A Primer on the facts behind the Israeli Embassy Controversy: Stay in Tel Aviv or Relocate to Jerusalem?


US Embassy Tel Aviv

US Embassy Tel Aviv

Lately, the issue of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has received a lot of attention. Since the consequences of doing so would be far-reaching, I thought it was time for a brief history lesson.

The current Tel Aviv Embassy complex was opened in 1966. In 1995 the Jerusalem embassy Act provided the initiative and the funding to move the Embassy to Jerusalem. It overwhelmingly passed through the House and the Senate. The U.S. Congress clearly understood the need to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The act required that the Embassy be relocated by 1999. That date has come and gone with no action, so what happened?

constitutionSince our Constitution grants authority to recognize foreign sovereignty over territory to the president, the buck stops at the Oval Office for such matters. For the past 18 years, every president, whether Republican or Democrat, has endorsed a waiver (every 6 months) postponing the enacting of the Jerusalem Embassy Act. Why would they do that? In their own words, “for national security concerns.”

Every president since 1999 has bowed to pressure and intimidation from the Muslim world. Such a move on the part of the U.S. would supposedly “inflame tensions in the region.” To avoid such trouble, our presidents have chosen to take the side of the Muslims at Israel’s expense. They have also used the embassy relocation issue as a bargaining chip to force Israel into a corner when negotiating peace with the Palestinians.

The only president to show any backbone in supporting Israel in the face of threats and opposition was Harry Truman when against the advice of the State Department, officially recognized the

Harry Truman

Harry Truman

newly formed state of Israel a mere 11 minutes after Israel’s announcement of its sovereignty. Since then, the response of American presidents is epitomized by President Obama’s last presidential waiver on December 1, 2016 before leaving office, a waiver prohibiting the relocation for the embassy to Jerusalem.

To show just how bizarre this situation is, Israel is the only nation on earth where the U.S. Embassy is not located in that nation’s capital. The problem is that the Muslim world refuses to acknowledge that the land, including Jerusalem, belongs to Israel. Once they gained a presence in the region, they believe the territory belongs to them, and they are willing to implement their declaration through force. Complete control of Jerusalem, in their view, will prove that Islam has won the victory over both Judaism and Christianity.

Have you ever wondered why Jerusalem is so important to Muslims? After all, isn’t Mecca their holy city? Besides, Jerusalem isn’t even mentioned in the Koran. So how did the greatest city for Christians and Jews become their city, too? To find an answer, we must go back to the Crusades, the so-called “Christian Campaign” to retake the Holy City back from the Muslims. Doing so would show the superiority of Christianity over Islam. Islam had grown (back in the 7th Century) largely because the Christian “Church” had grown weak and powerless. When the Muslims conquered Jerusalem, they proclaimed their view of truth-Islam had replaced Judaism and Christianity. They used a new tactic in this proclamation. They built the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount on the very spot, as best we can tell, where Abraham offered Isaac. Muslims claim that Ishmael, not Isaac, was offered, but that’s another story in itself.

Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock

Jerusalem has become important to Muslims because it was there that Islam, in their minds, demonstrated its triumph over Judaism and Christianity. This is the true significance of the “Dome.” The greatest disaster and shame in the history of Islam was the loss of Old Jerusalem after the ’67 War. Why? Because not controlling Jerusalem calls into question the very truth of Islam. If it does not control Jerusalem, has it really superseded Judaism and Christianity? Any territory conquered by Islam is expected to stay under Islamic control. This is why a religious Muslim can never consent to any peace agreement allowing Jews to control Jerusalem.

With all this as background, let’s consider the other side of the story. Many countries have, in fact, located their embassies in Jerusalem. The problem lies in the fact that these embassies are not to Israel. They’re to the Palestinian Authority. These nations won’t acknowledge Israel’s claim to Jerusalem, but they are willing to acknowledge the Palestinian claim on the great city.

Nine countries have a de facto embassy to the Palestinians in Jerusalem. One of these countries is the U.S. Five of them-the UK, Turkey, Belgium, Spain and Sweden-have located their embassiesJerusalem panorama in eastern Jerusalem. The consulates-general of the US, France, Italy, and Greece are in western Jerusalem. The European Union also has a representative office in eastern Jerusalem, and the Holy See has an Apostolic Nunciature there, alongside the Palestinian offices of several international agencies. The stark fact is that not one of these nine countries recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the city of Jerusalem. This is why their official embassies remain in Tel Aviv.

It’s hard for me to imagine why God would continue to bless the U.S. under these conditions. I believe He would protect us if we chose to honor Him and Israel’s claim to the land, including Jerusalem. Caving to the threats of Muslims shows that our leaders have feared Israel’s enemies more than they have feared Israel’s God. Let’s pray that President Trump would have the backbone to do the right thing and relocate the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem where it belongs.



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