Back in December, President Trump announced that the United States would officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv. It was an announcement widely condemned by both allies and enemies of the United States.
On Monday the new embassy opened with a lot of fanfare. Less than 60 miles away dozens of Palestinians died from gunfire, and thousands more were injured along the border of Israel and Gaza.
The opening address of the ceremony was given by Robert Jeffress, an Evangelical pastor who has said some pretty awful things about Jews. In 2010 he said, “God sends good people to Hell. Not only do religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism — not only do they lead people away from God, they lead people to an eternity of separation from God in Hell.”
Another Evangelical lunatic was present: John Hagee gave the closing benediction at the ceremony. John Hagee once said in a sermon, "God says in Jeremiah 16: 'Behold, I will bring them the Jewish people again unto their land that I gave to their fathers. ... Behold, I will send for many fishers, and after will I send for many hunters. And they the hunters shall hunt them.' That would be the Jews. ... Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone who comes with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter."
So, according to Hagee, Hitler was apparently sent by God to hunt the Jews. And that is the guy the Trump administration sent to give a benediction at the opening of the new Israeli embassy.
So what the hell is going on? Why would these fundamentalist Christians who seem to hate Jews be so keen on supporting this embassy move that gives legitimacy to the Israeli claims on Jerusalem? Simple, really. They want the world to end. They believe that the Jews getting full control and ownership of Jerusalem will usher in the second-coming of Jesus and the end of the world.
When the Jews took the land of Israel starting in 1947, the conflict displaced between 750,000 and 900,000 people from Palestine. The Palestinians, who are Muslim, want the land back. The Jews of Israel want their ancient ancestral homeland. In the decades since there have, at various times, been hopes of a two-state solution that would serve as a compromise. Those hopes seem impossibly delusional given current realities. Both groups have religious motivations for their desires to own the land, and that makes reasonable dialogue nearly impossible.
The people residing in Gaza have spent more than a decade now living with an Israeli-imposed blockade on Gaza's coast and border-crossings. In January, the United Nations warned that the area was on the brink of collapse because of the Israeli blockade.
Since late March, thousands of Palestinians have been protesting. March 30th was Land Day, the day that the Palestinians remember protests in 1976 against the Israeli government's seizure of their lands. May 15th is called al-Nakba by the Palestinians, which means "The Catastrophe". This is the day they commemorate the Israeli occupation of their land beginning in 1947. The protests were for the most part peaceful, but Israel nonetheless responded with violence. Internationally there has been a lot of condemnation against Israel's actions, but the Trump administration has put the blame on Hamas.
This situation is a mess. Two groups of people have claims on the same land, and some of those claims are religiously motivated. Then President Trump came in and made an already bad situation worse. Whatever happens, there is likely going to be a lot more violence.