If it had been up to Britain and France, there might never have been a modern state of Israel. The Palestine territory or Mandatory Palestine, as it is now posthumously called, might have winked at the possibility of a Jewish homeland when it was carved out of former Ottoman territory after WW I, but it was only through revolt and then outright civil war that the modern state of Israel was born in 1948. The French had handed TransJordan its independence by then.

Both Jews and Arabs were willing to fight and die and even use terror in the early Arab-Israeli wars. But Palestinians have never recognized Israel nor have ever viewed it as legitimate. So having lost the war some 70 years ago, and their Arab allies like Egypt having lost several wars since, they now use terror and victimhood as weapons in a media campaign to isolate and condemn Israel at every turn possible.

And what better turn than the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem? This is something long promised by more than a few politicians but always withdrawn or ignored or conveniently left to gather dust. Until now. Trump actually has done it, much to the outrage of the foreign policy establishment, who now have the revoking of the Iran Deal, the embassy in Jerusalem, and the talks with North Korea to feed on and to use to attempt to discredit the Trump administration.

And Palestinian victims are of course front and center as the world’s media can point at the violence on the border between Israel and Palestine and say: thou has wrought this O Ye President!

Maybe not so much. That protests would occur was a given, but it seems that wholesale rushing of crowds at and over the fencing separating Israel and the Palestine territories was promoted by Hamas leaders in order to produce an event with as much violence as possible. And it worked. That is, we now have more deaths which can be used to fuel more cannon fodder with rage and send them onto the barricades of barbed wire and metal to provoke and maybe die.

But these are tactics, as bloody as they may be. The strategy is to dismantle Israel as if Israel was an apartheid South Africa. And for any Israeli, how can there be any possibility of peace or any deal between Palestinians and Israelis when the objective is to tear down your state and expel Jewish people from the Holy Land?

Which brings us beyond strategy to questions of faith and of philosophy. Why merely rely on ruffled BBC anchors announcing the latest casualty figures? When you can – like Daniel Seidemann a left-wing activist – say the following:

Jeffress embodies the true significance of moving the embassy to Jerusalem: transforming ‘pro-Israel’ into a wholly owned subsidiary of the ‘end-of-days’ evangelical alt-right.

Seidemann is referring to Roberts Jeffress of the First Baptist megachurch in Dallas, who attended the opening ceremony and who was previously attacked in a tweet by Mitt Romney that claimed:

Robert Jeffress says ‘you can’t be saved by being a Jew,’ and ‘Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.’ He’s said the same about Islam. Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.

Excuse me Mitt, but Christians do in fact believe that Jesus Christ is the only path to salvation. That’s not an extreme, radical view. It’s the central tenet of the faith. Yes, many don’t say it out loud any more because of lack of faith, or the desire not to offend. As for heresy, Christianity – as well as Judaism and Islam – has been racked and torn by deep divisions since its birth. Mormonism being perhaps merely a latter example. And of course, we’re an odd, heretical revolt that left the Jewish faith some 2,000 years ago, if your perspective is Jewish. So while Jeffress is hardly a model of tolerance, what he says is not as outrageous as Romney makes it out to be. The way Jeffress goes about it is another matter.

It may be that for some Christians, like Jeffress, modern Israel is a metaphor for coming judgement, rather than a key ally and the only real democracy in the region. That is, at least politically, a limiting view and a strategic mistake. But it’s one more ingredient in an impossible situation in an ancient land where 3 religions have long staked their claims. The status quo is violent. Change risks even more violence. This is what Jerusalem has become. And what it has been many times over in the past.

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