[Aaron D. Miller]: There's one additional point, and that is Jerusalem. First of all, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has always been a conflict over land, political identity and religion. And it's gotten worse, there's no question. But in July of 2000, on the eighth day of the Camp David summit, Jerusalem becomes the focal point of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
And imagine the scene. There are Americans trying to persuade Israelis and Palestinians, among the many fixes that we tried, to take sovereignty over the Haram ash-Sharif, the Harabayat (ph), the mosques and the remains of both the first and second temple which lie below the mosque. We're trying to convince the Israelis and Palestinians to take sovereignty, which they assert, and reposit it with God. That's an American approach. Or we'll give the Palestinians sovereignty above ground, and you Israelis will have sovereignty below. We don't get it.
History teaches that Jerusalem is not to be shared, Jerusalem is to be possessed, is to — always in the name of God, in the name of religion, in the name of the tribe. The notion that we now face a religious conflict is a — or more of a religious conflict may be true because Hamas is politicizing, the evangelicals here are politicizing, and there's been a lot of ultra-orthodox Jews politicizing the issue of Jerusalem. But the primary issue remains a religious manifestation of Israeli and Palestinian nationalism, and we're no closer to resolving that religious issue than we were eight years ago this July.
There is no doubt that many in Israel are desirous of following the Torah as the law of Israel. The Torah has the God of Israel coveting the land of Canaan and exterminating people or driving them completely out or fully assimilating them, albeit under extensive qualifications. The Israelites are commanded by their God to wage wars of aggression to take the land from the Canaanite tribes.
Jesus taught that that is not the real spirit of God, even the God of Israel (hence we still use the uppercase G). Covetousness is wrong even when directed toward those who are not Jews under the Law of Moses recorded in the Torah. Jesus exposed the hypocrisy in that law.
Either one rises to the level of comprehending that all the people on Earth are the children of God, albeit often misguided, or one stays at the level of the Torah fundamentalists who see all others (non-Jews) as not their brothers and sisters or fellow members of the human race with full membership rights.
Frankly, there is no question but that Jesus's message was prophesied by even Moses as to come and that Jesus's message is the more enlightened of the two and closer to God who is righteous and who does not advocate for covetousness regarding any human being and who does not advocate for any war or for any ritual sacrifices, etc.
Jesus fulfilled the law. He enhanced it to perfection. He clarified it and raised it up to God. Jesus is the lawgiver. He revealed what God really wants.