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President Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel

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On December 6, 2017, President Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital city. This decision reflects Trump's “new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”

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1 Donald J. Trump, Remarks on Signing a Proclamation on Recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel and Relocating the United States Embassy to Israel to Jerusalem, 2017 Daily Comp. Pres. Doc. 1 (Dec. 6, 2017) [hereinafter Dec. 6 Trump Remarks].

2 Proclamation No. 9683, 82 Fed. Reg. 58,331 (Dec. 6, 2017); see also U.S. Dep't of State Press Release, Briefing with Acting Assistant Secretary David M. Satterfield (Dec. 7, 2017), at https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/12/276349.htm [https://perma.cc/JE69-BABH] (emphasizing that Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, but “[w]ith respect to boundaries of sovereignty, borders, geography, those are matters for final status negotiations between the party [sic] …”).

3 Statement by the President Announcing Recognition of the State of Israel, Public Papers of Harry S. Truman (May 14, 1948), at https://www.trumanlibrary.org/publicpapers/index.php?pid=1623&st=israel&st1=.

4 Zivotofsky v. Kerry, 135 S. Ct. 2076, 2081 (2015).

5 Pub. L. No. 104-45, 109 Stat. 398 (1995) (also stating in § 3(a)(2) that “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel”).

6 Id. § 3(a)(3).

7 Id. § 7.

8 Pub. L. No. 107-228 § 214, 116 Stat. 1350, 1365–66 (2002).

9 Zivotofsky, 135 S. Ct. at 2082–83, 2094.

10 Dec. 6 Trump Remarks, supra note 1.

11 Id.

12 Presidential Determination No. 2018-02 of December 6, 2017, 82 Fed. Reg. 61,127 (Dec. 6, 2017).

13 Mark Landler, Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's Capital and Orders U.S. Embassy to Move, N.Y. Times (Dec. 6, 2017), at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/06/world/middleeast/trump-jerusalem-israel-capital.html.

14 UN Statements, Secretary-General's Statement on the Middle East Peace Process [as delivered] (Dec. 6, 2017), at https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/statement/2017-12-06/secretary-general%E2%80%99s-statement-middle-east-peace-process-delivered.

15 Id.

16 David M. Halbfinger, Mark Landler & Isabel Kershner, Trump Calls Jerusalem Plan Step Toward Peace, but It Puts Mideast on Edge, N.Y. Times (Dec. 6, 2017), at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/06/world/middleeast/jerusalem-trump-embassy.html.

17 Isabel Kershner, Jerusalem Largely Calm as Region Protests Trump Move, N.Y. Times (Dec. 8, 2017), at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/08/world/middleeast/israel-jerusalem-trump.html (also noting that “the enormous wave of violence that had been feared … did not immediately materialize”).

18 Office of the Prime Minister of Israel (@IsraeliPM), Twitter (Dec. 6, 2017, 10:37 AM), at https://twitter.com/israelipm/status/938477546768920581.

19 UN SCOR, 72d Sess. 8128th mtg., UN Doc. SC/13111 (Dec. 8, 2017), at https://www.un.org/press/en/2017/sc13111.doc.htm [https://perma.cc/WHT6-JUMY] [hereinafter Council Minutes] (noting that the meeting was called for by Bolivia, Britain, Egypt, France, Italy, Senegal, Sweden, and Uruguay).

20 Id.

21 Id. (stating that Egypt, France, and Uruguay referenced Resolution 478 and other related Security Council resolutions); see also SC Res. 478 (1980) (determining Israel's basic law on Jerusalem to be “null and void” and calling upon member states “that have established diplomatic missions at Jerusalem to withdraw such missions from the Holy City”).

22 Council Minutes, supra note 19.

23 Middle East: Security Council Fails to Adopt Resolution on Jerusalem, UN News (Dec. 18, 2017), at https://news.un.org/en/story/2017/12/639772-middle-east-security-council-fails-adopt-resolution-jerusalem [hereinafter Middle East: Security Council Fails to Adopt Resolution on Jerusalem].

24 Text of UN Security Council Draft Resolution on Jerusalem, UN Watch (Dec. 17, 2017), at https://www.unwatch.org/text-unsc-draft-resolution-jerusalem.

25 Middle East: Security Council Fails to Adopt Resolution on Jerusalem, supra note 23.

26 U.S. Mission to the UN Press Release, Explanation of Vote Following the Veto of a Draft UN Security Council Resolution on Jerusalem (Dec. 18, 2017), at https://usun.state.gov/remarks/8222 [https://perma.cc/434L-248W].

27 Letter from Permanent Rep. of Yemen to the UN and Permanent Rep. Turkey to the UN to President of the General Assembly (Dec. 18, 2017), available at https://www.un.org/pga/72/wp-content/uploads/sites/51/2017/12/ESS-letter-by-the-PGA-with-attachment-for-distribution.pdf [https://perma.cc/6CT5-J8A8]. The “Uniting for Peace” procedure allows the General Assembly to consider a matter “if the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, or act of aggression.” GA Res. 377, para. 1 (Nov. 3, 1950).

28 Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley), Twitter (Dec. 19, 2019, 2:08 PM), at https://twitter.com/nikkihaley/status/943241599953309696?lang=en.

29 Trump Holds Cabinet Meeting Before Tax Revote, CNN, 17:12–39 (Dec. 20, 2017), at https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/12/20/trump-tax-bill-cabinet-full.cnn.

30 Id. at 17:42–45.

31 Id. at 17:17–34.

32 UN Meetings Coverage and Press Releases, General Assembly Overwhelmingly Adopts Resolution Asking Nations Not to Locate Diplomatic Missions in Jerusalem (Dec. 21, 2017), at https://www.un.org/press/en/2017/ga11995.doc.htm.

33 Id.

34 Id.

35 Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump), Twitter (Jan. 2, 2018, 2:37 PM), at https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/948322497602220032.

36 Id.

37 Loveday Morris & Ruth Eglash, Israelis Voice Warnings, Palestinians Talk of ‘Blackmail’ in Wake of Tweets by Trump, Wash. Post (Jan. 3, 2018), at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/israelis-voice-warnings-palestinians-talk-of-blackmail-after-trump-threatens-to-cut-funding/2018/01/03/7ca137a8-f078-11e7-b390-a36dc3fa2842_story.html?utm_term=.e8e463686e49.

38 U.S. Dep't of State Press Release, Department Press Briefing (Jan. 16, 2018), at https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2018/01/277473.htm [https://perma.cc/Z734-F9FS].

39 U.S. Dep't of State Press Release, Opening of U.S. Embassy Jerusalem (Feb. 23, 2018), at https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2018/02/278825.htm [https://perma.cc/8HCD-R87P].

40 Id.

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American Journal of International Law
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