NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed its strong disappointment at the fact that President Bush is following in Bill Clintons footsteps by again refraining from implementing the 1995 U.S. law requiring America to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act of 1995 requires the U.S. to recognize all of undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The U.S. Senate passed the bill, 93 to 5; the U.S. House of Representatives passed it by a vote of 374 to 37.
Although a national security waiver in the bill enables the president to temporarily postpone its implementation, the sponsors of the bill warned when they introduced it that they expected the waiver to be used only in the event of an actual threat to national security, not as an excuse to mask political reasons for postponing the construction of an embassy.
In a letter to President Bush, ZOA National President Morton A. Klein wrote: Mr. President, you repeatedly promised that, if elected, you would begin the process of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem on the day you were elected. The suggestion that American national security could be endangered by moving the embassy sends a message that terrorism pays. This appeasement may well encourage more terrorism by showing terrorists that violence and threats of violence can succeed in changing U.S. policy. You have said that you will have zero tolerance for terrorism, yet you are in effect permitting terrorists to determine U.S. policy regarding Jerusalem.
The ZOA notes that previously, opponents of moving the embassy to Jerusalem claimed such a move would provoke Arab violence. In the meantime, however, Yasir Arafats Palestinian Authority and other terrorist groups have launched massive violence anywaydemonstrating that it is not the embassy issue which causes Arab violence, and that there will continue to be Arab violence whether or not the embassy is moved.
Americas failure to recognize Jerusalem as Israels capital and maintain an embassy there sends a dangerous signal to the Arab worldit tells the Arabs that the United States rejects Israels right to Jerusalem and gives the Arabs hope that the U.S. will pressure Israel to surrender parts of Jerusalem. Implementing the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act will compel the Arabs to scale down their extremist and unrealistic expectations.