US presidential candidates have been promising to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city for decades

For over two decades, US presidential candidates have been promising to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s official and eternal capital city. However, after they were elected, the US Embassy remained in Tel Aviv instead of being relocated to Jerusalem.
Bush, Trump and Obama Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

During the meeting last night (Sunday) between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, the latter promised that he will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital city. In addition, Trump said that he will make sure that the US Embassy is moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. While Netanyahu probably desires that the US Embassy be relocated to Jerusalem, this is not the first time that this promise has been made.

In response to the Jerusalem Law, which was passed by the Knesset on August 20, 1980, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 478, which claims that the Israeli law is non-binding and needs to be nullified immediately. The resolution was passed by 14 countries. The US abstained from voting. As part of the resolution, the UN member states were called to remove their embassies from Jerusalem.

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Trump is not the first US presidential candidate to proclaim that he will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital city. In 2008, then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama said that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided.” Today, after eight years in office, the US Embassy is still located in Tel Aviv.

Obama’s declaration from the 2008 US presidential race is very similar to the one that Bill Clinton made in 1992 when he was running for president. In addition, Clinton’s successor George W. Bush promised to “begin the process of moving the United States Ambassador to the city Israel has chosen as its capital.”

However, despite the promises, the US Embassy is still located in Tel Aviv. In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which is aimed at relocating the embassy to Jerusalem. However, the law has never been implemented because every six months, the serving president has signed a waiver preventing the move citing national security interests as the reason.



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