Jerusalem - Political Status

Political Status

See also: Positions on Jerusalem

Under the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine passed by the UN in 1947, Jerusalem was envisaged to become a corpus separatum administered by the United Nations. While the Jewish leaders accepted the partition plan, the Arab leadership (the Arab Higher Committee in Palestine and the Arab League) rejected it, opposing any partition. In the war of 1948, the western part of the city was occupied by forces of the nascent state of Israel, while the eastern part was occupied by Jordan. The international community largely considers the legal status of Jerusalem to derive from the partition plan, and correspondingly refuses to recognize Israeli sovereignty in the city. On 5 December 1949, the State of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, proclaimed Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and since then all branches of the Israeli government—legislative, judicial, and executive—have resided there, except for the Ministry of Defense, located at HaKirya in Tel Aviv. At the time of the proclamation, Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan and thus only West Jerusalem was proclaimed Israel's capital. Following the Six-Day War, Israel annexed East Jerusalem, and a provision stipulating that the city was the united capital of Israel was added to the country's Basic Law. The status of a "united Jerusalem" as Israel's "eternal capital" has been a matter of immense controversy within the international community. Although some countries maintain consulates in Jerusalem, all embassies are located outside the city proper, mostly in Tel Aviv. Due to the non-recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, some non-Israeli press use Tel Aviv as a metonym for Israel.

The non-binding United Nations Security Council Resolution 478, passed on 20 August 1980, declared that the Basic Law was "null and void and must be rescinded forthwith". Member states were advised to withdraw their diplomatic representation from Jerusalem as a punitive measure. Most of the remaining countries with embassies in Jerusalem complied with the resolution by relocating them to Tel Aviv, where many embassies already resided prior to Resolution 478. Currently, there are no embassies located within the city limits of Jerusalem, although there are embassies in Mevaseret Zion, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, and four consulates in the city itself. In 1995, the United States Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which required, subject to conditions, that that country's embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However, U.S. presidents have argued that Congressional resolutions regarding the status of Jerusalem are merely advisory. The Constitution reserves foreign relations as an executive power, and as such, the United States embassy is still in Tel Aviv.

On 28 October 2009, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that Jerusalem must be the capital of both Israel and Palestine if peace is to be achieved.

The Palestinian National Authority views East Jerusalem as occupied territory according to United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. The Palestinian Authority claims all of East Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, as the capital of the State of Palestine, and claims that West Jerusalem is also subject to permanent status negotiations. However, it has stated that it would be willing to consider alternative solutions, such as making Jerusalem an open city.

In 2010, Israel approved legislation giving Jerusalem the highest national priority status in Israel. The law prioritized construction throughout the city, and offered grants and tax benefits to residents to make housing, infrastructure, education, employment, business, tourism, and cultural events more affordable. Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon said that the bill sent "a clear, unequivocal political message that Jerusalem will not be divided", and that "all those within the Palestinian and international community who expect the current Israeli government to accept any demands regarding Israel's sovereignty over it's capital are mistaken and misleading".

Read more about this topic:  Jerusalem

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