Lawfare Project encouraged by U.S. Embassy in Israel relocation to Jerusalem

The Lawfare Project is encouraged to see the triumph of law and reason in today's decision by the United States to formally dedicate its Embassy in Israel's capital: the great city of Jerusalem. While political and diplomatic challenges remain, the law is very clear. The Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed by an overwhelming and bipartisan majority of both houses of Congress in 1995, required the State Department to move our Embassy to Jerusalem, in recognition of the simple fact that Jerusalem is the home to each branch of Israel's government—its executives, the Prime Minister and the President, live and work in Jerusalem; the Knesset, Israel's legislature, is housed in Jerusalem; and the Israeli Supreme Court renders judicial opinions in its Jerusalem chambers. The Jerusalem Embassy Act also declared that Israel was the only member of the Community of Nations whose sovereign right to identify and declare its own capital had ever been forsaken. While the 1995 Act did include a 6-month national security waiver, there was no congressional intent for such a waiver to be exercised in perpetuity. On this historic day, 23 years after the Jerusalem Embassy Act was signed into law, its purpose has been effectuated.


U.S. law on this topic is bolstered by numerous international legal principles and conventions, including the San Remo Resolution, the Franco-British Boundary Convention of 1920, the Anglo-American Convention of 1924, the League of Nations' British Mandate for Palestine, and Article 80 of the UN Charter, all of which have declared the legal right of the Jewish people to exercise sovereignty over the geographic area known as Palestine—including Jerusalem. These rights have never been revoked.

It is worth noting, as well, that although the new U.S. Embassy is located in the western portion of the city, there is no basis under international law for the separation of Jerusalem—known as "corpus separatum"—into eastern and western halves. Despite the fact that such a division was offered to both the Jews and the Arabs of Palestine in the 1947 Partition Plan, and the Jews accepted the offer, the Arabs rejected the offer and declared war on the Jews. In fact, Jerusalem has always been an undivided city, except for a 19-year period between 1948 and 1967 in which Jordan illegally occupied it.  As such, under international law, there is no such thing, either legally or geographically, as East or West Jerusalem. There is only the city of Jerusalem. Never in history has Jerusalem been declared the capital of any other nation other than the Jewish state. Jews have comprised the majority population in Jerusalem since the mid 1800s and have had a continual presence in the city for more than 3,000 years.

Today, the United States acknowledges facts, law, history, reality, and ultimate truth. In finally moving our Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, we declare our commitment to Israel's safety, security, and sovereignty, and apply the same legal principles and standards that we have applied for every other nation on earth with which we have diplomatic relations.