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Letter from Israel
David Frankfurter
Capital J 
23rd-Aug-2009 02:21 am
Lots of electrons have been spinning the internet recently scrutinizing the website and email correspondence of the US Consulate in Jerusalem, which provides services to US citizens living in Jerusalem and the West Bank and represents the US to Arabs in those areas and to the Palestinian Authority.

The Jerusalem Consulate was established in 1844. It’s role really changed from servicing to the whole region to a more narrow focus when the US Embassy to Israel was set up in Tel Aviv. Aside from historical reasons for its location, Jerusalem has provided better security and access for staff and "customers" than many alternative places one can think of. Many of the emails that I have received ascribe more sinister reasons for the Consulate not being in Ramallah, pointing to recent changes to the website as “proving” that the US is tacitly recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of “Palestine”.

In 1995, both houses of Congress passed a law instructing the US Embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Subsequent US Presidents have cited "national security" to defer the move. The Obama administration uses every opportunity to emphasize commitment to a two State solution. It is time for the US to demonstrate commitment to the Jewish State in that solution.  The US Embassy should be in Israel’s capital - Jerusalem.
Comments 
23rd-Aug-2009 01:58 am (UTC)
Anonymous
David...the truth is, that it is difficult for an American President to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. That would take a principled position that is beyond the ability of American Presidents in light of the overwhelming pressure brought to bear by Arab and other governments. But, the Obama Presidency is different from the rest. This President has made certain calculated tactical and strategic considerations that have led to conclusions not seen before...ever...in the case of any other President. Barack Obama has, without any doubt concluded that the Arabs need to be shown that America is not a "blind ally of Israel." In making that "clear" he has undertaken to undertake overt, outward measures that underscore America's separation from Israeli positions. This, he believes, will convince the Arabs that if America takes a position, it isn't a "blind pro-Israel position," and they can follow his lead to a "just peace." This, of course, is silly and delusional, but it is...Barack Obama. He already has enough by way of "messages" from Arab statements and behavior from various sources to know better, but he's digging his heals in and stubbornly following his "plan." Don't look for any principled "statements" in either word or deed that might in even the slightest way, be perceived of as "pro-Israel" from Barack Obama for the rest of his term. He's going to be slighted and condescended to by Arabs and Muslims of every stripe until the end of his presidency and still continue to beleive that any day now, his brilliance will overcome all obstacles. Some people do have to be hit over the head with a sledge hammer...Alan, Somers, NY
23rd-Aug-2009 03:45 am (UTC) - The US Embassy
Well done David for raising this again - it deserves repetition and it deserves a solution.
My husband was in the Senate for the historic vote together with Mayor Olmert and Dr. Malcolm Hoenlein. The vote was almost unanimous, the intention to declare recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and of no other nation.
The supposedly pro-Israel President Clinton refused to accept the vote and refused to move the Embassy site from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Until such a move is made, until the recognition of Jerusalem as Capital of Israel changes from tacit to overt the fighting will continue. It will require a brave President who is willing to stand up to those who are used to getting their way through threats and fear to move the Embassy and put Jerusalem on equal footing to the rest of the Western World.
Having the American Embassy in Tel Aviv and the luxurious residence in sunny Herzliya on the beach, may be more fun, but it does not fulfil the requirements of loyalty to ones greatest strategic ally in the Middle East.
Thanks David
Sheila Raviv
23rd-Aug-2009 07:35 am (UTC) - LANDSMANSHAFT SETTLERS
Anonymous
REGISTER with so-called PA CONSULATE == american settler groups == such as "BOROPARKER BROOKLYNITES" / "NY EASTSIDERS" / "TARZANIAN CALIFORNIANS" etc. and invite the CONSUL & his staff to LIFE & DEATH family& settlement functions
23rd-Aug-2009 12:21 pm (UTC) - Capital J
Anonymous
David, the least thing the Americans should do is to hire local staff for the consulate that is not hostile to the Jewish population of Jerusalem. They hire Arabs only (Christian Arabs, so as to be supposedly neutral). I had a very unfortunate experience with the guards of that consulate when I was just walking by and said Shalom, to the guards on duty. They demanded to know what I said to them, they barked their demands at me, they repeated the demand and when I told them that shalom meant peace they had no choice but stop making a scene. I was flabbergasted. Of course they knew what Shalom meant.

Dana
23rd-Aug-2009 11:52 pm (UTC) - Capital J
Anonymous
David, I was also 'flabbergasted' by the facts related by Dana, reproduced here.
It's amazing that reports on the un-professional, thoroughly insulting behaviour of the
clearly hostile staff & guards of the american consulate have not appeared in the press,
nor have been duly denounced by tourists and citizens to media, in Israel and elsewhere,
and in official protests! This must be energically dealt with and corrective measures taken,
once for all. We look forward to the follow up.
Crystal K.
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