The U.S. passport of an Americans born on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights must state the birthplace as Syria, according to U.S. State Department. policy.
The JewishPress.com raised several questions with the U.S. Embassy following the recent Supreme Court ruling that ruled against Congress being able to overturn Executive Branch policy concerning the stated birthplace of an American born in Jerusalem.
The policy was and continues to be that the birthplace on the passport is “Jerusalem,” without a country, regardless of whether he was born in “West” Jerusalem or in the rest of the city that was reunited in the war.
But what would happen if there were a hospital on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights and an American birth were registered there?
It may not even be a theoretical question in the near future. The NRG website reported last week that Druze in the Israeli side of the Golan Heights want to establish and maintain a hospital to treat their brethren wounded on the Syrian side of the border.
Regardless, this is American policy, updated in 2008 and stated under the bureaucratic section “M 1360 APPENDIX D BIRTH IN ISRAEL, JERUSALEM, AND ISRAELI-OCCUPIED AREAS
Background. As a result of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the Government of Israel currently occupies and administers the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. U.S. policy recognizes that the Golan Heights is Syrian territory [bold-face added} and that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are territories whose final status must be determined by negotiations.
Birth in the Golan Heights: The birthplace that should appear on passports whose bearers were born in the Golan Heights is SYRIA [capital letters appear in the original text].
Perhaps the State Department is not aware of it, but there are questions whether Syria even exists today. There is a “Syrian government” that controls a shrinking part of the country.
The Islamic State (ISIS) controls a good portion of Syria. Rebels control a healthy (or unhealthy) part. Al Qaeda also has claims.
But for now, Syria is Syria, including the Golan Heights, even if Israel annexed the strategic area 34 years ago, and even if half the population of the Golan Heights is Jewish.
Policy is policy, and if an American wants to test the unreal reality, it is only a matter of time before there really will be a need for a hospital there. By that time, perhaps Syria not longer will exist. Since Foggy Bottom cannot possibly come up with the conclusion that the Golan Heights is in Israel, it would have to accept facts on the ground across the border. Perhaps an American born will see his passport stating, “Golan Heights, Islamic State.”
Who knows? Anything is possible with the State Department, anything except Jerusalem being recognized as Israel’s capital and the Golan Heights being considered part of the Jewish country.
The State Department regulations offer some other fascinating tidbits.
What if you were an American born before 1948, before Israel became an independent country, but in parts of Jerusalem that were only reunited in 1967? For example, let’s say you were an American born in 1947 in the Old City, which at that time was the home of Misgav Ladach Hospital.
Guess what would be written on the passport?
The policy states:
For persons born before May 14, 1948 in a location that was outside Jerusalem’s municipal limits and later was annexed by the city, enter either PALESTINE or the name of the location (area/city) as it was known prior to annexation.
“Palestine” was what all of the British Mandate was called, but the Palestinian Authority has adopted the name, which is on many of its official documents and which its schools teach means all of the Land of Israel. “All” means “all,” including Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Eilat.
There is a lesson here about the formulation of American policy. Once it is established, it is written in stone, and even a Congressional act cannot change it. This is what was learned from the Supreme Court decision that said that the Congressional Act in 1998 recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel does not mean that the State Department has to agree to it.
The State Department formulated its policy long ago that the Golan Heights belongs to Syria. No negotiations, No compromise. No nothing. It is Syria, period, and if tomorrow it is the Islamic State, we’ll see.
The other side of the policy is that Judea, Gaza, Samaria and “eastern, southern and northern” Jerusalem “are territories whose final status must be determined by negotiations.”
The folks at the State Department cannot be that stupid to realize that there will be no negotiations. It must know there is no one with whom to negotiate. It must know that in the eyes of the Palestinian Authority, there is nothing to negotiate except what color ink Israel uses to sign over the store, while the Palestinian Authority uses invisible ink.
Now we know why the Obama administration is so stubbornly fixed on the “peace process.’ It knows it has no chance, but policy is policy.
The State Department stated ages ago that the final status of the “territories” will be decided by negotiations, and that’s that. The world may change, but policy is a different story, especially if a change might help Israel.
The State Department decided way back when that the Golan Heights belongs to Syria, and that is why an American born there would have a passport stating “Golan Heights, Syria.”
And what if an American were born in the State Department? Is that part of the United States or is it territory occupied by policy-makers who cannot see past yesterday?Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu