Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel and has been the capital of the Jewish people since King David conquered the city in the book of Samuel. King Solomon built the first of two temples in Jerusalem during the beginning chapters of the book of Kings. Jerusalem is mentioned over 600 times in the bible. The Knesset (Israel’s parliament), Supreme Court and President’s House are all located in Jerusalem.
However, the United States Embassy is in Tel Aviv and not in Jerusalem.
The 104th congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act on October 23, 1995. The law was adopted by the Senate 93-5 and House of Representatives 374-37. The law was meant to initiate and fund the relocation of the Embassy to Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999. The act called for Jerusalem to remain an undivided city and for it to be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.
Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have all decided to utilize their presidential waiver to delay the implementation of the law every six months on the grounds of national security. Instead of an Embassy there is a U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem that has been operational since 1844. The United States currently maintains three buildings in Jerusalem, a Consulate, a consular annex and a new office annex.
Although former President George W. Bush declared that “My administration remains committed to beginning the process of moving our embassy to Jerusalem.” Bush never followed through.
Haaretz chief political columnist and editorial writer reported that President Barack Obama has promised the Palestinian leadership that there will be no change to U.S. policy on the issue of Jerusalem, and that eastern Jerusalem does not constitute part of the State of Israel. As such, any Israeli construction in eastern Jerusalem, like in Judea and Samaria, is illegal.
Many in congress are frustrated by this situation. Prime Minister Netanyahu received standing ovation and applause during his speech in congress when he said: “Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel”.
Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05) in an event on Capitol Hill marking 46 years since the reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty stated “We strongly believe that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel with no waivers and no caveats.”
The issue of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has been in the works for years. Congress stands behind the State of Israel and it is their hope that one day the United States Administration will follow through with implementing the Jerusalem Embassy Act.