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Marples: Jerusalem as capital of Israel is common sense, may lead to peace

By James A. Marples
Dec. 23, 2017 at 4 a.m.

I've read several articles in the News-Journal about the recent decision to "officially" recognize the ancient city of Jerusalem as the capital of the nation of Israel. This decision is just good, plain common sense. It is certainly better than continuing the farce of having the secondary city of Tel-Aviv have that status.

Jerusalem is mentioned many times in the Holy Bible. It may be mentioned as Salem — a word that denotes peace — and has been the Jewish capital for 3,000 years. It is even accorded respect by Christians and Muslims as a holy city. Having a "unified capital" should be welcomed, because it avoids confusion.

Compare it to Longview and its environs. We have sections of Longview that were annexed to be part of a greater Longview: Greggton, Spring Hill, Pine Tree, etc. Once upon a time, Greggton had its own post office. Now, it relies on the Longview post office, just like every other segment of the city. The same parallels can be drawn for city water service, sanitation, police patrols and fire department responses. Residents still are free to come and go, and even Spring Hill ISD and Pine Tree ISD still exist. Yet, when we describe an area to someone from across the state and mention Longview, they know precisely what we mean.

Capitals are a seat of government. Capitals also can be a seat of commerce, industry and places of sacred importance. With regard to the latter: Jews, Christians and Muslims still are free to worship as they see fit. Even Roman Catholics acknowledge the pivotal role of Jerusalem to the cultivation and spread of Christianity. There is a papal knighthood called the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. I know because in the year 1998, I was invested with such a papal knighthood.

There is no way a so-called two-state solution toward Jerusalem would work. It would continue the perpetual tug of war. Some of the bloodiest wars in history have been fought in the name of religion. The Hebrews have been good custodians of the land. The Palestinians, with a few exceptions, keep their land a barren wasteland.

I am somewhat disappointed in former President Jimmy Carter (whom I like and admire for his Habitat for Humanity work). I think he is a good and moral man, but I am shocked by his bias toward the Palestinians and bias against Israel. I still respect Carter as a gentleman and wish him well in his recovery from cancer, which reportedly is in remission. Yet, Carter threw away his one signature achievement: At Camp David he arranged for the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the late Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to shake hands with him, in a three-way handshake, which many never thought would happen. Peace was attainable. The only fly in the ointment: the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.

The PLO has been a known terrorist organization for decades. Its adherents throw Molotov cocktails and seek violence, instead of diplomacy. I don't begrudge Israel and its capital Jerusalem in particular for taking steps to ensure Israeli border security remains intact. Israel was attacked by many Muslim nations in both 1967 and 1973. Although I was just a kid, I remember seeing it on the news. Thankfully, Israel was victorious as a vulnerable underdog. Their mission now, is simply to survive in peace.

As a Christian, I still consider the Jews "God's chosen people" (Genesis 17:7, Exodus 19:5, and Deuteronomy 7:7-8). Almighty God has a special covenant with Jews that is everlasting and binding. Their sacred status is cemented.

As far as Christians, it is up to each Christian via baptism, repentence of sins and acceptance of a pathway that God, (the Father) laid out, in that his son, Jesus Christ, died for the sins of others and salvation could be attained for sincere believers. Even Muslims acknowledge their forefather Ishmael, Abraham's son via Hagar, the second wife/concubine of Abraham, who was "sent away."

Jerusalem, as a unified capital, just might help bring true peace since nobody will have to slice up quadrants of the city like slices of a pizza.

— James A. Marples, a resident of Longview, is a regular contributor to the News-Journal.



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