Obama Administration’s Position on Jerusalem Remains Unlcear
Asked at a press briefing whether the Obama administration considers Jerusalem or Tel Aviv to be Israel’s capital, White House spokesman Jay Carney did not choose between the two cities, instead only responding that the administration’s position “has not changed.”
Immediately queried again on the subject, Carney reiterated his point with a similar answer of “You know our position,” without describing that position.
The Jerusalem Embassy Act, which calls for Jerusalem to be recognized as the capital of Israel, was passed by Congress in 1995 but has never been implemented. In June 2008, President Barack Obama himself—then an Illinois senator and presidential candidate—said at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference that Jerusalem “will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”
However, in a follow-up statement to Carney’s July 26 press briefing, the White House said Jerusalem’s status “is an issue that should be resolved in final-status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians,” again declining to explicitly name Jerusalem or any other city as Israel’s capital.
“We continue to work with the parties to resolve this issue and others in a way that is just and fair, and respects the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians,” the White House said.
Repubican presidential candidtate Mitt Romney, speaking in Jerusalem on Sunday, said “It is a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.”