On Saturday, Feb 24, 2018, US President Donald Trump announced that the plan to set up the American embassy in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, made late last year has been moved up. With expectations that the move would not be made until 2019, Trump stated the embassy will begin its transfer to Jerusalem in May this year.
The first step will see American Ambassador David Friedman and a small support staff set up an office in the Jerusalem neighborhood Arnona giving it official American status.
Over the next several months, the rest of the staff will be moved over as facilities are prepared for their arrival. A new building will also be constructed at a different location.
In his February announcement, Trump said it was an anniversary gift for the Israelis. May 14th is Israel’s Independence Day and this years marks the 70th anniversary of Israel’s restoration as a nation.
Shortly after Trump made his May announcement, Guatemala stated it would be moving its embassy in mid-May as well. For security reasons, the government did not state where it will put the new embassy.
When Israel became a nation in 1948, it immediately set up Jerusalem as its capital. However, Israel is the only nation in the world, where countries do not have their embassies in the country’s capital city. Done largely to appease the Palestinians, countries set up their embassise in Tel Aviv 54 kms away.
Predictably Trump’s December announcement enraged the Palestinians. However, Muslims still control the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and have even made outrageous claims that the Jews never had a temple in Jerusalem and have no ancient claim to the city.
By refusing to move their embassies to Jerusalem, nations are directly or indirectly supporting the Palestinian claim that Jerusalem is not Israel’s historical capital.
UNESCO, an educational and cultural organization that is part of the UN, has long been dominated by Muslim countries and it has been used to question Israel’s claims to Israel and Jerusalem.
At its annual meeting held in July last year, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee declared Israel the “occupier of the Western Wall and Jerusalem’s old city.” The same committee declared Jewish sites such Hebron and the cave of the Patriarchs as Palestinian sites, not Jewish ones.
Hebron is the place where Abraham purchased land to bury his wife Sarah (Genesis 23). Though he never saw it fulfilled in his lifetime, Abraham received a promise from God his descendants would inherit the land known today as Israel.
The cave at Hebron has always held political and religious significance for the Jews because it was a token purchase of land in a region that would eventually be the home of Israel. Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob and others were also buried in the tomb known today as the Cave of the Patriarchs.
According to the Bible, Jerusalem was the name King David gave a city called Jebus after he conquered the Jebusites (1 Chronicles 11:4-9). He then declared it Israel’s capital city.
Recently, Israel Antiquities Authority released a scrap of papyri that establishes the Jew’s ancient claim to Jerusalem. The words written on the papyri reads “From the king’s maidservant from Nahart, jars of wine, to Jerusalem.”
It is significant because carbon dating of the papyrus makes it 2,700 years old and it is the oldest reference to Jerusalem outside the Bible connecting it with Israel.
The reference to the king also shows that Israel had set up a monarchy very early in its history, again supporting the Biblical record.
There are also hints that Greece is on the verge of moving its embassy to Jerusalem.
With a looming election, it is expected, that New Democracy (ND), Greece’s official opposition party, will form the next government. On a recent trip to Israel, ND’s VP, Adonis Georgiadis, met with Israelis officials.
On his return, Skat Radio interview him on March 7, 2018 where he spoke of Israel’s ancient claim to the city and hinted his party, if elected, would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by moving its embassy. Though the interviewer cited Palestinian’s recent claims to the city, the ND VP was unswayed:
“[Jerusalem] was founded by the Jews in ancient times. You can read Flavius Josephus or read Diodoros Siceliotis and see the references to the city of Jerusalem, where there was a high priest of Solomon’s Temple and that it was the city of the Jews. This is reality….
[In response to interviewer’s statement on Palestinian claims] “I don’t disagree, but this city is from the beginning a Jewish city. They made it, they founded it, it’s theirs. Now, President Trump’s decision to transfer the US embassy to Jerusalem is a little bit provocative…. But I have to say I am in favor of the decision, rather than against it.”