas leader

“If he says what he is intending to say about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, it means a kiss of death to the two state solution…He is declaring war in the Middle East, he is declaring war against 1.5 billion Muslims (and) hundreds of millions of Christians that are not going to accept the holy shrines to be totally under the hegemony of Israel.”

Intifada Riots/www.mfa.gov.il

— Manuel Hassassian, Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic representative to the UK

“Trump’s decision regarding Jerusalem is a type of kindling of a religious conflict and encouraging of terror and violence.”

—Azzam Al-Ahmad, Fatah Movement Central Committee member

“The only realistic solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is based on two states with Jerusalem as the capital of both.”

—Federica Mogherini, EU Foreign Affairs and Security, meeting with Netanyahu in Brussels

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