Archive for the ‘U.S. Congress and Israel’ category

US must include “sovereignty” in Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act.

December 11, 2017

US must include “sovereignty” in Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act., Israel National News, David Bedein, December 10, 2017

(Please see also, U.S. Still Won’t List Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital on Official Docs, Passports, Maps. — DM)

The time is opportune to amend the US Embassy Relocation Act, so as to clarify the permanent legal status of Israel in Jerusalem to be in tune with what President Trump said when declaring Jerusalem the official capital of Israel.

The real challenge will be whether the U.S. will do so.

Such a policy change remains much more significant than the move of the U.S. embassy.

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President Trump did Israel a favor when he delayed the US embassy move to Jerusalem.  

Current wording of the US Embassy Relocation Act would move the embassy to Jerusalem, yet deprive Israel of sovereignty in Jerusalem. 

The U.S. Embassy Relocation Act does not officially recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel. The wording of Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act in 1995, as passed into law, reads as follows:

(1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected.

(2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel.

As a journalist, I cover ed events in the US capitol when Congress passed the “US Embassy Jerusalem and Recognition Act” in October 1995

There was speculation at the time that the US would abandon its policy from 1948 that all of Jerusalem must be a “corpus separatum”– an international zone apart from Israel.

Yet the final wording of the US Embassy Jerusalem and Recognition Act removed references to Jerusalem as part of Israel and gave no assurance that Jerusalem would remain the exclusive capital of Israel.

Instead, the US Embassy Relocation Act reinforced two archaic rules of US policy which date from 1948: Not to recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel, and to define Jerusalem as an “international zone”.

The assassination of the UN envoy to Jerusalem in September 1948 suspended negotiations over the status of Jerusalem. However, nothing canceled these US policies.

The implications of the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act are not lost on American citizens whose children were born in Jerusalem and whose children’s U.S. passports said “Jerusalem”, with no country listed, as their place of birth. For that reason, American citizens in Jerusalem initiated a class action lawsuit which reached the U.S. Supreme Court last year, with a demand to stamp Jerusalem, Israel on their passports.

The family of Ben Blutstein, an American student murdered by a terror bomb in July 2002 while having lunch in the Frank Sinatra cafeteria at the Hebrew University, still cannot get the US State Department to allow his US death certificate to read “Jerusalem, Israel.”

Spokespeople of the US State Department made it clear that under current law, even if the US embassy moves to Jerusalem, US birth and death certificates will still be stamped ” Jerusalem”, with no country.

If the US embassy moves to Jerusalem under current law, that would establish a “de jure” precedent that the embassy could move – yet with no Israel sovereignty in Jerusalem.

If the US still does not recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel, the next time Israel objects to an Arab education curriculum in Jerusalem, and the next time Israel objects to a given policy at the  Temple Mount , the US can repeat the mantra  that “Jerusalem does not belong to you.”

Why, then, the vocal Arab resentment and the overwhelming Jewish enthusiasm over the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act?
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It is doubtful whether either side has read the wording of the legislation.

The time is opportune to amend the US Embassy Relocation Act, so as to clarify the permanent legal status of Israel in Jerusalem to be in tune with what President Trump said when declaring Jerusalem the official capital of Israel..

The real challenge will be whether the U.S. will do so.

Such a policy change remains much more significant than the move of the U.S. embassy.

Jerusalem: Trump and Congress Challenge the Palestinians to Grow Up

December 6, 2017

Jerusalem: Trump and Congress Challenge the Palestinians to Grow Up, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, December 5, 2017

(There have been numerous conflicting guesses about what President Trump will say this afternoon. We will have to wait to find out. — DM)

Mahmoud Abbas visit to Brussels, Belgium – 27 Mar 2017Mahmoud Abbas visit to Brussels, Belgium – 27 Mar 2017

The irony is that anyone who actually cares about the Palestinians as people should welcome what America is doing now.  It is perhaps the last best chance for the Palestinians to grow up, break free of their endless pattern of self destruction, and give up looking for excuses for another pointless intifada.  Unfortunately, too many of those players enjoy the status quo, profit from it, or resist change in general, like the self-righteous European leadership.

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The president’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to be announced Wednesday is already sending the usual suspects into a tizzy.  The famous Arab Street, we are told, will be erupting.  The despicable fascist that runs Turkey has warned of imminent disaster.  And the president of France is doing what the French usually do vis-a-vis the Jews — well, not quite that bad.

But the real question is how the Palestinians themselves will react once the dust has settled. Will they continue decades of self-destructive violent protests that have led many of us to believe they never had an interest in a two-state solution in the first place, that it was all posturing for handouts? Or will they grow up and realize the time has come to negotiate to a conclusion and accept the responsibility of their own state and the adult compromises that would naturally entail?

By finally moving U.S. policy at least two degrees off years of unimaginative stagnation, Trump has forced the Palestinians to face some measure of reality.  But he is not alone. They are also being challenged forcefully by Congress.  From the Algemeiner:

The Taylor Force Act passed the US House of Representatives by unanimous consent on Tuesday, confronting the Palestinian Authority with the prospect of a massive cut in US aid for as long as it maintains its policy of paying monthly salaries and other benefits to the families of slain or convicted Palestinian terrorists.

Named in memory of Taylor Force – the former American army officer stabbed to death during a knifing spree by a Palestinian assailant in Tel Aviv in March 2016 – the legislation prevents the transfer of funds “that directly benefit the Palestinian Authority” for a six-year period beginning in 2018 unless the PA verifiably ends its so-called “martyr payments” policy. The Taylor Force Act also requires the PA to repeal any laws enabling or favoring the payments policy, as well investigate terrorist acts for the purpose of “bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

Though the embassy move may be more superficially dramatic in a part of the world rarely governed by logic, the congressional action might just be more persuasive to a Palestinian leadership that has been living off global largesse since the Oslo Accords of 1993.  There’s nothing like taking the money out of the hands of kleptocrats. (The U.S. is the PA’s biggest donor to the tune of approximately $700 million per annum, directly or via the UN. The PA, in its turn, paid out $355 million to terrorist — or, as they say, “martyr” — families in 2017.)  At the very least, two branches of the American government seem to be working together for once.

Of course, their attempt  may produce nothing.  Those Hamas and PA billionaires may have enough stashed away to continue their sadistic games, seducing their own impoverished people with dreams of martyrdom over nothing, but for once the dial has been moved.

It will be interesting to see what happens.  The global chess game has changed.  Saudi Arabia, as we all know, is terrified of the Iranians and has found itself a covert ally of Israel against the mullahs.  The Palestinians are aware of that and not happy about it.  They are in a box.  Trump and Congress have chosen an auspicious time to make a move.  Various players will undoubtedly yell and scream in public and say something totally different in private.  That is the way of the Middle East (and America, unfortunately, these days).

The irony is that anyone who actually cares about the Palestinians as people should welcome what America is doing now.  It is perhaps the last best chance for the Palestinians to grow up, break free of their endless pattern of self destruction, and give up looking for excuses for another pointless intifada.  Unfortunately, too many of those players enjoy the status quo, profit from it, or resist change in general, like the self-righteous European leadership.