Ten Reasons for Recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel

By Amb Alan Baker, JCPA

Institute for Contemporary Affairs

Founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation

Vol. 17, No. 34

  1. Jerusalem has been the official capital of the State of Israel and the center of its government since 1950. Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s President, Knesset, and Supreme Court, and the site of most government ministries and social and cultural institutions. Jerusalem is the ancient spiritual center of Judaism and is also considered a holy city by the members of other religious faiths. Israel protects the holy sites of all faiths.

The Supreme Court and the Knesset in Jerusalem (Israel Foreign Ministry)

  1. In 1967, Jordan rejected warnings from Israel and opened an aggressive war against Israel by bombarding Jerusalem. In response and in self-defense, Israel captured east Jerusalem, then controlled by Jordan.
Jerusalem under Jordanian artillery barrage, 1967

Smoke rises over Jerusalem from Jordanian artillery barrage in the 1967 war.

  1. As such, Israel’s status in eastern Jerusalem is entirely legitimate and lawful and accepted by the international community under the international law of armed conflict.
  2. The 1967 unification of Jerusalem by Israel through the extension of its law, jurisdiction, and administration to eastern Jerusalem, while not accepted by the international community, did not alter the legality of Israel’s presence and status in, and governance of, the city.
  3. The United States has consistently stated that the issue of Jerusalem must be solved by negotiation as part of a just, durable and comprehensive peace settlement.1
  4. Numerous politically-generated resolutions and declarations by the UN, UNESCO, and others, attempting to revise and distort the long history of Jerusalem and to deny basic religious, legal and historic rights of the Jewish People and the State of Israel in Jerusalem, have no legal standing and are not binding. They represent nothing more than the political viewpoints of those states that voted to adopt them.
Bill Clinton, Yitzhak Rabin, Yasser Arafat at the White House in 1993

Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton, and Yasser Arafat at the Oslo Accords signing ceremony on 13 September 1993. (Vince Musi / The White House – gpo.gov)

  1. The PLO and Israel agreed in the Oslo Accords that “the issue of Jerusalem” is a permanent status negotiating issue that can only be settled by direct negotiation between them with a view to settling their respective claims. The U.S. President, as well as the presidents of the Russian Federation and Egypt, the King of Jordan, and the official representatives of the EU are among the signatories as witnesses to the Oslo Accords.
  2. Neither UN/UNESCO resolutions, nor declarations by governments, leaders, and organizations can impose a solution to the issue of Jerusalem, nor can they dictate or prejudge the outcome of such negotiations.
  3. Acknowledging the facts that Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel and that locating the embassy in Jerusalem is the sovereign prerogative of the United States – and the United States only – would in no way prejudice or influence the peace negotiation process. They would be an acknowledgment of a long-standing factual situation and rectification of a historic injustice.
  4. Statements by the King of Jordan, the Palestinian leadership, and Arab leaders that recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or locating the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem will endanger the peace process and bring a wave of violence, are nothing but empty threats and unfortunate attempts to threaten a sovereign government and incite.  Surrendering to such threats of violence and terrorism would be a dangerous precedent and a sign of weakness.

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1 UN statements by Ambassadors Goldberg (1967) and Yost (1969), statement by Secretary of State Rogers (1969) and letter by President Carter (1978).

Amb. Alan Baker is Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center and the head of the Global Law Forum. He participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians, as well as agreements and peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. He served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Israel’s ambassador to Canada.

December 5, 2017 | 2 Comments »

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  1. Well, no. 7 would tend to undermine his argument but for the two facts that cancel it.
    a) The PA has not honored any of its agreements thus voiding the contract.
    b) Abbas has recently declared that the Oslo accords are null and void which means that the only binding legal international agreement is the League of Nations Resolutions which assign all of the land west of the Jordan river to Israel.
    Moreover, if the international community is sincere in wanting to divide Jerusalem into a capital city for two states, then it is hypocrisy for the EU to oppose it. Putin’s Russia has already recognized West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, at least. But, the PA doesn’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state, or any part of Jerusalem as its capital. He can get away with it, because it is dismissed as a negotiating ploy. It’s not. It’s carved in stone. The unholy trinity of Peres, Beilin and Rabin stupidly brought a bunch of neo-Nazis back from exile in Tunisia at the very moment they were on the way out because of their support for Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, and gave them new life and the key to the city. Morons. And all this nonsense about the Kotel by people who could care less about it — I’m waiting for them to demand Atheist and animist prayer spaces, maybe a nice commemorative statue of King Antiochus IV — is just the American solidarity wing of the Israel’s Knesset suicide brigade trying to get in through the back door.