Egyptian-American Haisam Hassanein Writes ‘Arabs Must Accept Jerusalem’s Status’


This op-ed in the NY Daily News is an absolute must-read by Egyptian-American Haisam Hassanein.


On Wednesday, the Trump administration declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It is the right decision and long overdue to repair the historical injustice and recognize the reality of many decades that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people. As God told Moses in the Koran, “O my people, enter the Holy Land which Allah has assigned to you.”

As an Arab American who grew up in the Middle East, I was taught from a young age that Jews have no right in Jerusalem and the whole of Israel is Arab land. Hence, I am astonished to hear some U.S. pundits objecting to Trump’s move on the grounds that it makes it less likely a Palestinian president will sign a document dividing Jerusalem or even acknowledging the Jewish right in the holy city.

It is also always puzzling to witness Arab officials lie about their acceptance of Jewish rights in Jerusalem. I was taught at school, mosque and on television that Jews have no historical claim to and no rights in the holy city.

As my Arab history teacher once said in middle school, “Jews do not belong or own one meter in Jerusalem.”

A clear recent example took place on Wednesday following Trump’s announcement: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stressed Muslim and Christian heritage in the holy city without mentioning anything related to Jewish rights.

Based on my personal experience, I think U.S. policymakers over many years have been irrational, even deluded, to think that millions of Arabs — let alone Palestinians — will accept a peace settlement acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State.

The fact is, insisting upon this up front, laying this down essentially as a non-negotiable, is the only chance the idea will ever get through their heads.

Acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital just may be the necessary breath of fresh air we need: It will settle this issue, and if they want and need a state, Palestinians will have to move on to issues that truly deserve and demand negotiations.

Read the whole thing.

By the way, Haisam Hassanein pursued his masters degree in Middle Eastern studies at Tel Aviv University. Here he is giving the Valedictorian Address:

This says it all really – do you think even one Israeli has ever been allowed to pursue any degree at an Egyptian university, let alone give the Valedictorian Address?

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