I was a journalist covering the U.S. Capitol when the Congress passed the U.S. embassy Jerusalem relocation bill in October, 1995, also known as the “Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act

There were expectations at the time that the U.S. would renounce a longstanding position that Jerusalem was not to be recognized as a part of Israel, along with the idea, that all of Jerusalem must be recognized as an international zone.

However, the final version of the act in 1995 removed explicit references to Jerusalem as a part of Israel and did not mention that Jerusalem would remain an exclusive capital to Israel.

Faisal Husseini, in DC at the time as the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Jerusalem committee, and Yossi Beilin, then Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, endorsed the act, as it was worded.

The realities of the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act were 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, Jerusalem-Americans initiated a class action lawsuitwhich reached the U.S. Supreme Court last year, with a demand to stamp Jerusalem on their passports. They lost, because America’s highest court would not challenge U.S. diplomatic policy.

As to the vocal Arab resentment and loud Jewish enthusiasm over the implementation of the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act, it is doubtful that either side read the wording of the legislation.

Regarding the PLO threat against Jerusalem if the embassy moves, precedent speaks for itself. I remember the threats when Palestinian leaders warned of violence if Jews would move to the new Jerusalem settlement of Har Homa. 19 years later, Har Homa thrives and no fires flicker on that hilly Jerusalem neighborhood.

Meanwhile, U.S. citizens who want their country to recognize Jerusalem as a part of Israel, may wish to advise Congress and White House that legislative change may be in order.

The U.S. adopted an official policy in 1948, in the months that preceded Israel’s War of Independence, which declared that Jerusalem must be defined as an international zone under U.S. trusteeship, and remain extraterritorial to Israel. The State Department went so far as to appoint its own governor for Jerusalem.

The assassination of the UN envoy to Jerusalem in September, 1948 suspended that process, but did not cancel the U.S. policy.

A case in point: the family of U.S. citizen Ben Blutstein, killed by a terrorist’s bomb in July 2002 while eating lunch at the Frank Sinatra cafeteria at the Hebrew University, could not get the U.S. State Department to allow his U.S. death certificate to read “Jerusalem, Israel.”as the location where he was killed.

The same U.S. policy applies to birth certificates. Four of my children were born in Jerusalem. The birthplace mentioned on their American birth certificates is listed as “Jerusalem,” with no mention of any nation that they were born in.

So, the question remains as to whether the U.S. will ever recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel. Such a policy decision would be seem to be more crucial than the symbolic matter of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.



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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.