Thursday, March 24, 2005

More on sovereignty

Who decides what is the capital of a country? You may be forgiven fo thinking it's the country itself who decides, because if you're not a Jew, you would be right.

What's my point? Apart from the principle itself? (not a minor issue, I might add).

The point is that the capital is where other countries have their embassies. Not that there are that many who have diplomatic relations with Israel (86 countries out of about 200). Of those 86, exactly 3 have their embassy in Jerusalem, one of which is the International Christian Embassy, and I have no clue who they are (but they're friends of the Jews, I know that much). The rest have their embassy in Tel-Aviv. If Israel's lucky, they may have a consulate in Jerusalem as well.

Why does Israel even allow other countries to decide where they choose to have an embassy? Countries can choose to have an ambassador in Israel, or not. Most in fact choose not to. But to allow other countries effectively to say "We think Tel-Aviv is your capital, and not any city you choose" is outrageous. Imagine saying that to Chirac, or Blair.

Why does Israel choose to swallow these insults, these breaches of sovereignty? As a matter of principle, it could deny any embassies in Tel-Aviv, and it would be in its right to do so. Of course, there would be consequences, perhaps serious ones, but currently Israel is acknowledging that these possible consequences are effective as a means of blackmail and extortion. Which means that Israeli sovereignty is an illusion.

Of course, Israel is not alone in caving in to external pressures. In 1995, the US actually adopted a law stating its embassy must be located in Jerusalem, which (the law also states) is the capital of Israel.
Since that time (10 years ago now) Both Clinton and Bush have on multiple occasions cited 'security concerns' as their reason to delay the relocation of their embassy.
The American government continues to fear that moving the embassy would infuriate Palestinians and other Arabs, who would see it as recognition of Israel's annexation of the eastern half of Jerusalem.
Of course the relocation would piss the Arabs off. And that's something both Jews and Americans will only do in dire need. I have some bad news for the Americans, and for the Jews waiting for them to move their embassy to the city of David: There will NEVER be a time when the Arabs will agree to this relocation. So the relocation will then never take place?

There's a word for this type of behaviour. It's called 'fear'. And it is the dominant factor in any policy where the Arabs are concerned.


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