Washington forgets its policy on Jerusalem at Peres' funeral

Washington forgets its policy on Jerusalem at Peres' funeral
2 min read
01 Oct, 2016
The White House corrects President Obama's Eulogy for Shimon Peres after its initial release referred to Jerusalem as being Israeli territory.
President Barack Obama delivered a eulogy at Shimon Peres' funeral on Friday [Getty]

The White House corrected the transcript of President Barack Obama's eulogy for former Israeli leader Shimon Peres after the initial release referred to Jerusalem as being in Israel - a statement that contradicts Washington's official line on the city.

The original transcript, entitled "Remarks by President Obama at Memorial Service for Former Israeli President Shimon Peres, Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, Israel." Less than ten hours later, Washington released a correction which had a strikethrough line through the word Israel.

While Israel considers Jerusalem to be its capital, the international community does not recognise this - including the US. According to the UN, the city belongs solely to neither Palestine nor Israel.

The corrected release of the transcript [The White House]

Obama's administration has followed the line of his predecessors - that Jerusalem is not Israel's capital - however the US' official policy on the holy city is much more complicated than this.

The US embassy in Israel is currently in Tel Aviv, however with the passing of the Jerusalem Embassy act in 1995, the US Congress declared that: "Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel".

President Bill Clinton was unable to veto this bill due to the majorities that would oppose him in Congress. It went into his effect without Clinton's signature, while the president maintained that the legislative chamber had no constitutional authority to determine the issue.

Since this declaration, Clinton and his two successors have filed presidential declarations every six months invoking an exception to the law. This declaration allows the US to keep its embassy in Tel Aviv on security grounds.

If the run up to the 2016 US presidential election in November, Republican nominee Donald Trump has promised to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's "undivided" capital.