To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.
May 31 will mark the second anniversary of the date set by federal law for the United States Embassy in Israel to have been relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Thus, the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 provides that, ‘the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.’ However, shamelessly claiming a recurring six month ‘waiver power’ that simply does not exist, President Clinton routinely violated this clear and unequivocal legal mandate so as not to irritate the Palestinians he was so eager to cultivate. It is time that President Bush end the charade and decline to invoke the bogus waiver authority on his watch. Not only because he promised during the campaign that he would order the embassy to be moved promptly upon his assuming office. And not only because it is only right that the US acknowledge its closest ally?s choice of capital city. But because the law also requires it!
To be sure, we here at The Jewish Press are not the only ones who took note of the two year anniversary. E-mails to the President to move the embassy abound on the internet. Yet they invariably urge the President to act on policy grounds. This is, of course, a very powerful basis. But to lose sight of the legal imperative is to dismiss the overarching issue of fealty to the rule of law.
In all modesty, The Jewish Press, in an editorial termed ‘brilliant’ by the Forward in its July 16, 1999 issue, broke the story of President Clinton’s violation of the 1995 embassy law.
As noted, under that law, the American embassy now located in Tel Aviv had to have been relocated to Jerusalem – which Israel has established as its capital – by May 31, 1999.
But the law also provides the President with a six month ‘waiver authority’ granting him certain powers of ‘suspension’ if ‘he determines and reports to Congress…that such suspension is necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States.’
President Clinton, citing the threat he perceived to the Oslo peace process by moving the embassy given the vehement objection of the Palestinians, regularly invoked the waiver/suspension provision. But the waiver provision does not relate to the requirement that the embassy must be moved. The waiver requirement relates to the sanction imposed for not moving the embassy!
Here, in pertinent part, is what the law says:
SEC. 3. TIMETABLE.
(a) STATEMENT OF THE POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES.–
(1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected;
(2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel; and
(3) the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.
(b) OPENING DETERMINATION.– Not more than 50 percent of the funds appropriated to the Department of State for fiscal year 1999 for ‘Acquisition and Maintenance of Buildings Abroad’ may be obligated until the Secretary of State determines and reports to Congress that the United States Embassy in Jerusalem has officially opened.
* * *
SEC. 7. PRESIDENTIAL WAIVER.
(a) WAIVER AUTHORITY.–(1) Beginning on October 1, 1998, the President may suspend the limitation set forth in section 3(b) for a period of six months if he determines and reports to Congress in advance that such suspension is necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States.
(2) The President may suspend such limitation for an additional six month period at the end of any period during which the suspension is in effect under this subsection if the President determines and reports to Congress in advance of the additional suspension that the additional suspension is necessary to protect the national security interest of the United States.
(3) A report under paragraph (1) or (2) shall include–
(A) a statement of the interests affected by the limitation that the President seeks to suspend; and
(B) a discussion of the manner in which the limitation affects the interests….
Plainly, Sec.3(a) declares that the embassy must be removed, no ifs, ands, or buts. Equally as plain, if the embassy is not relocated, as a penalty, Sec. 3(b) imposes substantial restrictions on the ability of the State Department to spend money on ‘acquisition and maintenance of buildings abroad.’
And when one reads the waiver/suspension provision, Sec. 7 (a)(1), it explicitly says that ‘the President may suspend the limitation set forth in Sec. 3 (b)…to protect the national security interests of the United States.’
If words mean anything, the President may suspend the limitation on the ability to spend funds for acquisition and maintenance.
But nowhere is the President given the authority to suspend the legal obligation to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem!
So, Mr. President, the legal mandate to move the embassy continues. There never was any valid basis for delay. There is none now. American foreign policy should follow the law.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
The “Media” didn’t want us to know what a kind, giving, loving young woman Dalia was.
A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.
Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165
Israel’s Temple Mount policy prefers to blames the Jews-not the attackers-for the crisis.
When Islam conquered the Holy Land, it made its capital in Ramle of all places, not in Jerusalem.
I joined the large crowd but this time it was more personal; my cousin Aryeh was one of the victims.
Terrorists aren’t driven by social, economic, or other grievances, rather by a fanatical worldview.
The phrase that the “Arabs are resorting to violence” is disgraceful and blames the victim.
Tuesday, Yom Shlishi, a doubly good day in the Torah, Esav’s hands tried to silence Yaakov’s voice.
Because of the disparate nature of the perpetrators, who are also relatively young, and given the lack of more traditional targets and the reverence Palestinians have for their homes, one now hears talk of Israel returning to a policy of destroying the houses of terrorists’ families.
In any event, the Constitution gives Congress what is popularly described as the “power of the purse” – that is, the power to raise revenues through taxation and to decide how the money should be sent.
It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…
Last year the Obama administration sought to minimize civilian deaths from drone strikes by generally requiring that missile attacks be limited to instances where Americans were directly threatened and there was a “near certainty” that no civilians would be killed.
Toward the end of Operation Protective Edge this past summer, the president was unusually vocal about Israel’s so-called disproportionate use of force and alleged lack of compliance with international humanitarian law.
There was no accompanying caption, but the cartoon could not help but feed the anti-Semitic canard that Israel was responsible for 9/11.
An accomplished Torah scholar and ardent adherent of Bobov chassidus, he was renowned for his self-effacing dedication and skills as an international lawyer and law professor
The fact that the United States government after World War II sought to take advantage of the expertise of German scientists, even those known to have contributed to the Nazi war effort, is well known and largely accepted as having been necessary for America’s national defense. (Wernher von Braun is perhaps the most famous and […]
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-embassy-should-be-moved-mr-president/2001/06/13/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: