In 1946, the eminent Arab-American historian Philip Hitti described the common Arab view: “There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not.”
That Iran’s parliament has just now declared that Jerusalem is the capital of “Palestine” is simply a politically motivated counter to the current U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. As Hitti said, there is no such thing as “Palestine.”
Although US recognition of Jerusalem may suffice for the moment, Israel would be well advised to establish facts on the ground by expeditiously acquiring a strategically well-located building in Jerusalem for its embassy. With that accomplished, Jerusalem can then dispel Iran’s fiction about “Palestine.” Israel’s Prime Minister should not get embroiled in this fictitious issue. He should play the part of having won the diplomatic game and speak proudly from the heights. That’s something Muslims and Arabs will understand.
Paul Eidelberg (1928- ) is an American-Israeli political scientist, author and lecturer, and is the founder and president of The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy, with offices in Jerusalem. He is also president of the Yamin Yisrael Party.