There is a fundamental misunderstanding, which is that if the US recognizes Jerusalem as  capital of Israel, that would mean that the US recognizes Jerusalem as part of Israel.

However, the US embassy relocation legislation does not negate the status of Jerusalem’s status as a Corpus Separatum (Latin for “separated body”) as a term used to describe Jerusalem area in the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine. According to that plan, still supported by the US, the city would be placed under international rule as part of any final resolution of the Middle East state of affairs..

As a journalist, I covered events in the US capitol when Congress passed the US embassy Jerusalem relocation bill in October 1995, also known as the “Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act”.

There were expectations at the time that the embassy move would mean hat the US would renounce its position, adopted in 1948, that Jerusalem was not to be recognized as a part of Israel and that  Jerusalem must be an international zone.

However, the final version of the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act removed all explicit references to Jerusalem as “part of Israel” , without mention that Jerusalem would remain the exclusive capital of Israel.

The late  Faisal Husseini , who then headed the PLO Jerusalem committee, was present in Washington at the time , as was Yossi Beilin, then deputy foreign minister of Israel –

Both Husseini and Beilin endorsed the wording of Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act in 1995, as it was passed into law, which , as enacted, stated:

(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.

In other words, the US embassy relocation act did not violate two US premises from 1948; that Jerusalem was not to be recognized as a part of Israel, and that Jerusalem should  be extraterritorial to Israel.

US  policy will continue to apply to passports and birth certificates of US citizens in Jerusalem, where the word ‘Israel’  does not appear on any official US document issued in Jerusalem. Even in death. The family of a US citizen, Ben Blutstein, killed by a terrorist bomb in July 2002 at the Frank Sinatra cafeteria at the Hebrew University, could not get the US State Department to allow his US death certificate to read “Jerusalem, Israel”.

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

If the US embassy does move to Jerusalem under current constraints of US law,  that move will establish the “de jure” precedent  that a  US embassy move to Jerusalem will not include  recognition of  Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.

A “de jure” US non- recognition of  Jerusalem as a part of Israel will mean that if  t Israel objects to an Arab education curriculum in Jerusalem, or if  Israel objects to a given policy at the Western Wall or the Temple Mount, US diplomats can repeat the mantra that  “Jerusalem does not belong to you”.


  1. Perhaps someone should inform the US administration that resolution 181 was non-binding and not agreed to by the Arabs, therefore it was never implemented and has no legal force.


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David Bedein
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: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.