US move to recognize Al Quds as capital

  • From: "Muslim News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 2 Oct 2002 00:27:18 +0100

WASHINGTON, Sept 30: The US Congress has voted to make the
administration identify occupied Al Quds as the capital of Israel and
President George Bush is expected to sign the provision into law this
week , a US official said on Monday. 

The requirement is part of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for
next year, which gives the administration more than four billion dollars
for running the State Department. 

The section on the Israeli-occupied holy city goes further than previous
requirements by Congress, which for years has pressed successive
administrations to move the US embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Al

Successive US administrations have promised to make the move, but have
repeatedly put it off because of the ill-feeling it would create in the
Arab world. 

The official US position is that the future of the city should be
decided through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. It was not immediately
clear if and how the administration would try to reconcile this with the
new legislation. 

Israel captured the eastern part of the city in the 1967 war and later
annexed it. Israeli governments have said the whole city is Israel's
eternal capital. 

The new legislation, passed last week, does not go beyond urging the
administration to start immediately the process of moving the embassy. 

But it adds three mandatory provisions which change the way the United
States treats the holy city. 

Firstly, it says that the administration cannot spend money on the US
consulate in occupied Al Quds unless the consulate is under the
supervision of the US ambassador to Israel. The US consul general in Al
Quds, who deals mainly with Palestinians, now reports directly to the
State Department. 

Secondly, any US government document which lists countries and their
capitals will have to identify Al Quds as the capital of Israel. 

Thirdly, in official US documents such as passports, birth certificates
and nationality certifications, US citizens born there may insist that
the documents record their place of birth as Israel. 

The Arab American Institute wrote to Bush on Friday urging him to veto
the bill, on the grounds that it overturns existing US policy and
presidential authority. 

"At a time when you are building a coalition to support our goals in the
Middle East, Congress should not be undermining your efforts," said
George Salem, chairman of the institute. 

"If made into law, (it) will further inflame and deepen resentment among
Arabs and Arab countries toward the United States," added the
institute's president, James Zogby. 

In theory President Bush could veto the bill, but the provisions on Al
Quds are only a small part of a piece of legislation which covers the
whole world and gives the administration the money it needs to run

"It's likely to be signed, probably this week," said the US official. 

The legislation also withholds 10 million dollars in aid allocated to
Lebanon for next year until the Lebanese army deploys to the
Israeli-Lebanese border and the Lebanese government asserts its
authority in the area where the army deploys. 

After Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000, the Lebanese army
did not take over all the territory, giving some freedom of action to
the Hezbollah. 

Israel wants the Lebanese army to deploy south to the border and
restrain Hezbollah, which often exchanges fire with Israeli positions in
the disputed Shebaa Farms area, at the juncture of Syria, Lebanon and
Source: Reuters 

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