Gary Curtis: Israel at 70


In spite of entrenched resistance by many of its Arab neighbors, the modern nation of Israel is a reality and a “miracle”—70 years in the making and deserving of international recognition and celebration.

Recently, U.S. President Trump publicly recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State. This seems odd since it has been the functional capital since modern Israel declared itself a state in 1948. Its democratic-based government buildings for its legislative, judicial, and executive branches are located there, as are the residences for the president and prime minister.

But the recognition of this ancient Jewish capital has been a political “hot potato” due to the international political rejection of the Jewish right to live as a Jewish-majority state by the neighboring Islamic-Arab states and their allies.

The U.S. Congress unanimously passed the U.S. Embassy Act of 1995, recognizing Jerusalem as the declared capital of Israel and funding the relocation of our embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, to complete our recognition of modern Israel, itself. Yet, U.S. presidents have delayed doing so, certifying a waiver to this law, every six months, asserting that it was “not in our national interests,” at that time, with the politically sensitive Islamic-Arab nations.

Again, President Trump moved to fulfill campaign promises regarding Israel by deciding to move the embassy to an existing U.S. owned facility in Jerusalem and designate it as the U.S. Embassy, during this year of celebration of the modern state of Israel.

This embassy was inaugurated and officially opened last Monday, the 14th of May, which is also the Anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence and the founding of the new nation, in 1948. It remains to be seen if or when Arab leaders will respond with political posturing or military mayhem.

Seeing Hamas stir up tens of thousands of young Palestinians to storm the Gaza border in violent actions is disheartening, after decades of “peace talks” and Israelis actually exchanging land for peace with their neighbors. These supposed “non-violent protests,” following the weekly Friday prayers at Muslim mosques, actually organize Palestinian teenagers and terrorist groups to try to infiltrate Israel to harm or kidnap its citizens and destroy the livelihood of its farmers. They seek to cut the border fence and throw rocks and bottles of burning gas at Israeli soldiers and to plant explosives and fly incendiary devices on kites into Israel to burn up their crops.

This planned violence has needlessly resulted in at least 50 Palestinian deaths in the past weeks.

Golda Meir, one of Israel’s early Prime Ministers, is quoted as saying,“We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”

Israel is a political and physical reality. It has been established among 51 Arab states, at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa for seven decades. The world will be better off and peace can be enjoyed by Arabs and Jews, alike, if we all accept Israel’s right to exist and work together to eliminate hatred in exchange for peace for ourselves, our children, and neighbors.

Gary Curtis is a Santa Clarita resident.

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