Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Obama Postpones Embassy Move To Jerusalem

No shock here:
US President Barack Obama delayed for six months moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the White House said on Friday, a bureaucratic ritual that exemplifies the controversial aspect of the city's status.

Ever since a law was passed in 1995 ordering the transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv – where other foreign embassies are located – to Jerusalem, US presidents have routinely delayed the move.

US policy on Jerusalem has not changed: Jerusalem is a final status issue to be resolved in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, said a White House official speaking on condition of anonymity.
According to The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995:
(a) WAIVER AUTHORITY.-(1) Beginning on October 1, 1998, the President may
suspend the limitation set forth in section 3(b) for a period of six months
if he determines and reports to Congress in advance that such suspension is
necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States.
When previous presidents signed the waiver, the reason given was national security--that is, concern for the security of the embassy from Palestinian terrorists. In Obama's case, the reason may well be not to upset his plans for freezing settlement growth:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has issued an unprecedented statement clarifying President Barack Obama’s demands for Israel to stop expanding Jewish communities in areas it acquired following the 1967 Six-Day War, including Jerusalem.

...“West Bank maps” issued by the United Nations also include 18 Jewish neighborhoods inside the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, in areas inside the city that Israel formally annexed after the 1967 war.

One of the Jerusalem neighborhoods resettled by Jews after the 1967 war is the Old City of Jerusalem, which hosts the Temple Mount, the holiest place in the world to the Jewish people.
Perhaps Clinton will say that when it comes to Jerusalem, again there is nothing memorialized about Jerusalem remaining an undivided city. But among the findings made by Congress, listed in The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, the first 10 are:
(1) Each sovereign nation, under international law and custom, may designate
its own capital.

(2) Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of
Israel.

(3) The city of Jerusalem is the seat of Israel's President, Parliament, and
Supreme Court, and the site of numerous government ministries and social and
cultural institutions.

(4) The city of Jerusalem is the spiritual center of Judaism, and is also
considered a holy city by the members of other religious faiths.

(5) From 1948-1967, Jerusalem was a divided city and Israeli citizens of all
faiths as well as Jewish citizens of all states were denied access to holy
sites in the area controlled by Jordan.

(6) In 1967, the city of Jerusalem was reunited during the conflict known as
the Six Day War.

(7) Since 1967, Jerusalem has been a united city administered by Israel, and
persons of all religious faiths have been guaranteed full access to holy
sites within the city.

(8) This year marks the 28th consecutive year that Jerusalem has been
administered as a unified city in which the rights of all faiths have been
respected and protected.

(9) In 1990, the Congress unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution
106, which declares that the Congress ''strongly believes that Jerusalem
must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and
religious group are protected''
.

(10) In 1992, the United States Senate and House of Representatives
unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 113 of the One Hundred
Second Congress to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reunification of
Jerusalem, and reaffirming congressional sentiment that Jerusalem must
remain an undivided city
.
And yet here we are, talking about freezing growth in Jerusalem and dividing the city.
At this point, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem is the least of Israel's problems.

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