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Wednesday, June 10

Suck it up Israel : U.S Supreme Court Ruling that Is a clear message that Israel occupies East Jerusalem
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U.S. court invalidates law that let Jerusalem-born citizens list Israel on passports


 haaretz.com


Ruling considered a victory for the Obama administration 

who says Congress encroached on president's power in 

passing law;  the ruling is a clear message that Israel 

occupies East Jerusalem.


The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday 

struck down a law that would allow 

American citizens born in Jerusalem to 

have Israel listed as their birthplace on 

passports. 
The ruling was a victory for the 
administration of President Barack Obama, which said the law unlawfully encroached on the president's power to set foreign policy and would, if enforced, undermine the U.S. government's claim to be a neutral peacemaker in the Middle East. 
In a ruling by Justice Anthony Kennedy, 

the court said the president has exclusive 

power to grant formal recognition to a 

foreign government.

"Congress cannot command the president 


to contradict an earlier recognition 

determination in the issuance of 

passports," Kennedy, a conservative who 

often casts the deciding vote in close 

cases, wrote in the majority opinion.

The court was divided, with the court's 


four liberal members joining Kennedy in 

the majority. One of the court's 

conservatives, Justice Clarence Thomas, 

agreed with part of the ruling. The court's 

other conservatives, Chief Justice John 

Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia and 

Justice Samuel Alito, all dissented.

Scalia took the relatively rare step of 


reading his dissenting opinion from the 

bench. He said that the Jerusalem 

passport law does not infringe on the 

president's power because it did not 

concern the question of recognizing a 

foreign government.

"The Jerusalem passport law has nothing 


to do with recognition," Scalia said.
Congress passed the law in 2002, but the 

government has never enforced it. The 

question at hand was whether Congress 

overstepped its authority in passing the 

law. An estimated 50,000 American 

citizens were born in Jerusalem and 

could, if they requested it, list Israel as 

their birthplace if the law had been 

enforced.

The State Department maintains the law 


violates the U.S. Constitution's separation 

of executive and legislative powers. It says 

a loss for the government in the case 

would be seen around the world as a 

reversal of U.S. policy that could cause 

"irreversible damage" to America's ability 

to influence the region's peace process.
Seeking to remain neutral on the hotly 

contested issue of sovereignty over a city 

holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians, the 

State Department allows passports to 

name Jerusalem as a place of birth, with 

no country name included.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of 


anonymity, welcomed the ruling. "It is 

important because it confirms the long-

established authority of the president to 

make sensitive recognition 

determinations as an essential part of his 

authority over the conduct of diplomacy 

and foreign policy," the official said.

Nabil Abu Rdaineh, spokesman for 


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, 

told Reuters: "This is an important 

decision which accords with international 

resolutions and the resolutions of the U.N. 

Security Council and General Assembly. 

This is a clear message that Israel 

occupies East Jerusalem as well as the 

West Bank and Gaza Strip."

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman 


Emmanuel Nahshon said, "We do not 

react publicly to foreign court rulings."

However,Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat 


responded to the ruling, saying that 

"much like Washington D.C. is the capital 

of the U.S., and London is the capital of 

the U.K., and Paris the capital of France – 

thus Jerusalem is and always will be the 

capital of Israel."
Barkat said that "in days like these, when 

anti-Semites are trying to raise their 

heads and the BDS – which supports 

Hamas' positions – endangers world 

peace and denies Israel's right to exist, we 

expect the U.S. to strengthen Israel and 

recognize Jerusalem as its capital.
"I call on U.S. President Obama to 

publically say what has been known for 

generations, that Jerusalem is the capital 

of Israel and that Israel is the home of the 

Jewish people," Barkat said.

Legal battle

The parents of a Jerusalem-born 12-year-

old boy, U.S. citizen Menachem 

Zivotofsky, have waged a long court battle 

to have his passport state he was born in 

Israel.
At issue was the longstanding U.S. policy 

that the president, not Congress, has sole 

authority to provide American recognition 

of who controls Jerusalem, a city claimed 

both by Israelis and Palestinians.

The White House argued that the 


president has sole authority to provide 

American recognition of who controls 

Jerusalem, a city claimed both by Israelis 

and Palestinians. The Bush 

administration had made the same 

argument.

While Israel calls Jerusalem its capital, 


few other countries accept that. Most, 

including the United States, maintain 

embassies in Tel Aviv. Palestinians want 

East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in a 

1967 war, as capital of the state they aim 

to establish alongside Israel in the West 

Bank and Gaza Strip.

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