Jerusalem, In Brief
Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
Jerusalem has been essential to the Jewish people as the centre of spiritual life since the construction of the First Temple in 957 BC and the gradual transition from polytheism to monotheism codified under the age of Kings Hezekiah and Josiah in the 8th and 7th centuries BC. Jerusalem is also a political centre, the City of David and the seat of kings, and since 1949 it has been home to the Knesset, the Supreme Court, and the other organs of the world’s one and only democratic and Jewish state.As David Ben-Gurion stated in December 1949:
We see fit to state that Jewish Jerusalem is an organic, inseparable part of the State of Israel, just as it is an integral part of Jewish history and belief….Jerusalem is the heart of the State of Israel.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is essential that the United States government does not recognise this to be so via a relocation of their embassy until the final status of Jerusalem under international law has been resolved. For just as the Palestinian people make a good claim to part of the Land of Israel, so too do they wish to make their capital one day in the sector of Jerusalem east of the Green Line that was occupied in 1967 and annexed in 1980. Palestinian families with property deeds can trace their claim to homes in Sheikh Jarrah and Abu Tor to even before the beginning of the British Mandate.
The question of Jerusalem must, as former Secretary of State Edmund Muskie said with reference to United States Security Council Resolution 478 which condemned Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, “be addressed in the context of negotiations for a comprehensive, just and lasting Middle East peace”. In other words, it is not for the United States nor the European Union — which favours Jerusalem as corpus separatumas detailed in the UN Partition Plan — to be determining Jerusalem’s status by deed. It is for the Israelis and the Palestinians to decide, together, with a view to formulating an agreement that will hold and will bring peace to the region.
Both the Republicans and Democrats are commit to omit the embassy transference as it stands from their current platforms. But what both parties need is a new pledge: that the United States will indeed move its embassy when the Israelis and the Palestinians resolve the final status of Jerusalem through negotiation and concord. That is a mission statement all Americans and indeed all Israelis should be able to agree on.