The Jerusalem Embassy Act

The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 is a public law of the United States passed by the 104th Congress on October 23, 1995. The proposed law was adopted by the Senate (93–5), and the House (374–37). The Act became law without a presidential signature on November 8, 1995.

United States Consulate in Jerusalem Israel now US Embassy in Israel
United States Consulate in Jerusalem, Israel, now US Embassy in Israel. Photo Google Earth

The Act recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and called for Jerusalem to remain an undivided city. Its purpose was to set aside funds for the relocation of the Embassy of the United States in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, by May 31, 1999. For this purpose it withheld 50% of the funds appropriated to the State Department specifically for “Acquisition and Maintenance of Buildings Abroad” as allocated in fiscal year 1999 until the United States Embassy in Jerusalem had officially opened. Israel’s declared capital is Jerusalem, but this is not internationally recognized, pending final status talks in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

Despite passage, the law allowed the President to invoke a six-month waiver of the application of the law, and reissue the waiver every six months on “national security” grounds. The waiver was repeatedly invoked by Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. President Donald Trump signed a waiver in June 2017. On December 6, 2017, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and ordered the planning of the relocation of the embassy. However, following the announcement, Trump signed an embassy waiver again, delaying the actual move by at least six months.

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