Jun. 29, 2015
Flaw in U.S. Policy: Even PLO Recognizes Israel’s Right to West Jerusalem – Avi Bell (New York Jewish Week)
- The truly interesting issue raised by the Supreme Court’s ruling in theZivotofsky case – a 13-year court battle by the family to have their son’s birthplace recorded as “Jerusalem, Israel” – was never discussed: what explains Washington’s 67-year battle to deny Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem?
- The State Department has insisted that no part of Jerusalem be recognized in any way as part of Israel. Not the part of Jerusalem that Jordan occupied illegally from 1948-1967 (generally called east Jerusalem). And not the part of Jerusalem that has been part of Israel since its independence in 1948.
- When Israel declared Jerusalem (west Jerusalem) its capital in 1949, the U.S. refused to recognize it, even though international law makes states the sole determinants of their own capital.
- The Obama administration has explained that refusing to recognize Israeli sovereignty in any part of Jerusalem is necessary to avoid interference with the “peace process.” But this justification falls apart upon the slightest examination.
- No senior PLO figure has demanded in recent years that Israel also withdraw from “west Jerusalem.” In demanding that Israel acquire PLO approval for its sovereignty over “west Jerusalem,” the White House is taking a more hardline anti-Israel position than even the PLO.
- The U.S. position on Jerusalem also contradicts the Obama White House’s own controversial stance on the peace process. The White House has endorsed a Palestinian demand that the 1948-1967 cease-fire line should serve as the presumptive border. But when it comes to Israel and Jerusalem, says the White House, the cease-fire line should be forgotten and presumptive Israeli sovereignty should be erased.
The writer is a professor of law at Bar-Ilan University.