When countries have diplomatic ties, embassies and consulates are established in capital cities of host countries facilitating not only traveling citizens, but playing a larger role in political, economic and cultural matters between the countries.
Embassies are generally located in capital cities whereas consulates may be placed in large, tourist cities. This is the case with nearly every country in the world – except for Israel.
Historically, Jerusalem has been the capital of Judea and Israel since the time of King David, but the political stance of most of the international community negates that. By putting their embassies in Tel Aviv instead of Jerusalem, countries essentially recognize Tel Aviv as the Israeli capital. Though Israel claims Jerusalem as her eternal capital, official since the establishment of the State of Israel, all foreign embassies are located in Tel Aviv.
In October 1995, the United States Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act, which states that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
In addition, it makes allowance for the United States Embassy to be relocated to Israel’s capital no later than the last day of May 1999.
From that time, however, every American president has chosen to waive this act in the interest of national security, most recently by President Barack Obama on June 1.
Many presidential hopefuls campaigned on the promise to uphold the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act including President-elect Donald Trump. Trump, as opposed to the others, reiterated his intention after the election and reports have circulated that he has a team looking for land in Jerusalem for an embassy.
Though the official US policy is to move the embassy, many in the government oppose the notion.
“You’d have an explosion – an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region,” outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry said.
Palestinians are emphatically opposed to the idea.
Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary General Saeb Erekat said moving the embassy to Jerusalem will end the peace process.
Hanna Issa, a senior member of the Fatah revolutionary council, said that moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will ignite a new religious uprising in the region.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who has now entered his thirteenth year in office, said: “Some people in the past talked about this subject and did not do anything so we hope the US administration does not move the embassy, and to implement UN resolution 2334, which it did not object to nor did use its veto against him, and thus it had approved the resolution, which had international consensus!”
Fatah Central Committee member Sultan Abu al-Einein stated, “I believe that any American act of stupidity will ignite the Palestinian territories.”
Unrelated to Trump’s promises of moving the US Embassy, Abdul-Latif Qanou, a spokesman for Hamas, described the terror attack in Jerusalem on Sunday as a “heroic” act and he encouraged other Palestinians to do the same and “escalate the resistance.”
On Monday, Israel buried four young victims from the terrorist truck ramming attack.
Qanou emphasized that the attack proves the wave of Palestinian violence has not ended, despite a recent lull.
“It may be quiet, it may linger, but it will never end,” he said.