WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama extended a waiver delaying the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
U.S. presidents have routinely waived the 1995 law every six months, citing national security. U.S. diplomats fear that such a move would stir anti-American feelings in the Muslim world and torpedo Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Obama extended the waiver for the first time in his presidency on Friday, a day after he delivered an appeal to the Muslim world to work together with the United States to advance peace and cooperation.
I have to write about this every six months, because every time it happens I’m furious all over again.
In case anybody doesn’t know, the Knesset, the seat of Israel’s government, has been located in Jerusalem since 1950. The first Knesset met in Tel Aviv on February 14, 1949 and one of the first orders of business was to move it to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people.
Yes, that’s correct: the Knesset is located in West Jerusalem, “Israel proper”, not land conquered in 1967. So why does the US refuse to put its embassy there?
Take a deep breath:
West Jerusalem was not included as part of the Jewish state in the partition resolution of 1947 — all of Jerusalem was supposed to be under UN control. But when the armistice agreements were signed in April 1949, Jerusalem was divided between the new state of Israel and Jordan and the UN zone had evaporated. Nevertheless, in December 1949, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for Jerusalem to be a corpus separatum administered by the UN as in the original resolution, despite opposition from Israel, Jordan and the US.
The Arabists of the State Department, however, seeing a chance to stick it to Israel, maintained for years that only the UN can dispose of Jerusalem. Here is a 1962 statement of the position:
…the status of Jerusalem is a matter of United Nations concern and no member of the United Nations should take any action to prejudice the United Nations interest in this question. Our objective has been to keep the Jerusalem question an open one and to prevent its being settled solely through the processes of attrition and fait accompli to the exclusion of international interest and an eventual final expression thereof presumably through the United Nations.
After the Oslo agreement, the State Department switched to saying “the final status of Jerusalem must be determined by negotiation between the parties [Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA)]”. But note that all of Jerusalem is still in play according to them, and therefore they refuse to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
As far as I can tell, this situation is unprecedented. It’s unimaginable that Israel would give West Jerusalem to the Arabs in a final settlement, and even the PA doesn’t claim West Jerusalem (at least not in public).
The State Department, in fact, seems to be aligned with Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria in this respect.
No other sovereign state gets this treatment. It’s insulting and serves to encourage extremists who continue to reject the legitimacy of the state of Israel. It’s time to end it, to move the US embassy to Jerusalem as Congress demanded more than once, and for the babies in diplomatic striped pants to grow up.