White House puts Jerusalem in Israel, “corrects” itself

The White House seemed to have temporarily forgotten its own policy regarding Jerusalem last week.

The administration sent the press a transcript of President Barack Obama’s eulogy for former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres on Friday. The document, sent from the Office of the Press Secretary, noted that Obama’s remarks would be given at Mount Herzl with the dateline neatly printed underneath: Jerusalem, Israel.

Later that day, the press office sent out a “correction,” striking out “Israel” from the header of the transcript.

On Friday, world leaders and royals flew in to Israel from across the globe to attend the historic funeral. With some 8,000 police and soldiers lining the streets, this was Israel’s biggest security operation in the last two decades. As the world watched live via televised broadcast and online streaming, Peres was buried and eulogized at the Israel National Cemetery on Mount Herzl – Jerusalem, Israel.

Hours later, American officials seemed to claim that Obama, who had stood by the nonagenarian’s casket and delivered a eulogy, had not been in Israel.

Because both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital, American policy has been to refuse to recognize any nation’s sovereignty over the city. Jerusalem has been Israel’s historic capital since biblical times and in 1980 the country officially declared Jerusalem its undivided capital.

To the US and other foreign entities, this remains disputed. In fact, a decisions by the US Supreme Court in 2015 forbids Americans born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their country of birth on their passports. It states Jerusalem as both city and country.

Even though Congress passed a bill in 1995 calling for the US embassy to be moved to Jerusalem, it has kept its own embassy in Tel Aviv and maintains only a consulate in Jerusalem. All presidents since then have used their waiver authority to prevent the move.

Earlier this year, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump promised to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there.