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The Middle East and Beyond
“If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem”? Not a Chance

What does President Trump’s announcement about Jerusalem mean, and what does it do?

Published on: December 8, 2017
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  • WigWag

    “But for Jews to imagine that they need outside concurrence to ratify their own decision as to where the capital of the State of Israel should be means they have failed to grasp the real meaning of Zionism. “Hatiqva,” the anthem of the State, includes the line, “to be a free people in our land, in the land of Zion and Jerusalem.” A free people does not need anyone’s permission to decide such matters.” (Adam Garfinke)

    That is surely true, but what is also surely true is that to give up sovereignty over Jerusalem in favor of a ridiculous artificial construct like placing Jerusalem under the sovereignty of God is so laughable that even mentioning it makes it hard to take seriously anyone who advocates for such a thing.seriously. In the real world, acknowledging the sovereignty of God in Jerusalem means sharing sovereignty with Arabs; no Jew in his right mind would ever agree to that. Finally, after millennia, the Jewish people become sovereign in their own ancient capital and Adam thinks they should trade it and share sovereignty with a group of tribal primitives and their terrorist leaders. It’s hard to know whether to laugh or to cry.

    By the way, Adam, as a scholar of the Middle East and as someone who takes his religion seriously, you must realize that even the deity would find your recommendation laughable (assuming he/she/it has a sense of humor). The deity has told us that he doesn’t want sovereignty over the land of Israel, he wants the Jews to have sovereignty there forever and for all time.

    And the Lord said to Abraham, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, Euphrates.” Last time I looked, that would include Jerusalem.

    Now, perhaps like me, you’re not particularly devout; that’s fine. But as a practical matter you’re recommendation about Jerusalem is absurd and from a religious perspective its equally absurd.

    There will not be a negotiated settlement, ever. There will be a winner and loser. Netanyahu is doing exactly the right thing; playing for time.

    Time is on his side.

    • Ellen

      Right across the board, WigWag. There is no possibility of sharing control over Jerusalem, as anyone can see if you actually look at how Gaza and the Arab part of the West bank are governed. There would be chaos and constant terrorism and threats of violence, with their actual realization. The IDF and Israeli government would be forced very quickly to reconquer the Arab part of Jerusalem and reinstate Israeli control. The same is true of the West Bank. That is why there will never be a Palestinian state including either of these two territories. The Jordanian option plus Gaza connected to Sinai is the only one that makes sense and someday it will happen. King Abdullah’s throne is very wobbly these days. No one is paying attention to this. Jordan constitutes 80% of the original Palestine mandate and in the long run that is where the problem will be solved.

      However, I don’t believe the Palestinians are capable of running a state anywhere. So, in the even longer run they will end up as subjects of a Beduin dictatorship in Jordan and an Egyptian dictatorship in Gaza/Sinai. Then, they will rue the day they ever asked for an independent state.

      • WigWag

        Adam must be a terrible poker player. Apparently he believes in folding when he’s holding four Kings. Netanyahu won’t make the same mistake. All we can do is hope that Israelis are too smart to run their Prime Minister out of office because he likes free cigars and his wife is as nasty and rude as Hillary Clinton. As for King Abdullah, he’s certainly a pale imitation of his father. He’s pathetic actually; he needs Israel to survive but he has no choice but to genuflect to the Palestinians in his kingdom. In the short run, his fall will not be fun for Israel; in the long run, if there is to be a Palestinian State, its capital is likely to be in Amman not Jerusalem.

    • D4x

      Garfinkle joins Turkey’s Erdogan as Co-Captain Obvious Myth-Spinner, except, a lot more people are listening to Erdogan: http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/the-call-of-the-republic-of-turkey-the-summit-chair-of-the-organisation-of-islamic-cooperation-to-th
      […] The defence of sanctity of Al Quds, the city of Prophets,
      where the sacred places of the three celestial religions
      coexist and where the Haram al-Sharif, our first kiblah, sheds heavenly light at
      its heart, and the preservation of its historic status are not just the
      duty of the Muslims but of all humanity.[…]

  • FriendlyGoat

    Trump’s backdrop choice of a Christmas tree for his announcement about putting the American embassy in Jerusalem should be a clue to all Jewish people on what this messaging is really about. Maybe the 71% of American Jewish voters who voted for Clinton understand?

    • Psalms13626

      Narrator: The majority of synagogue going Jews voted for Trump. Something Comrade FG never mentions.

    • WigWag

      I hate to break it to you FG; of those 71% of American Jewish voters who voted for Clinton, 75% have Christmas trees in their own homes.

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year by the way.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too. Glad to hear that most of those particularJewish voters with Christmas trees did not feel they needed Mr. Trump’s version of peace-making. I’ll trust you on your 75% estimate, since I doubt anyone would have some other statistic on Christmas trees in Jewish homes for us to look up.

        • Anthony
          • FriendlyGoat

            Thanks. That’s a helpful piece for those wishing to understand who supports what with respect to this issue. It’s a curious matter that Adelson and Hagee are managing to sway American foreign policy to the degree that they are. As for me, I formed much of my slant on this from listening for a couple of years to the guy named JR here (and his several reiterations, some banned, all blocked on my part) who convinced me that if he is the embodiment of Zionism, it’s a total crock.

            As for Trump, he is following the whiff of votes, KNOWING (even if many others don’t) the secret to how he got elected.

          • Anthony

            Yes, he (Trump) knows and is certainly reminded by both some donors and supporters; importantly, the fundamental philosophies of the Zionist movement have existed for hundreds of years – though modern Zionism has a more recent history (late 19th century). On the other hand, TAI (as you well know) lost its good faith commentator exchange some time ago; now its all agenda driven polemic masked as subjective perspective. And, you’re welcome.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I have come to realize that founding (or re-founding) a nation on the basis of a particular religion within particular borders is nothing but trouble. We should be supporting the safety of Jewish people inside freedom-of-religion countries, most notably our own.
            We could just as well have 12,000,000 Jewish folks here as 6,000,000 in Israel and the 6,000,000 already (happily) here. Instead we are fomenting an unnecessary (and totally confused) argument between 2,000,000,000 Christians and 1,500,000,000 Muslims. When you boil it down and look at the numbers, this is crazy. Why are we doing this? For the sake of exactly what? Net, net, I’m for Jews as people. Religious claims, not so much.

          • Anthony

            Yeah, 2,000,000,000/1,5000.000.000 is a ratio many serious people have highlighted when Globes three Abrahamic Religions are discussed. As we exchanged last week, Religion is an emotive subject, as well as an organized and institutionalized form of human conduct and belief – history is replete with its competing animosities. That said, for us (Americans) and world’s others discernment vis-a-vis humanities’ and nation’s interest is a valuation warranting especial attention – we ought to always concern ourselves with the elevation of parochial values to the realm of the sacred at the expense (or license/inclination) to dismiss other people’s interests and perhaps an imperative to reject a possibility of compromise.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Religion is supposed to make us better, but seldom does if we view it as a tribal competition. Blame it on my mid-twentieth century upbringing, I guess, but living somewhere governed by one over-whelming religion—–or in a place of expected like-mindedness strikes me as not free at all. Makes me wonder why anyone would yearn to be in such a place to begin with if there are any other choices for a “live and let live” existence. I looked up Jewish population by state and found this:

            Seems to me as though the “homeland” is working well here for a lot of people who don’t find much need to go there.

          • Anthony

            Thanks for the State breakdown (stats are always handy). Regrettably, the thought that religion is a force for good (make us better) does not fit the facts consistently (from historical perspective). Similarly, anti-Semitism has a long history FG. And it has been countenanced by both Christian and Muslim practitioners (as you well know). Perhaps an incentive, you think. But to your point, in free societies said societies sometimes serve as morality franchises and civilizing forces -allowing for proposition of “live and let live” to beckon. The United States in same way provides a staging ground for our Jewish American brothers (sisters) to not be constrained by religious currents of history – your table attest to the reality.

            An aside: the beliefs and practices of religions, despite their claims to divine provenance, are endogenous to human affairs (responding to their intellectual and social currents). Finally I appreciate the link (thanks, again).

          • FriendlyGoat

            I thought that it was interesting to look at the dispersal of our Jewish population. So many of our states contain population sizes which are not insignificant. Having these folks all over the place here is the greatest way to not be anti-Semitic without being roped into supporting questionable foreign policy positions.

          • Anthony

            Foreign Policy working towards National Interest, FG, ought to be domestically and internationally measured for effect short and long-term.

          • FriendlyGoat

            We seem to be flip-flopping around on what our elected government defines as National Interest—-depending on who is in office.

          • Anthony

            Certainly no way to premise either domestic or international interests (National Interest). This I believe is relevant: “They’ve been waiting for this, praying for this. They want war in the Middle East, the Battle of Armageddon, at which time Jesus Christ will return to the Earth and vanquish all God’s enemies.” You’ll have to help me here (as I defer to both your expertise and experience) but I recall some member proclaiming that aforementioned is a faux rendering from 19th century cultist interpretation – I’m not claiming its so as much as asking you for clarity on it since you’ve been involved.

          • FriendlyGoat

            My involvement (before I quit) revealed to me that prophecy wonks are all over the place in their interpretations of Revelation, Daniel, some of the other OT prophets woven together. They tend to believe in the Rapture of the Church, meaning a trumpet sounds and those “in Christ” rise to meet the Lord in the air, delivered from tribulations to come. There is the possibility of Armageddon, a thousand-year reign of Christ on earth, a final judgment. NONE of this is clearly defined or agreed upon as to sequence, except for one thing——- “no man knows the day or the hour” and “probably coming soon”. They tend to think that the re-creation of Israel makes it possible (per prophecy) and that the sin of homosexuality means the end surely must be near.

            Once, these ideas were sort of a fringe. Now, thanks to independent megachurches and other “ministries” plus the “Left Behind” series of novels by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, there are a LOT of people caught up in very under-explained, under-defined “worship” of what they call “end times events”. It’s a heckuva way to lose progress to human rights, but we are seeing it happen. These guys installed Trump, and the “other Republicans” (aka Congress) are giving the country over to the wealthy (most of whom would think the prophecy stuff a complete hoot.) Sad situation.

          • Anthony

            Thanks, FG, I really appreciate the reply. This is an interesting interpretation (America) by “outside” eyes, read it: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/omar-el-akkad-donald-trump-american-civil-war/article37267643/

          • FriendlyGoat

            We’re going to need them uncompartmentalized soon. It is causing outside observers to conclude: “The defining thesis of American politics in 2017 must conclude the only thing that matters is that one’s own flag is the last one flying, even if all it flies over is rubble.”

          • D4x

            Plot Against America by Philip Roth Publisher: Vintage; 1st edition (September 27, 2005)
            Publisher: Thorndike, Hardcover (2005) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1c6caf79448956526c5442905f0724e01bc170b9ff69f2ee61406731558db2cd.jpg

            From Publishers Weekly: During his long career, Roth has
            shown himself a master at creating fictional doppelgängers. In this stunning
            novel, he creates a mesmerizing alternate world as well, in which Charles A.
            Lindbergh defeats FDR in the 1940 presidential election, and Philip, his
            parents and his brother weather the storm in Newark, N.J. Incorporating
            Lindbergh’s actual radio address in which he accused the British and the Jews
            of trying to force America into a foreign war, Roth builds an eerily logical
            narrative that shows how isolationists in and out of government, emboldened by
            Lindbergh’s blatant anti-Semitism (he invites von Ribbentrop to the White
            House, etc.), enact new laws and create an atmosphere of religious hatred that
            culminates in nationwide pogroms. .Historical figures such as Walter Winchell,
            Fiorello La Guardia and Henry Ford inhabit this chillingly plausible fiction,
            which is as suspenseful as the best thrillers and illustrates how easily people
            can be persuaded by self-interest to abandon morality.

          • D4x

            Gentlemen’s Agreement by Laura Hobson (Author) Publisher: Simon and Schuster; First edition (1947)
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/526085400a89fa20ba31d2673f0b4ad902bcbfe4b538cd78671b8dcc734e7379.jpg Originally published in serial form in Cosmopolitan in 1946, the book tells the story of Philip Green,
            new staff writer for a national magazine. A gentile, he is assigned by his magazine
            to tell the story of anti-Semitism. He decides to do that by telling people that he is Jewish.
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e3609d3563c07005c6e58cdb7c0a0fb49c3d489a02df8b202787ad7a3df8e46d.jpg Darryl F. Zanuck decided to make a film version of Hobson’s novel after being refused membership in the Los Angeles Country Club, because it was assumed incorrectly that he was Jewish.

          • D4x

            Henry Ford and the Jews: The Mass Production of Hate by Neil Baldwin Publisher: PublicAffairs; (Dec. 3, 2001)

            From Library Journal:
            Baldwin, who has written biographies of William Carlos
            Williams and Man Ray, first encountered the strident anti-Semitism of Thomas
            Alva Edison’s protage and friend Henry Ford while researching Edison: Inventing
            the Century. Unwilling to write a full-scale biography on the industrial mogul,
            Baldwin presents the reader with a meticulously researched account of Ford’s
            deep-seated antipathy toward Jews. Baldwin uses oral history transcripts,
            correspondence, and family memoirs, as well as articles from Ford’s newspaper,
            the Dearborn Independent, to trace early anti-Semitic influences on Ford and
            follow these through his later years. The industrialist’s hatred seemed to rise
            and fall with the fortunes of the automobile industry. Much more visceral than
            Albert Lee’s Henry Ford and the Jews (1980. o.p.), this is a focused and
            exacting account of Ford, in particular, but also of anti-Semitism in America
            at the turn of the last century. Daniel Liestman, Kansas State Univ. Lib., Manhattan, Kansas
            Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information,Inc.

            The Dearborn Independent, also known as The Ford International Weekly, was a weekly newspaper established in 1901, and published by Henry Ford from 1919 through 1927. The paper reached a circulation of
            900,000 by 1925, second only to the New York Daily News.

            The Immigration Act of 1924, or Johnson–Reed Act, including
            the National Origins Act, and Asian Exclusion Act[…]The law was primarily aimed
            at further restricting immigration of Southern Europeans and Eastern Europeans,
            especially Italians, Slavs and Eastern European Jews. In addition, it severely
            restricted the immigration of Africans and banned the immigration of Arabs and
            Asians. […]Samuel Gompers, a Jewish immigrant and founder of the AFL, supported
            the Act because he opposed the cheap labor that immigration represented,
            despite the fact that the Act would sharply reduce Jewish immigration […]
            Introduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 7995
            Passed the House on April 12, 1924 (323-71)
            Agreed to by the House on May 15, 1924 (308-62)
            and by the Senate on May 15, 1924 (69-9)
            Signed into law, despite some hesitation, by President Calvin Coolidge [facing veto-proof bipartisan majorities]
            on May 24, 1924


          • D4x

            President Coolidge also, even though the USA did not join
            the League of Nations, proudly signed this 1924 Treaty, passed by the U.S. Senate:

            Convention between the United States and Great Britain in respect to rights in Palestine. Signed at London, December 3, 1924: Ratification advised by the Senate, February 20, 1925; ratified by the
            President, March 2, 1925; ratified by Great Britain, March 18, 1925;
            ratifications exchanged at London, December 3, 1925; proclaimed, December 5, 1925.
            A PROCLAMATION.
            WHEREAS a Convention between the United States of America
            Great Britain with respect to […] WHEREAS by the Treaty of Peace concluded with the Allied Powers,
            Turkey renounces all her rights and titles over Palestine […]
            “Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that
            the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the
            declaration originally made on the 2nd November, 1917, by the
            Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said
            Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,
            it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and
            religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in,Palestine,
            or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country; and
            “Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the
            historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the
            grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country;
            NOW, THEREFORE, be it known that I, Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States of America, have caused the said Convention to be made public, to the end that the same and every article and
            clause thereof may be observed and fulfilled with good faith by the
            United States and the citizens thereof.

            IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and
            caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

            DONE at the city of Washington, this fifth day of December,
            in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and twenty-five,
            and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and fiftieth.

            By the President:
            FRANK B KELLOGG
            Secretary, of State
            FULL TEXT: http://www.alliedpowersholocaust.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/1924-Anglo-American-Convention.pdf

          • Psalms13626

            I know, I believe Jewish people have a right to a homeland. What a total crock, according to Comrade FG. Well, than it’s decided. It’s a crock. Dilly Dilly!!!

      • johngbarker

        I attended a Bar Mitzvah near the holidays years ago and listened the Rabbi warn the congregation that she did not want to see Christmas trees in their living rooms when she visited. Anyway the post ceremony celebratory feast was superior to any holiday meal I have eaten and I considered conversion.

        • WigWag

          We would be happy to welcome you into the tribe, John, but there’s no need to convert just for the food.

          I don’t know if you like to cook, but if you do, considering you liked the food at the Bar Mitzvah, you might enjoy this,


          Merry Christmas, John. I hope you have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

          • johngbarker

            Thanks for the link to Jewish cuisine arts. I will check it out and happy holiday to you!

        • Boritz

          Millions of people have Christmas trees even though they are neither pagans where it got its start nor Christians who continued it. Just a tradition unto itself now.

  • Helen4Yemen


    95% of world Jewry = Ashkenazi = at 99.9% European DNA.

    Are they Israelite or descended from Israelite? No!

    Actually the Eskimos and the Ashkenazi are at the same level of Middle East
    ancestry – which is 0% for both.

    Please look at the map.

    1) Europe is highlighted to trace his 99.9% European ancestry.
    2) Africa is highlighted because he has 0.1% African ancestry.
    3) Asia is highlighted because he has 0.1% Asian ancestry.
    4) The Middle East is totally left blank because they found
    no trace of Middle East ancestry – not even 0.1% – nothing – zilch!

    • Psalms13626

      Hey Helen, How are you? Still peddling the Khazar conspiracy? God bless your heart. You are a part of Hashem’s plan. You make me remember who I am. Thank you.

      • Helen4Yemen


        The human race is divided into 26 genetic groups.
        My group is #26. What is yours? If the Ashkenazi
        is not a Khazar and he most certainly is not Middle
        Eastern, what else is he? What is the meaning of
        “European Jewish” listed as #22. That is a code
        word for Khzar is it not?

        • Psalms13626

          How did the Jews manage to know who is Jewish before you? It’s a mystery.

          • Helen4Yemen


            How did Muslims know who is a Muslim and how do Christians know who is a Christian?

          • Psalms13626

            Did you hear the news? US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, eternal and indivisible once more. Donald Trump doesn’t strike me as a particularly religious man, but he is leaning heavily on Genesis 12:3. One God’s Justice always takes place. Always Helen. Think about that.
            And may your spirit find peace. I wish that sincerely.

          • Helen4Yemen


            You need to answer this very important question.

            My genetic group is #26 and the Ashkenazi is assigned #22 that they call “European Jewish”. Is that not a code for Khazars? If the Ashkenazi is not a Khazar, what else is he? Why do you avoid answering such a simple question?

          • Helen4Yemen
          • Psalms13626

            Baruch Da’yan Haemet!!!!!

          • Helen4Yemen


            The people who call themselves Israelite ain’t got a tiny drop of Abraham’s blood – zero! Look at them!

          • Helen4Yemen
          • Psalms13626

            Your hatred of the Jews is irrelevant. One God’s Will is clear. It has been true for thousands of years.
            United States has been good to Jews. It has discovered way to profitably frack, thus drastically reducing its dependence on oil exporters.
            Germany has been bad to the Jews. They are currently under the Muslim invasion the likes of which we haven’t seen in a very long time. One God’s Justice may be slow in coming, but it is inevitable. It happened before, it is happening now, and it will happen forevermore, until the time of the Messiah.

          • Helen4Yemen
          • Psalms13626

            Attach more than one picture. I want to see the whole collection. I can quote the Bible some more if that helps.

  • jburack

    The acidic and contemptuous tone of this screed is not matched by clarity or coherence. Placing Jerusalem under the sovereignty of God? Are we supposed to take this seriously. From someone who thinks Trump does not understand what he is doing? Good grief. Then there is this bit of nonsense: “None of this makes a lot of sense: If the Trump White House put all its eggs into the Saudi basket, then why do things guaranteed to alienate your preferred proxy?” It might occur to this writer that the sentence proves that its own premise is false. The President has NOT put all his eggs in this basket, not even close. He is pushing the Saudis as he is also pushing the Palestinians, the other Middle Eastern states, the Europeans and the UN. Finally, at long last, a return to American leadership in the world. PUSHING is what leaders do. Amen.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “It comes at a time, too, when an otherwise achievement-free White House is feeling—as it should—the white-hot scrutiny of Robert S. Mueller’s investigation closing in all around it—also as it should.”

    I read this and thought, “what planet does Adam live on?”. Mueller is losing obviously biased people as he desperately tries to put something on the board with Flynn. Let’s see – Flynn, fired 30 days into the new administration for lying, admits to lying to the FBI, and says he will testify against the new administration as an admitted liar. Mueller really has something there. /sarc

  • Psalms13626

    I really wish Adam would get over his TDS. He is a smart guy who is a good writer, but he should stay in his lane and not opine authoritatively on Trump Administration.

  • ronetc

    PC inability to use correct grammar also seems to affect the ability to reason: “from all appearances neither one of them remotely knows what they’re doing.” Should be “neither one of them remotely knows what he is doing.” But the PC and TDS crowd cannot allow themselves to think or speak clearly in gendered grammar or political reality.

  • Gary Hemminger

    Here is a good line…”It comes at a time, too, when an otherwise achievement-free White House is feeling—as it should—the white-hot scrutiny of Robert S. Mueller’s investigation closing in all around it—also as it should.”

    So let’s see…have you taken a look at your 401K lately Garfinkle? I sure have. Have you noticed the growth rate the last few quarters vs under Obama? You think this an accident Garfinkle? How about the regulatory environment? How about the consumer confidence levels? How about the status of ISIS? How about the number of illegals entering the country? If this is achievement free then what exactly is achievement? I think Trump is a blowhard, but evidently so are you Garfinkle. And Mueller’s investigation, no matter what he finds now, is basically illegitimate and everyone knows it.

    I read the article with great interest until the line above. then I stopped and will go no further. I didn’t vote for Trump, never will, but I don’t have TDS. Trumpism is a disease that is caused by progressives and people like Garfinkle.

    • Boritz

      “achievement free” = hinders the destruction of the middle class through open border globalization that hurts your zip code while filling the pig trough at which mine feeds.

  • D4x

    Jerusalem, Israel.

    Jerusalem has blue skies this week. The threatening black clouds are in the malicious brains of Editor Adam Garfinkle, and everyone else still getting a paycheck from what is still called ‘The American Interest’.

  • AaronL
  • I find several issues and problems with this sudden decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital:

    1. This will cause widespread rioting and violence within both Israel and the Palestinian territories, possibly sparking a new intifada. Just remember how much anger there was when Israel tried to add metal detectors to the al-Aqsa Mosque not so long ago.

    2. This will unite most of the Arab and Islamic world against Israel, and increase anti-Americanism tenfold around the world (and in Europe as well). Even Erdogan has made very strong statements against Israel, and there is talk of Turkey cutting off ties with the Israelis over this. And Turkey is one of Israel’s few regional allies.

    3. If no other country follows suit, then it would be a gesture on America’s part at best, and serve limited practical purpose on an international level, legitimacy-wise.

    4. A future left-wing U.S. administration could just as easily reverse recognition of Jerusalem and move it back to Tel Aviv or whatever.

    5. This will likely permanently bring an end to the peace process in the Holy Land — or at least for the next few decades or so.

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