By Emily Deferrari
Some brief and relatively recent history:
From the 7th into the 20th century, Jerusalem was administratively linked to Constantinople, the capital of the Turkish Empire. In 1917, during the First World War, which spelled the end of the Turkish (Ottoman) Empire, Jerusalem fell under the control of the British and remained so during the Mandate post-war period. This was a period of time during which the defeated Ottoman Empire was broken into the countries of Iraq,Transjordan and Palestine (to be administered by the British) and Syria and Lebanon (to be administered by France.)
In 1947 the UN partitioned Palestine into two areas, one for the Jewish immigrants who had been recruited to Palestine by the Zionist movement and the other for the indigenous Palestinians. As part of the partition, Jerusalem was to remain an international city, which, unfortunately, never happened. Shortly after partition, Israel declared itself an independent nation and the war of 1948 broke out. At the end of the war, Israel came to control a larger area than the partition had intended, and within that area lay the western half of Jerusalem. The eastern half fell under the control of Jordan. The armistice line rendered Jerusalem divided, the status quo until the Six-Day War in 1967, when Israel came to occupy all of Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.
In 1980, Israel declared Jerusalem to be its united capital. The UN responded by condemning Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem, an act that was in violation of international law (UN resolution 181). In the meantime, the US had always maintained an embassy in Tel Aviv, but a consulate in Jerusalem, as did most other countries. (There are currently no foreign embassies in Jerusalem.) In 1995 the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, a law that was drafted by AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and the ADL (Anti-Defamation League.) This law mandates moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The caveat is that the president can delay the move for a 6-month period if it is in the interest of national security. Every president since Bill Clinton has signed off on 6-month delays. Until Trump.
Emily DeFerrari is a member of the local BDS Movement.