The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has pointed out the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which calls for Jerusalem to remain undivided under Israeli control, is being violated by the insistence of the Obama Administration that Jews cease to build homes in eastern Jerusalem as a prelude to its division. The Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed by the U.S. Congress on October 23, 1995, by a vote of 93 to 5 in the Senate and 374 to 37 in the House of Representatives, rejects the past American practice of maintaining the U.S. Embassy to Israel in Tel Aviv and mandates its relocation in Jerusalem. It also holds that Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected and that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.
The Jerusalem Embassy Act also states that every country has a right to designate the capital of its choice, and that Israel has designated Jerusalem, which is also the spiritual center of Judaism. It also notes that since the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, religious freedom has been guaranteed to all.
Last week, despite Israels existing unilateral concession of a ten-month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, but excluding Jerusalem, which the Obama Administration had accepted, the Administration harshly condemned Israel for announcing a construction program for Jewish residents in eastern Jerusalem. Preventing Jews, because they are Jews, from moving into or developing their communities in Jerusalem is a racist policy which aims to weaken Israels claim to Jerusalem and is a first step towards dividing the city.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, By demanding that Jews stop building homes in eastern Jerusalem, the Obama Administration is pursuing a policy that contravenes the Jerusalem Embassy Law, to say nothing of the overwhelming consensus of Israelis and the government they have elected.
Jerusalem is Israels religious and historical capital. In contrast, it is not mentioned even once in the Quran. When the eastern half of the city was under Jordanian Arab control from 1948 to 1967, it languished and became a backwater in which Jewish religious shrines and rights were violated. No Arab ruler other than Jordans King Hussein even visited the city during that period.
The Jerusalem Embassy Act correctly states that, since the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, religious freedom has been guaranteed to all. What sort of grotesque reversal would it be that insists, while religious freedom for all has been achieved in Jerusalem, we must now re-institute religious and residential inequality in Jerusalem and decide who lives where on the basis of religious identity?
The Palestinian Authority (PA), as ZOA has demonstrated repeatedly, neither accepts Israel as a Jewish state nor works to end terrorism and the incitement to hatred and murder that feeds it. But even if it were otherwise, there is no reason to argue in the name of peace that Jews should be barred from building homes in the eastern part of the city. What sort of genuine peace depends upon parts of Jerusalem being made Jew-free? Why cannot Jews live in eastern Jerusalem while 1.2 million Arabs live all over Israel, including in Jerusalem?
It is quite clear that U.S. law regards Jerusalem as the united capital of the Jewish state of Israel. By working actively against the right of Jews to build homes in parts of Jerusalem as a prelude to its future division, the Obama Administration is ignoring and violating the law. It should cease to do so immediately.