In March of 2019, President Donald Trump made a very bold move and shut down the United States consulate in Jerusalem that served as an embassy to the Palestinians. This decision came only months after making the historic decision to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the Holy City as Israel’s capital.
Just days after getting into office, however, President Joe Biden promised the Palestinian Authority that he would reopen a consulate for them in Jerusalem. But just last week, the Times of Israel, quoting unnamed US and PA officials, reported that the Biden administration had dropped their plan to reopen the consulate for the Palestinians and would instead appoint the current top State Department diplomat for the region, Hady Amr, as a special envoy to the Palestinians. Apparently they changed their minds once again, because on May 31st, State Department spokesman, Ned Price, was quoted as saying that the Biden administration remains committed to reopening a U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, and is further discussing the issue with Israelis and Palestinians. Why is the Biden administration so “committed” to reopening a consulate for the Palestinians? Do they really think this move will bring peace? I can say with confidence that Jerusalem as a divided capital can never truly have peace.
Let’s dive into why Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal capital and why the United States has no right to try and divide it.
From a religious standpoint, Jerusalem is mentioned over 800 times in the Bible. When King David conquered the city around 1000 B.C., he named it as Israel’s capital. In King Solomon’s prayer for the dedication of the Holy Temple, he said, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who has fulfilled with His hands what He spoke with His mouth to my father David, saying, ‘Since the day that I brought My people out of the land of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel in which to build a house, that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man to be a ruler over My people Israel. Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.’” (2 Chronicles 5:4-6) If God Himself said he chose Jerusalem, I don’t think it’s a very good idea to argue with that.
In 1948, when the U.N. voted to partition Israel into Arab and Jewish states, Israel reaffirmed Jerusalem as their capital and even put it into their national anthem, “Hatikvah:” “It is two thousand years old, to be a free people in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem.” But then in the 1948 War of Independence, Jordanian forces conquered and occupied the eastern part of Jerusalem containing the historic Jewish Quarter, the Temple Mount, and the Western Wall. Nineteen years later, in 1967, Israel took back Jerusalem and essentially, once and for all, declared it Israel’s capital! Israel is not “occupying” Jerusalem. They took back what was rightfully theirs in a six-day defensive war. Every Israeli prime minister since the 1967 war has declared the city to be “the eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish State.” Winston Churchill, who recognized the importance of the Jews being in Jerusalem, remarked to British diplomat Evelyn Shuckburgh, “You ought to let the Jews have Jerusalem; it was they who made it famous.”
In 1992, President Bill Clinton said, “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and must remain an undivided city.” In 1995, the U.S. Congress passed the “Jerusalem Embassy Act,” calling Jerusalem the undivided capital of Israel and requiring the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem by 1999. It finally took Donald Trump, in 2019, to muster up the courage to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem and recognize it as Israel’s capital.
Last Sunday was Jerusalem Day, the day to celebrate the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967. Tens of thousands of people gathered in the streets of the city to celebrate and rejoice together. It was so beautiful to see the people of Israel come together in unity to rejoice over their eternal capital.
We’ve seen that Jerusalem belongs to God and that the Jewish people have no right to give away or divide what God has given. The Biden administration needs to be careful when messing with God’s Holy City. In 2019, the United States made a giant step forward in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; now it seems they have taken two steps backwards in being so “committed” to opening a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem and basically acknowledging that Jerusalem can be a part of a Palestinian state as well as Israel’s capital.
In Zechariah 1:15, God says, “I am zealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great zeal. I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; for I was a little angry, and they helped—but with evil intent.” The God of Israel will not tolerate the nations trying to divide Jerusalem!