Three questions for the U.S. about Jerusalem

August 17, 2012

There are three issues relating to the U.S. stance toward Jerusalem to which Robert Pines' article usefully draws attention ("U.S. must recognizeIsrael'scapital," Aug. 15).

The first is whether the U.S. government considers Jerusalem to be part of Israel. The second is whether the U.S. regards Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The third is whether the U.S. government wishes to locate its embassy in Jerusalem.

It would be consistent with congressional and public sentiment, and with the comments of previous U.S. presidents, for President Barack Obama to publicly and explicitly declare that Jerusalem is part of Israel and that he was instructing the State Department and other government agencies to make their policies reflect that reality.

It would also be helpful if President Obama were to declare — as did both he and President Bill Clinton as candidates — that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. If the U.S. government is unwilling to make these two unequivocal statements, there is little reason to expect other friendly governments will.

The question of relocating the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem is a separate matter. But while it might be desirable as well, the government's reluctance to move its embassy should not excuse it from doing the first two things.

Stephen Levine

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