Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Supreme Court To Hear Case Reflecting On Israel's Sovereignty Over Jerusalem

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that directly deals with Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem as its capitol.

The plaintiffs are Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky, the parents of nine-year-old Menachem Zivotofsky, whose parents want his birth country listed as Israel on his passport. Menachem was born in Jerusalem, which the United States State Department still has not recognized as the sovereign capitol of Israel.

Congress dealt with this directly in 2002 by passing a law giving people like the Zivotofskys the legal right to claim Jerusalem, Israel as a birthplace, but the US State Department has fought this law for years and refused to abide by it, claiming that Congress has no role in foreign policy matters. The State Department has argued that this is a prerogative of the executive branch, not Congress, “particularly where, as here, the case involves an exceedingly sensitive foreign policy concern.”

As always, the US State Department is concerned about anything that might offend Arabs in any degree. That's why the main US Consulate is in Tel Aviv, and the one in East Jerusalem is almost entirely staffed by 'Palestinians' and is geared almost entirely towards serving them, rather than Jewish Israelis. That's led to some amazing incidents in the past, as the 'Palestinian' consular employees have behaved towards Israeli citizens and security personnel in ways that wouldn't be tolerated in any other country. Of course, when the Israeli government was originally asked for the East Jerusalem site for a consulate by the State Department, they weren't told that it was intended as a de facto US embassy for the 'Palestinians'.

The Zivotofsky case has been bouncing back and forth between the courts for years, and the Supreme Court has finally agreed to hear the case and settle the matter once and for all.

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Anonymous said...

There are many very interesting US Constitutional issues involved with this case. It is the only reason SCOTUS took the case. Technically they are not really ruling on the Jerusalem issue. In fact depending on what they actually addressed in the case, this issue may not even be resolved.

Rob said...

Oh I agree IP. It's chiefly an executive branch versus legislative branch argument the way it's been framed.

Of course, the Israelis could simply close down the 'Palestinian' consulate in East Jerusalem, insist that the US relocate it to West Jerusalem, say that Jerusalem is off the table and will remain Israel's undivided capitol and diplomatically 'request' that the US recognize that. Congress long ago passed legislation to that effect, but with a presidential waiver that Bush and Obama continue to use.

Hopefully this will clear the air a bit.