Category Archives: Jerusalem

On Jerusalem, President Trump Could Make Two Proclamations

A campaign promise by Mr. Trump was to support Israel by moving the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. President Trump should have acted on that campaign promise on Jan. 20, 2017. He did not.

To prevent post-campaign backsliding, two proclamations regarding Israel are presented herein, in proper format for issuance.

In one proclamation, the U.S. recognizes that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and declares that the U.S. embassy in Israel is to be located in Jerusalem. The other proclamation recognizes the territory which is subject to Israeli control.

Each proclamation is dated May 22, 2017, the day on which President Trump will be in Israel.

 

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Jerusalem, Capital of Israel

The Land of Israel has been the patrimony of the Jewish people for the past 4,000 years, ever since God promised the land to them, through their forefather Abraham.

David, King of Israel, captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites 3,000 years ago, and made the city his capital. Jerusalem has always been a unitary city, with one exception (1950–1967). In 1950, Jordan purported to annex the eastern part of the city. In 1967, Israel freed the eastern part from the unlawful grip of Jordan.

Jerusalem was the capital of the First Commonwealth (from King David through the First Temple period), and was the capital of the Second Commonwealth (from Ezra and Nechemiah through the Second Temple period).

During the long, Rome-induced exile of the Jewish people, no claimant (such as Umayyads, Abbasids, Mamluks, and Ottomans) of sovereignty over the Land of Israel designated Jerusalem as the capital of the claimant.

The United Nations partition plan of November, 1947, called for a Jewish state and an Arab state in the Land of Israel. There was to be a special international circumstance — corpus separatum — for Jerusalem. Meaning: the internationalization of Jerusalem under the control of the United Nations.

Neither then nor later was there a United Nations plan which called for a special international circumstance for Lambeth Palace, or which called for a special international circumstance for Vatican City, or which called for a special international circumstance for Danilov Monastery.

The 1947 partition plan came to nothing. The intended dismemberment, by the “international community”, of Jerusalem from the rest of the Land of Israel, through the instrumentality of the despicable United Nations, failed.

On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel, which is the Third Commonwealth.

Later that day (Washington time), President Truman recognized the State of Israel. National Archives, “U.S. Recognition of the State of Israel” (2006).

Since 1948, Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel. Wartime conditions, during the Israeli War for Independence, prevented the government of Israel from immediate establishment of itself in Jerusalem.

On December 5, 1949, the government of Israel declared that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Knesset, “Statements of the Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion Regarding Moving the Capital of Israel to Jerusalem” (1949).

On January 23, 1950, the First Knesset declared, “. . . with the establishment of the State of Israel, Jerusalem once more becomes the capital[.]” Center for Israel Education, “Knesset Declares Jerusalem Capital” (n.d.)

In 1980, the Basic Law: Jerusalem the Capital of Israel, became law.

Section 1 of that Basic Law declares, “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.”

On November 8, 1995, the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, Public Law No. 104-45, 109 Stat. 398, became law.

Section 2(1) of the Act declares, “Each sovereign nation, under international law and custom, may designate its own capital.” Section 2(2) declares, “Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.” Section (3)(a)(2) declares, “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel[.]” Section 3(a)(3) declares, “the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.”

Waivers of the operation of that Act prevented actualization of the congressional recognition that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. There will not be any further waiver.

No country is authorized to decide that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel, and to maintain an embassy there, and to maintain a consulate in Jerusalem, any more than a country is authorized to decide that New York or Philadelphia is the capital of the United States, and to maintain an embassy there, and to maintain a consulate in Washington.

NOW, THEREFORE, DO I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution of the United States, and by laws of the United States, proclaim that the United States of America recognizes that the capital of the State of Israel is the City of Jerusalem, unified now and unified forever. I declare that the United States embassy in Israel shall be located henceforth in Jerusalem.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I set my hand hereunto this twenty-second day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred forty-first.

 

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Boundary of Israel

The United States understands that the Oslo Accords are dead. The two-state “solution” is dead.

Each was folly. Unique folly. There was no road map, and there was no two-state solution, and there was no sonorous talk about independent countries living side-by-side in peace and Kumbaya harmony, and there was no equivalent of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), applicable to the numerous territorial disputes which beset various countries. Among them:

  • • China, regarding Taiwan and Tibet.
  • • India and Pakistan, regarding Jammu and Kashmir.
  • • Iraq and Turkey, regarding Kurdistan.
  • • Russia, regarding Chechnia.
  • • Canada, regarding Quebec.
  • • Cyprus, regarding the Turkish part of the island of Cyprus.
  • • Denmark, regarding Greenland.
  • • Georgia and Russia, regarding Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
  • • Morocco, regarding Western Sahara.
  • • Philippines, regarding Mindanao.
  • • Sri Lanka (formerly), regarding the Tamils.

The territory which is subject to the control of Israel should include the entirety of the Land of Israel, from north to south, and from east to west.

The United States recognizes that the territory of Israel includes the Golan Heights, Sheba’a Farms, Samaria, Judea, Aza (the so-called Gaza Strip), the Negev, and Jerusalem; and includes adjacent places and in-between places too numerous to mention.

The United States recognizes further that Jerusalem is inclusive of the Temple Mount and of City of David; and that, since the day on which Abraham and Isaac were on Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount has been the sacred place only of Jews.

The understanding of the United States is that some territory which is subject to the control of Israel is not subject to the sovereignty of Israel. The effect of a declaration of sovereignty on the citizenship of Arab residents in Judea, Samaria, and Aza is fraught with peril for Israel. Full Israeli sovereignty over the Land of Israel must await another day.

The policy of the United States is to resolve territorial disputes which affect Israel through the 22-state solution. Israel plus 21 Arab countries would participate in the 22-state solution. Thereunder, Arabs keep the 5,000,000 square miles of 21 of the 22 members of the League of Arab States (that excludes the square miles claimed by the “Palestinian Authority,” one of the members of the League). Jews keep the Land of Israel, and its 12,000 square miles.

NOW, THEREFORE, DO I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution of the United States, and by laws of the United States, proclaim that the United States of America recognizes that the territory which is subject to the control of Israel is as aforesaid.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I set my hand hereunto this twenty-second day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred forty-first.

Jordan official: US can move embassy to west Jerusalem

A former Jordanian Minister of Culture wrote in a controversial op-ed article for a leading Amman newspaper that there is no need for Arabs to oppose the potential move of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to west Jerusalem, according to a report by Algemeiner.

Writing for the government daily newspaper Al Rai, Tareq Al-Masarwa — in an article translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), claimed that: “The Americans can move their embassy to the new [part of] Jerusalem [i.e. the western part] without sparking any serious rage among the Arabs. This is for the simple reason that the Palestinians and Arabs demand the Old City [of Jerusalem] — which they lost in the 1967 war, known as the Six Day War — as the capital of their state. I have not heard anyone demanding the 1948 part of Jerusalem [i.e., West Jerusalem], neither Hamas, the PLO nor anyone else.”

Al-Masarwa also exhibited cautious confidence that PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas would have a “meaningful” visit with President Trump Wednesday and added that Trump “can play the game of ‘Jerusalem the capital [of Israel]’ without causing awkwardness for [either] US policy or his allies.”

Al-Masarwa’s comments are particularly timely as they come on the eve of a vote at UNESCO — the UN’s cultural agency — on a resolution that accuses Israel of violating international law in its capital city. Jordan is not among the Arab sponsors of the resolution, which include Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan.

The resolution states that “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the ‘basic law’ on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.”

US officials have expressed their concern that UNESCO is constantly being used as a tool to delegitimize Israel.

Move the US Embassy to Jerusalem

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Since 1993, residents of New York City have had a sister city in Israel named Jerusalem.  On December 5, 1949, the Israeli government declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and on January 23, 1950, the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, proclaimed that Jerusalem was and had always been the capital of Israel.

Everyone understands that the city of Jerusalem is holy to three religions, and there are conflicting claims to it by two peoples.  But the historical evidence confirms the forthright Knesset declaration.  David made Jerusalem the capital of his kingdom in 1003 B.C. and it remained so for 400 years until the kingdom was conquered by the Babylonians.  After Jews had returned from the Babylonian exile in 538 B.C., Jerusalem again became the capital of the Jewish people.  During the Muslim rule over the area, Jerusalem never became the capital of a Muslim state, or even became a distinct province.

Between 1922 and 1948, the city did become the center of political power during the British Mandate as Jerusalem became the seat of the British high commissioner.

The U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181, the partition resolution, of  November 29, 1947 that proposed the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state in Palestine, also proposed that Jerusalem become a separate entity, corpus separatum, a special administrative regime separate from either state and administered by an agency of the United Nations.

Thanks to the war resulting from the invasion of Arab armies into the state of Israel, on the day of its creation on May 14, 1948, Jerusalem became a divided city, with barbed wire.  The Old City was annexed by Jordan, while the western section became the Israeli capital.  Israeli citizens and all Jews of other states were denied access to holy sites in the area controlled by Jordan.  In April 1950, Jordan declared that it had annexed the West Bank and Jerusalem, an annexation that was supported only by the U.K. and Pakistan.

As a result of the six-day June 1967 war, the city was reunited under Israeli administration.  Since 1967, Jerusalem has been a united city administered by Israel.  Israel, on June 27, 1967, extended legal and administrative jurisdiction to the whole area and expanded the municipal borders of the city.  The Knesset passed the Protection of the Holy Places law granting special status to the holy sites.

The Israeli Basic Law of July 1980 affirmed Jerusalem, “complete and united”  as the capital of the country.  It promised protection of the holy places and free access to them.

In 1990, the U.S. Congress unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 106, which declares that Congress strongly believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected.  A Senate Concurrent Resolution 113 in 1992 reaffirmed that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city.

The U.S. Congress on October 23, 1995, by overwhelming majorities in both chambers, passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act to initiate and fund the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  It made clear that every sovereign state, under international law and custom, may designate its own capital, and that since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.  Congress asserted that the city is the seat of judicial, legislative, and executive institutions.  In addition, it is the site of social and cultural institutions and the spiritual center of Judaism.  Moreover, Jerusalem has never been the capital of any state other than Israel.

The 1995 act stated that State Department funds could be withheld if the embassy was to not moved by May 31, 1999.  But the law also provided for “presidential waiver,” allowing presidents not to implement it, and this has continued in spite of a congressional attempt in 2009 to remove the waiver.

The act was never implemented partly for fear of antagonizing the Arab world and partly because U.S. presidents have regarded it as congressional infringement on the executive’s constitutional authority over foreign policy.

It is time for the president of the U.S. to act positively.  Countries choose particular places as their capitals for different reasons.  The place may be dominant, as Berlin was in German unification in the 19th century.  It may be a political compromise, as were Washington, D.C.; Canberra; and Ottawa.  It may be shared, as in the Union of South Africa, where four colonies had political functions, and in the Netherlands, where functions are shared between Amsterdam and the Hague.

Israel has a right to choose its capital, and it is only political machinations that prevent this from being accepted internationally.  Thirteen countries had embassies in Jerusalem until U.N. Security Council Resolution 478 of August 20, 1980, which was passed by 14-0 with the U.S., in which Jimmy Carter was then president, abstaining, which condemned Israel’s Basic Law of July 1980 on Jerusalem as null and void.  The resolution held that the Basic Law, that the city was to be the complete and united capital, was a violation of international law.

The resolution called on all established diplomatic missions in Jerusalem to withdraw.  The immediate comment of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was that the U.S. abstention in this “inane resolution” meant that the U.S. had allied itself with the enemies of Israel.

The 13 countries that had embassies then withdrew them.  The only country to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is El Salvador.

The problem remains because of intransigent Palestinian and Arab opposition.  Jordan has a stake in the issue since it is the official custodian of the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount.  It is laughable that Saed Erekat, the Palestinian negotiator who never negotiates, says that if the U.S. Embassy is moved, the PLO will withdraw its recognition of Israel, and that would destroy the nonexistent peace process.

Interestingly, on January 3, 2017, three members of the U.S. Senate, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Dean Heller, proposed the move of the embassy and suggested that State Department funds be withheld until the move was made from Hayarkon street in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, perhaps to the existing U.S.  consulate there.

The U.S. move will not inflame the “Arab street,” wherever that is located, nor is it giving in to Israeli extremists.  The U.S. ambassadors in Arab countries will not be expelled from them.  It is absurd to argue, as Secretary John Kerry did, that an “absolute explosion” will occur not only in the West Bank, but in the whole Middle East if the embassy is moved.

Two changes in U.S. policy and law are essential.  The first concerns the U.S. Supreme Court, which should overturn the decision of Zivotofsky v. Kerry, decided on June 8, 2015.  Congress in September 2002 had passed a law that an American citizen born in Jerusalem must list Israel as the place of birth.  However, the Court ruled 6-3 that the U.S. president has the exclusive power to recognize foreign states, and so Congress may not require and cannot force the government to issue passports calling Jerusalem part of Israel.  The late Justice Scalia, dissenting, argued that Congress does have the power to recognize foreign nations because it can regulate commerce with those countries.

President Obama’s defiance of an act of Congress in foreign affairs was reconfirmed when, at the memorial for Shimon Peres in September 2016, he dropped the reference to “Jerusalem, Israel” as the location of the ceremony.

It is now incumbent on President Donald Trump to recognize reality and agree to move the embassy.  He recognizes the stark reality that the State of Israel, like all other countries, has decided on the location of its capital.  It would be a symbolic gesture of major importance to agree with decision of the only friend the U.S. has in the Middle East.