On Wednesday afternoon, President Trump made an important announcement regarding changes to American policy in the Middle East. He announced that Jerusalem will be recognized as the capital of Israel.
Along with the change in capital recognition, President Trump gave details about moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The announcement brought both praise and criticism. Regardless of views, this is a significant change and understanding the history of it is essential in forming a firm opinion.
According to Breitbart, many people have had trouble understanding why this change is so significant. After all, Israelis already consider Jerusalem their capital and the Israeli parliament, the prime minister's office, the president's residence, and the Supreme Court are already located there.
However, this change is significant, even just for symbolic reasons, particularly because of the biblical history surrounding the Old City. Breitbart outlined exactly why this decision is connected to biblical significance.
2 Samuel 5 outlines King David's ruling and how he established Jerusalem as his capital city.
1 Kings 8 highlights that King Solomon installed the Ark of the Covenant and built the Holy Temple in the Old City.
In the Jewish faith, Jerusalem is considered the most important physical place. While it also holds holy significance to Christians and Muslims, and while they both also have a prominent place in the quarters of the Old City, it is considered the most important in Judaism.
The Old Testament describes when Babylonians exiled Jews from Jerusalem, though they later returned to rebuild the Temple. In 70 A.D., the Romans exiled many Jews again and destroyed the rebuilt Temple as well as the city.
In the nineteenth century, many Jews returned to the area, which was called Palestine at that time, in the Zionist movement. There was a goal of re-establishing Israel as a modern state. In 1917, British government called the area the Jewish "national home."
In 1947, the United Nations approved a move to separate Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state where neither had complete power. While the Jews accepted the plan, the Arabs rejected it and declared war. 1948-1967 was a time of particular division as Jerusalem was divided into two parts.
Then, the monumental Six Day War of 1967 took place. Israel, in a surprise victory, took control of the Sinai peninsula, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. While Israelis also took control of all of Jerusalem, Arabs still refused to negotiate. The next decades brought consistent conflict, but there have been consistent prayers for a "return to Zion."
President Trump has promised several times to establish a strong relationship with Israelis. Now, he is showing that to be true in his decision to recognize Jerusalem as their capital and by moving the U.S. embassy to the city. However, he still made it clear that he would be in favor of the two-state approach if they determined it was best.
While it does not change the conflict that has been taking place, President Trump believes that it will help in the establishment of peace. For Israelis, Breitbart reports that it "represents the fulfillment of thousands of years of Jewish prayer, and over a century of Zionist efforts to establish and protect a Jewish state in the ancient homeland of the Jewish people."
Watch the live video of President Trump's announcement here.