30 Oct, 2020
JERUSALEM WEATHER

US President Barack came to Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, giving a moving eulogy for Shimon Peres on Friday, but according to the State Department, the speech was not in Israel.

After President Obama spoke, the White House Press Secretary released a transcript of his speech, but several hours later released an updated version with an amended header. The header, noting the location of the speech, was noted as “Mount Herzl, Jerusalem,” with the word “Israel” crossed out.

Official US policy does not recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel, despite the Israeli Knesset passing the Jerusalem Law in 1980, declaring the city to be Israel’s capital. The US Embassy is in Tel Aviv, though in 1995, Congress passed a law calling to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. Since then, US presidents have all used their waiver authority to prevent this from actually happening. In point of fact, Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital since it declared itself a nation in 1948.

In 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that Americans born in Jerusalem can no longer claim Israel as their birthplace on their passports, striking down a law passed in Congress in 2002 permitting Israelis with American citizenship to list Jerusalem in their passport. The legislation also called for the US Embassy to be moved to Jerusalem.

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Mount Herzl in West Jerusalem was established in 1949 as a cemetery for fallen soldiers and state leaders. The State Department correction is perplexing since it is assumed to be due to sensitivity for the Palestinian claim to East Jerusalem, captured by Israel from Jordan in 1967, as their capital, but the Palestinian claim does not include Mount Herzl or West Jerusalem.

Among his many praises for Shimon Peres, President Obama  said that “his understanding of Israel’s meaning, he believed that the Zionist idea would be best protected when Palestinians, too, had a state of their own”.

“As an American, as a Christian, a person partly of African descent, born in Hawaii — a place that could not be further than where Shimon spent his youth — I took great pleasure in my friendship with this older, wiser man,” President Obama stated.

The White House declined to respond to media inquiries about what they claim is a clerical error.