The Watered Down US embassy Jerusalem relocation bill,

David Bedein,

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צילום: ערוץ 7
David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW, a community organizer by profession, a writer, and an investigative journalist.In 1987 he established the Israel Resource News Agency, with offices at Beit Agron, 37 Hillel Street, Jerusalem.Since 2005, Bedein serves as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research. One of the foci of Bedein's work concerns the policies of UNRWA which continue to host five million descendants of Arab refugees from the 1948 war in 59 refugee facilities under the premise and promise of the "right of return" to Arab villages which existed before Israel's War of Independence. In that context, Bedein has produced numerous investigative studies of UNRWA, including numerous films and monographs , all of which appear at Bedein is also the author of "ROADBLOCK TO PEACE: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict: UNRWA Policies Reconsidered", which can be ordered through Amazon. Most recently, Bedein authored "GENESIS OF THE PALESTINIAN...

The Watered Down US embassy Jerusalem relocation bill, also known as the “Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act”, is now on the agenda.

I was covering events  in the US Capitol when the US Congress passed the US embassy Jerusalem relocation bill in October, 1995, also known as the “Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act”

There were expectations at the time  that the US would renounce the US position taken ever since 1948 that Jerusalem was not to be recognized as a part of Israel, along with the additional US position , also dating from 1948, that Jerusalem, all of Jerusalem, must be an international zone. 

However, the final version of the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act in 1995 removed  explicit references to Jerusalem as a part of Israel and did not mention that Jerusalem as a capital of Israel that would remain an exclusive capital to Israel.

Faisal Husseini, in DC at the time as the head of the PLO Jerusalem committee , and Yossi Beilin, then Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, endorsed the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act in 1995, as it was worded.

In other words, the US embassy relocation act did not violate  two cardinal US premises from 1948;  that Jerusalem was not to be recognized as a part of Israel, and that Jerusalem could still act as an internationalized zone.

The realities of the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act were not lost on American citizens whose children were born in Jerusalem and whose children's US passports said "Jerusalem", with no country listed, as their place of birth. 

For that reason, Jerusalem Americans initiated  class action suit which reached  the US Supreme Court last year, with a demand to stamp ISRAEL on their passports. – and they lost, because America’s highest court would not challenge US diplomatic policy.

As to  the vocal Arab resentment and loud Jewish enthusiasm over the implementation of the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act,  it is doubtful that either side read the wording of the legislation.

As to the PLO threat that Jerusalem will burn if the embassy moves, precedents speak for themselves.

I covered the packed Faisel Husseini press conference in 1998 when the PLO warned that Jerusalem would burn if  Jews would move the new Jerusalem hill of Har Homa. 

19 years later, Har Homa thrives and no fires flicker on that hilly Jerusalem neighborhood.

Meanwhile, US citizens who want the US to recognize Jerusalem as a part of Israel, may wish to advise the Congress and White House that legislative change may be in order legislative change may be in order.

If there are US citizens who want the US  to recognize Jerusalem as  the exclusive capital of Israel, which no other entity can also claim Jerusalem as its capital, then legislative change may be in order.

Background:  Jerusalem as an “international zone”   as  US policy.

The US adopted an official policy in 1948 , in the months that preceded Israel’s War of Independence, which declared that Jerusalem must be defined as an international zone under US trusteeship, and remain extraterritorial to Israel.

The US State Department went so far as to appoint its own governor for Jerusalem. 

The assassination of the UN envoy to Jerusalem in September 1948 suspended that process, but did not cancel US policy.

A case in point: the family of a US citizen, Ben Blutstein, killed by a terrorists bomb  in July 2002 while eating lunch at the Frank Sinatra cafeteria at the Hebrew University, could not get the U.S. State Department to allow his U.S. death certificate to read  “Jerusalem, Israel.” as the  location where he was killed.

The US same policy applies to birth certificates.

Four of my children were born in Jerusalem. The birthplace mentioned on their American birth certificates is listed as “Jerusalem”, with no mention of any  nation  they were born in.

The question remains as to whether the U.S. will ever recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel.

Such a policy decision would be seem more crucial than the symbolic matter of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.U.S. embassy to Jerusalem