Does Obama Think Yerushalayim is Outside Israel?

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obama3By Gil Ronen

The United States State Department is standing behind the wording of an official statement that implied that Jerusalem – including its western parts – is not a part of Israel. Against the backdrop of President Barack Obama’s speech calling on Israel to return to the 1949 Armistice lines, the statement’s implications appear more alarming.

The May 18 statement was cited in a Weekly Standard column by Eliot Abrams, a former foreign policy advisor for presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Abrams wrote:

“In what country is the Knesset?… [I]t seems that this question has stumped the State Department. It does not know or will not say what country the Knesset is in, nor-one must assume-does it know what country the Prime Minister’s Office, the Israel Museum, or especially the Western Wall are in.

He quotes a “remarkable” press release from the State Department about the travels of Deputy Secretary James Steinberg, which says:

Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg visits Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank [our emphasis, ed.] May 18-19, 2011. In Israel, Deputy Secretary Steinberg met with Israeli academic and student leaders. In the West Bank, he met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian officials. Among other issues, he discussed moving forward on Middle East peace as well as the recent fundamental changes in the region and the United States’ response to them. On May 19, he will participate in the U.S.-Israel Strategic Dialogue. The Strategic Dialogue allows senior U.S. and Israeli leaders to discuss, on a regular basis and in depth, the many issues that affect our mutual security and partnership.

The wording of the statement seems to imply that Jerusalem is outside Israel. Since Steinberg’s visit included a meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon in the Foreign Ministry, which is in western Jerusalem, the implication seems to be that western Jerusalem, too, is separate from Israel.

“I suppose the poor benighted Israelis believed they were hosting Steinberg in their country when he visited government offices,” Abrams wrote sarcastically. “But he knew better. What makes this especially egregious is that Israeli government offices-where Mr. Steinberg would have had his official meetings-are actually in west Jerusalem, the portion Israel controlled even before 1967. Yet the Clinton State Department is apparently unwilling to call even that portion of the city ‘Israel.'”

Abrams believes the statement is not an innocuous mistake: “While Deputy Secretary Steinberg and Secretary Clinton’s State Department may believe that the Western Wall of the ancient Temple is actually not in Israel, and are apparently unwilling to confirm that the Knesset and Prime Minister’s Office are in Israel, it’s an unsustainable position. It is a ludicrous, insulting, morally untenable position.”

In response to a query by Arutz Sheva, the State Department did not retract or try to claim the statement had been misunderstood.

A U.S. Embassy spokesperson would not directly address the article, but stated: “The formula as it was written does not show any change in the American policy toward Israel, and similar wording was used in the past.”

Read more at Arutz Sheva.

{Arutz Sheva/Matzav.com Newscenter}

12 COMMENTS

  1. Just to prove this point that the American government does not recognize that Jerusalem is in Israel, my children’s American birth certificates and passports report that they were born in Jerusalem. There is no mention of Israel at all.

  2. Gil, and #2 its not an implication. Unfortunatly the Us state dept doesnt recognise Israeli sovernity over Yerushalyim. This has been the case not since 67′ but since the very beggiing. No President ever viewed yerushalyim otherwise. You dont need a “diyuk” in a report or on a passport, it is official stated US policy. the embassy which is generally in foreign capitols in Tel aviv not yerushalyim. Several preisdents vowed to move the embassy as per Congressional resolution, and this is a talking point during campaign stops, but nothing ever came of it.
    The Us Supreme court is going to be hearing a case on the matter and it is very hard to say how it will play out. Case is Zivotofsky v. Clinton, No. 10-699.

  3. The first Rashi in the Torah is directed to us, not to the umos ha’olom.

    We know that He Who owns the world gave us Eretz Yisrael as an eternal inheritance. It does not matter one iota what the rest of the nations of the world think.

  4. Just imagine if the U.S. tried to deny Mecca belongs to the Moslems. What self-respecting nation would allow their holiest sites to be bargained.

  5. I don’t want any flags flying on the Temple Mount but would like to work with the Israelis and other groups to make sure issues of access, control and day to day management are dealt with. No one owns the Temple Mount. The value of the 150,000 sq.m. trapezoid land is priceless. But it has been prophesied that a certain person should be given the job as caretaker. Jerusalem will be the seat of Messianic Government. Some semantics, labels and identity constructs need to be clarified. The correct command and control structure must be established. The Noble Sanctuary will be a House for All Nations. The platform at the centre of the Old City is a microcosm of the region. Will the place be stable, ordered, benevolent and expansive ? Do the Israelis and Palestinians want Ganeden ? Which groups have some major conceptual blocks at the moment ? Who is delaying the redemption ?

  6. Would like to echo that this is not news. If the situation were any different, children born in hospitals like Shaarei Tzedek, Bikur Cholim and Hadassah Ein Kerem would be registered as having been born in Israel, not Jerusalem, on their American passports. It is also not coincidental that residents of Jerusalem cannot register for social security numbers in the Tel Aviv embassy – only in the consulate in Jerusalem, along with all the residents of anywhere beyond the green line from Beitar to Kiryat Sefer to Gaza.

  7. None of us know what parts of Yerushalayim Obama thinks are outside of Israel but we all know what George W Bush thinks is outside of Israel because George Bush and Olmert offered to Abbas in 2008 all of the West Bank and the Arab Parts of East Jerusalem along with an internationalizing of the “Holy Sites” in Jerusalem.
    This is recorded in George Bush’s published memoirs Decisions Points and in Olmert’s interviews.
    Jerusalem Post records ( one place of countless media stories on this ) Olmert says that on August 31, 2008, three weeks before he resigned, he offered 100 percent of West Bank land (minus 6.8% in land swaps), 10,000 Palestinian refugees returning to Israel’s final borders, and the holy basin of Jerusalem’s Old City coming under joint Israeli-Palestinian-American- Jordanian-Saudi control. He last met with Abbas on September 16 of that year – five days before he resigned, and more than six months before he left office – and Abbas did not respond or make a counteroffer.”
    http://www.jpost.com/Features/FrontLines/Article.aspx?id=218340
    And we all know that GW Bush would offer this because 7 months prior to the offer “on the eve of US President George W. Bush’s visit to Israel and the region, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice placed the issue of settlement activity in the West Bank and east Jerusalem at center stage, telling The Jerusalem Post January 8, 2008: “Har Homa is a settlement the United States has opposed from the very beginning.” Condi Rice also said “ …The United States doesn’t make a distinction [ between settlement activity in east Jerusalem and the West Bank ] and Israel’s road map obligations [which include a complete building freeze ] relate to settlement activity generally.”
    Regarding the 2004 Bush letter sent in 2004 as “payment” to the Ariel Sharon for his Disengagement from Gaza Condi Rice described the letter as “the president’s acknowledgement that these changes have taken place and have to be accommodated. This president also said it needs to be mutually agreed [upon]. So the negotiation, the agreement itself, will finally resolve these issues, and we can stop having the discussion about what’s a settlement and what isn’t.”
    http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=88107

    May 21, 2011: Jay Carney White House spokesperson hours after Obama gave his mideast speech said in response to a question from a reporter on the Bush 2004 letter ( from Whitehose.gov): J. Carney “There is nothing that the president said yesterday that contradicts the 2004 letters that were exchanged between President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon, or what Prime Minister Netanyahu said today in the Oval Office,”
    And if that isn’t enough Obama reiterated on May 20, 2011:
    President Obama: “The basis for negotiations will be looking at that 1967 border recognizing that the conditions on the ground have changed and there are going to need to be swaps to accommodate the interests of both sides, that’s on the one hand. On the other hand, this was an equally important part of the speech, Israel’s going to have to feel confident about its security on the WB and that security element is going to be important to the Israeli’s. They will not be able to move forward unless they feel that they themselves can defend their territory particularly given what they’ve seen happen in Gaza and the rockets that have been fired by Hezbollah.”

    And we all know that GW Bush would offer this because within 12 months of when he and Olmert offered it up, He and Condi Rice went on tour together and he collaborated with her to tell the media the following:
    Jerusalem Post Jerusalem Post January 8, 2009:
    On the eve of US President George W. Bush’s visit to Israel and the region, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice placed the issue of settlement activity in the West Bank and east Jerusalem at center stage, telling The Jerusalem Post January 8, 2009:
    Condi Rice said ” Har Homa is a settlement the United States has opposed from the very beginning” Rice, who was accompanying Bush en route to Israel overnight Tuesday, said that quote “the United States doesn’t make a distinction between settlement activity in east Jerusalem and the West Bank” and “Israel’s road map obligations which include a building freeze relate to settlement activity generally.”
    Regarding the 2004 Bush letter […Regarding Bush’s 2004 letter written in response to the Ariel Sharon Disengagement from Gaza…]…Rice described the letter as “the president’s acknowledgement that these changes have taken place and have to be accommodated. This president also said it needs to be mutually agreed [upon]. So the negotiation, the agreement itself, will finally resolve these issues, and we can stop having the discussion about what’s a settlement and what isn’t.”
    http://newstopics.jpost.com/topic/George_W._Bush

    and Obama said the same on May 20: May 20, 2011
    President Obama: “The basis for negotiations will be looking at that 1967 border recognizing that the conditions on the ground have changed and there are going to need to be swaps to accommodate the interests of both sides, that’s on the one hand. On the other hand, this was an equally important part of the speech, Israel’s going to have to feel confident about its security on the WB and that security element is going to be important to the Israeli’s. They will not be able to move forward unless they feel that they themselves can defend their territory particularly given what they’ve seen happen in Gaza and the rockets that have been fired by Hezbollah.

    Furthermore, the next day, May 20, on the BBC, President Obama told the interviewer Andrew Marr of the BBC quote:“The basis for negotiations will be looking at that 1967 border recognizing that the conditions on the ground have changed and there are going to need to be swaps to accommodate the interests of both sides, that’s on the one hand. On the other hand, this was an equally important part of the speech, Israel’s going to have to feel confident about its security on the WB and that security element is going to be important to the Israeli’s. They will not be able to move forward unless they feel that they themselves can defend their territory particularly given what they’ve seen happen in Gaza and the rockets that have been fired by Hezbollah.”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13485946

  8. #4 Yankel: The State Department, in the past, has not recognized Western Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; however it was still always recognized as part of Israel.

  9. #10, you are wrong as has been mentioned (by myself and others)children born in yerushalyim (any part) dont have Israel listed as country of birth, rather “jerusalem” becasue it isnt recognized as being part of Israel.
    Can you prove otherwise?

  10. The supreme court of the US agreed to hear the case of the family whose son was born in Jerusalem who sued to get Israel on their son’s Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

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