In 1995 the US Congress passed a law that says that the United States Embassy in Israel should be relocated to the Jewish states capital—Jerusalem. A provision in the law gave the President of the United States the right to waive the application of the law if he deemed necessary as a matter of national security. The waiver needs to be invoked every six months by whoever is the President and so far with without fail for the last eighteen years, every six months the necessity to come in compliance with the federal law has been waived by the President.
This year’s six months ended on June 4th and President Obama did not disappoint, he invoked the waiver right on schedule just like all the other Presidents before him. Actually he did disappoint many including this writer by not having the courage for a President so determined to do the right thing and actually—for a change—do the right thing and finally move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
Of course that would cause a great furor and probably lead to all kinds of rioting, murders, vandalism and terrorism throughout the Arab world. US embassies and consulates would come under attack in probably every Arab country except for Libya where it was already attacked and destroyed last year.
But can we really fault Barrack Obama for not doing the right thing when considering that Israel’s best friend ever in the White House—George W. Bush—refused the move as did Bill Clinton before him. Have you ever wondered why Congress creates laws with a provision that says that we do not have to invoke or adhere to the law?
The letter from the White House Press Secretary’s office that is printed here with this article says that the President has “determined that it is necessary in order to protect the national security interests of the United States to suspend for a period of 6 months the limitations set forth,” by the law.
There is probably no greater potentially volatile issue that exists today than the idea of the US recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. If any US President had the courage to make the move it would be both an indulgence in honest diplomatic maneuvering and could set the area potentially on a course toward real peace.
The US, however, functions today as if a Palestinian state has already been established and that Jerusalem is its capital. This is clearly evidenced by the fashion in which that US Consulate building located on Agron Street just down that very congested and steep hilly roadway leading down from King George Street to the Old City. Those who reside or stay in Rechavya when in Israel know it well. It’s the heavily guarded building with a constant plethora of official SUV’s parked outside. If you are an American Jew living or visiting Israel and need to deal with a governmental or diplomatic matter you must travel to the embassy in Tel Aviv to deal with whatever it is. The consulate on Agron is for the almost exclusive use of the Arab population in Jerusalem.
So you might be wondering if this edifice and its staff is there to serve the Arab population then why isn’t it located in an Arab sector of the city or perhaps even in Eastern Jerusalem. The answer to that is that the US considers those heavily Arab populated areas as too dangerous for their staffs to work in. Be mindful of the fact that it is not too dangerous for Israel to cede an entire half of the city to the same people, just too dangerous for US personnel to go to work there even though it is carefully guarded by a heavily armed security detail.
This is no way to get things done. Without honesty and integrity how does anyone in this process expect to achieve peace?