Jerusalem

Peoples have been fighting over this city for 4000 years. From Canaanites to Egyptians to the Jewish people to Assyrians and Babylonians, from Persians to Romans to Arabs, and Turks, and Europeans. Empires have claimed it theirs for millennia, its inhabitants sometimes granted peace and security, and sometimes subjugated, exiled or put to death.

One hundred years ago, the British Empire defeated the Ottoman army, and entered Jerusalem on foot after the model of Caliph Umar, who seized the city in 637, taking it from Emperor Heraclius of the Byzantine empire, which had taken it back from the Persian Sassanids a matter of years earlier. Every single empire has attached dogma to the city, converting it into a sacred symbol which enrages the passions of all.

There will always be a Trump, a Heraclius, an Umar, a Hakim, a Pope Urban, a Saladin, a Frederick, a Suleiman or a General Allenby. These are just the ebbing tides of history.

In five years Trump will be gone and long forgotten, but this city will remain, its different peoples still rubbing along in various degrees of comfort and disquiet, as they always have for millennia.

Spare us the tired eschatology: the end of times have been constantly invoked in this city for 3000 years, to justify slaughter and injustice, and horrible battles between whole peoples. This time, can we refuse to answer that call and instead try to build a better future for all?

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