After 40 Years, U.S. Avoids Jerusalem Reunification Day
The United States will avoid Jerusalem Reunification Day festivities this week despite a 12-year-old Congressional bill calling for the American embassy to be located in the capital. Since then, every President has exercised a waiver in the bill allowing the move to be deferred for a renewable period of six months.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni insisted that the "connection between Israel and Jerusalem is inseparable" despite the boycott by the U.S. and most of the international community. Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski went further and declared, "Anyone who doesn't recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel does not recognize the State of Israel."
Anyone who doesn't recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel does not recognize the State of Israel.
American officials, including former Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, have stated that moving the embassy is not likely to happen until there is a final peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The U.S. did not issue an official statement explaining why the current Ambassador, Richard Jones will not be attending the ceremonies, but Ambassador Dr. Harald Kindermann from Germany, which heads the European Union (EU) this year, specifically said EU countries will not participate because of Arab claims of sovereignty over eastern Jerusalem, which includes the Old City.
The Foreign Ministry said Sunday it is "unhappy and disappointed" that most delegations announced they were not coming to the festivities but added that officials from several embassies will attend.
Two American lawmakers have launched an effort to put a stop to the continuing deferral of the Congressional bill to move the embassy from Tel Aviv. Republican House of Representatives members Joe Wilson and Mike Pence recently introduced a resolution stating that Jerusalem "must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected as they have been by Israel during the past 40 years."
Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected as they have been by Israel during the past 40 years.
The new resolution "strongly urges" American President George W. Bush to stop exercising the waiver to delay the move of the embassy. It also calls on him and American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to "repeatedly affirm publicly, as a matter of United States policy, that Jerusalem must remain the undivided capital of the State of Israel."
The congressmen also noted that the 2003 Foreign Relations Authorization Act directs that the birth of any U.S. citizen born in Jerusalem should be recorded as "Jerusalem, Israel" upon the request of the citizen or his or her guardian.
That requirement has never been implemented, and the city is listed without its being designated that it is in Israel.
Israel officially incorporated all of Jerusalem into the municipality in 1980, a move that caused virtually all of the embassies that had been located in Jerusalem to move away. The last holdouts were El Salvador and Costa Rica, which pulled out several months ago.