On October 23rd, 1995, United States congress passed what’s called the “Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.” This law essentially made it so the embassy in Tel Aviv would be moved to Jerusalem — which would by definition admit that the U.S. recognizes the city as the capital of Israel. This law was passed under the tenure of President Bill Clinton, though it went unenforced by the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. The law basically took action to develop funding to have the move completed by 1999, but that never happened.
The basic premise behind the act was that every country gets to pick their own capital cities. Despite the controversy, Israel controls Jerusalem and has picked it as its capital, and so the act saw to accept that — though it gets difficult when other powers are claiming the same city as their own capital, and/or saying that it was illegally acquired.
Just recently, President Donald Trump has made stronger efforts to make the previous Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 a reality. On June 5, 2017, the senate passed a resolution commemorating Israel’s 50th year claiming Jerusalem as their capital, and it passed unanimously, 90-0. This means every Republican, Democrat or independent Senator that voted, voted in favor of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.
The actions of the U.S. government has made waves across the globe, particularly the U.N. as it comes in direct conflict with their resolution known as the “United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194.” This was created in 1948, and outlines many things to help Palestinian refugees find a settlement and a home of their own. One such stipulation was that Jerusalem be considered an international city, thereby disallowing any country to claim it as their capital. Not only was this an effort to appease multiple warring factions and countries at the time, but Jerusalem has long been a center of conflict, and the U.N. wanted people from different places to have access to holy sites without feeling like they had to take over the city to get there (as it was done in the past).
This act by the U.N. was rejected by several countries at the time in 1948, to include the USSR, Pakistan and Syria (among other countries), but most countries voted in favor — to include the United States. Israel was not even in the U.N. at this point, as they would join the organization the following year.
With that said, times have changed as Israel has gained more ground since 1948, to include the entirety of the city of Jerusalem. They have claimed it as their capital, and now the United States is making their recognition of that claim official.
Featured image courtesy of the Associated Press.