To the editor:
I am disappointed by Pope Francis’ opposition to President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and to Trump’s plan to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In the six-day war of 1967, Israel achieved one of the the biggest triumphs in military history after Israel was attacked by several Arab nations that intended Israel’s total destruction. After Jordan failed in its attempts to occupy the Israeli section of Jerusalem, Israel took control of the Jordanian section, East Jerusalem, and declared all of Jerusalem its capital. Israel began construction projects in a reunited city and otherwise endeavored to prevent Jerusalem from ever again becoming divided. Five decades of Israeli development permanently changed Jerusalem’s demography.
In October 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty. Neither then or now has Jordan asked Israel to return East Jerusalem to Jordan. If East Jerusalem was to become the capital of a sovereign Palestinian state, Israel would undoubtedly be subjected to even more acts of aggression and terrorism than it is experiencing now. As Michael B. Oren, former ambassador of Israel to the United States observes in his book “Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide,” “the terrorists, together with new Arab and Iranian state supporters, would still try to massacre us even if every Israeli settlement was removed” (from areas the Palestinian Authority wants Israel to vacate).
The pope should recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish nation.