U.S. Vice-President Pence: We will move our Embassy to Jerusalem next year

In a recent visit to Israel, Mr. Pence addressed Israel’s Knesset – its Parliament – in Jerusalem, the capital. He announced, “… just last month, President Donald Trump made history. He righted a 70-year wrong; he kept his word to the American people when he announced that the United States of America will finally acknowledge Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

“Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. And, as such, President Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, and that United States Embassy will open before the end of next year.

“Our President made his decision, in his words, ‘in the best interests of the United States.’ But he also made it clear that we believe that his decision is in the best interests of peace. By finally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has chosen fact over fiction. And fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace.”

Video from The Washington Post, Jan. 22, 2018:

Pence: U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem to open in 2019, ahead of schedule

An accompanying slug from The Washington Post reads:

Speaking at Israel’s parliament on Jan. 22, Vice President Pence said plans to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv had been accelerated. The new embassy in Jerusalem will open in 2019.

January 22, 2018 | 4:23 AM EDT

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Watching the star Sirius in early January

Wednesday, January 3, 2018 – Kansas City, USA

I saw the constellation Orion in the southeastern sky, just above the tree line, at 6:30 PM Central Standard Time. This was about one hour and twenty minutes after local sunset.

Sirius would correspondingly have been in the east-northeast, still below the horizon.

The sky here was too cloudy tonight to see much other than the brightest stars.

What Is Reality? [part X]

Reprise of The X-Files

“Can we talk about the nature of reality?” Agent Fox Mulder asks. “Do you believe that thoughts have mass? That ideas such as faith and forgiveness have weight much the same way [that] this desk (knocks on desk) has weight, or any material, really? … [These are] legitimate question[s].”

Reprise of The X- Files, Episode 10.5, first aired Feb 15, 2016 (begins at minute 11)

Streaming from hulu.com

Mulder’s fellow agent, a rational materialist, answers that when she stands on a scale and thinks about ice cream, she doesn’t gain weight.

Mulder then asks about whether words have weight – “the weight to move people to go kill other people.” She answers, “Words themselves are not lethal …” [Only] “people kill people.” But “words can incite people to kill people.”


Note: Let’s not confuse the physical sciences with the social sciences and with metaphysics. Words, thoughts, faith, and forgiveness are weighty in the sense that they have importance. Notice how we borrow a word, weighty, from the physical world to describe something that comes from our minds and hearts. Similarly, “to move people.”

The United States Will Not Be Moving Its Embassy to Jerusalem

President Donald Trump declared on December 6, 2017, that the U.S. Department of State should begin a process of moving the United States embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital.

Some call President Trump’s declaration a governmental decision. Regardless of how anyone parses his statement, President Trump has submitted waivers of the 1995 U.S. law that mandates moving the embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This law, passed by Congress in 1995, is the “Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Implementation Act of 1995” (Public Law No: 104-45 *). During a waiver period, the State Department doesn’t have to present a progress report to Congress. Every six months since 1995 or so, Presidents have signed this waiver, thereby keeping the embassy in Tel Aviv. Waivers are based on protecting the national security interests of the United States, the State Department says.

President Trump’s declaration coincides with a belated report to Congress. (The report was due on December 4th. No one is sweating a forty-eight hour delay.)

For the near future (roughly two years from now), the U.S. State Department doesn’t anticipate any practical changes.

Essentially, President Trump’s statement is political posturing and even pandering. The U.S. has already conducted official business in Jerusalem in “de facto recognition of its status as the capital of Israel.”

Congress allocates funds to the State Department’s account “Acquisition and Maintenance of Buildings Abroad.” From these funds, the State Department already built a new campus for the Consular Section of its Consulate General of Jerusalem – an independent mission – which opened in its new location in 2009.  The Consulate General itself was established in 1844.

Since 1912, the Consulate General and the home of the Consul General have been on Agron Street in western Jerusalem. The original structure was built in 1868 in the style of the German Temple Society.

After 1949, the U.S. State Department opened its Consular Section facing a segment of the fence that delineated a no man’s land from the 1949 Armistice Agreement with the Kingdom of Jordan. The State Department leased on the Jordanian side of the armistice fence near the Mandelbaum Gate between the two parts of the city (until 1967 when the city was reunited).

This location at 27 Shechem St. (27 Nablus St.) represents as much of a politically neutral place as possible. The Consular Section served the West Bank and Jordanian eastern Jerusalem until the new location was opened in 2009. In 2010, the Consulate General’s Consular Section then moved from  this structure on Shechem St. (Nablus St.).

The State Department retains this location, though, adjacent to the Legacy Hotel and the eastern Jerusalem YMCA, for the America House.

We see that the U.S. State Department has an established bureaucracy in Jerusalem. Congressional laws and Presidential declarations exist for public consumption but not for State Department activities. Attentive politicos are aware of little change of government policy within bureaucracies.

See the press statement from Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, December 6, 2017. In his remarks, Tillerson says, “The State Department will immediately begin the process to implement this decision by starting the preparations to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” Keep in mind, though, that President Donald trump appointed Tillerson (with Congressional consent). Tillerson’s shelf life is unlikely to extend beyond the election of 2020 (my assessment).

So we are left with a U.S. State Department that has no intention even to look for land for a new embassy yet alone engage architects, engineers, or begin any other steps for construction. The president’s recent waiver is the same as the waiver six months before which is the same as the waiver six months before that, and so on.

The President’s party has made no difference. The makeup of Congress has made no difference. The sensitivities of the electorate have made no difference.

The United States will not be moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

________

* See a PDF version of this act as printed by the Public Law No: 104-45.

In the Senate, all but four Republicans voted for this bill. All but one Democrat voted for this bill. This Democrat simply did not vote at all.

The Congressional bill became Public Law No: 104-45 without being signed by President Bill Clinton and without being returned to Congress.

This blog entry is based on primary sources.

A Long Dry Spell

A dry pen for about a year.

I haven’t run out of ideas. I have several posts in draft form. But, I’ve been a perfectionist, and these drafts are not what I deem perfect.

I have ink on hand, just not in a pen.

I’ve been exhausted by a full time job, though. That stint is behind me.

If I were a baby, this past year would be called “a failure to thrive” except in a financial way.

I am now back from a trip to Phoenix where I haven’t visited since 2006. It seems that I am on the mend, so to speak, ready to thrive.

At the Culmination of Yom HaKippurim – the Day of Atonement

The sun is setting.  The congregation’s spirits have revived.  Some of us feel like angels, who neither eat nor drink.

Forgiveness shines out.

 

The leader of the congregation proclaims —

· Hear O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One!

The congregation itself proclaims even louder —

· Hear O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One!

The leader of the congregation proclaims —

◦ Blessed is the name of the glory of His Kingdom forever and ever!
◦ Blessed is the name of the glory of His Kingdom forever and ever!
◦ Blessed is the name of the glory of His Kingdom forever and ever!

The congregation responds —

◦ Blessed is the name of the glory of His Kingdom forever and ever!
◦ Blessed is the name of the glory of His Kingdom forever and ever!
◦ Blessed is the name of the glory of His Kingdom forever and ever!

The leader of the congregation proclaims —

  • The L-rd is The G-d!
  • The L-rd is The G-d!
  • The L-rd is The G-d!
  • The L-rd is The G-d!
  • The L-rd is The G-d!
  • The L-rd is The G-d!
  • The L-rd is The G-d!

The congregation responds —

  • The L-rd is The G-d!
  • The L-rd is The G-d!
  • The L-rd is The G-d!
  • The L-rd is The G-d!
  • The L-rd is The G-d!
  • The L-rd is The G-d!
  • The L-rd is The G-d!

The leader of the congregation proclaims —

◦ May His Great Name be exalted and hallowed . . .

In the world that He created according to His will. /

And may He establish His kingship /

And bring forth His redemption /

And hasten the arrival of His Messiah . . .

In your lives and in your days . . .

[Exalted and hallowed] higher than all blessings and songs /

Praises and consolations /

That angels utter . . .

The leader of the congregation sounds the shofar with a great blast after the congregation has broken out in singing and dancing.

Victoriously all proclaim —

• Next year in Jerusalem!

◦ May all our prayers and our beggings be accepted before our Father Who is in Heaven . . .

He Who makes the peace in His heavens /

May He make peace among us . . .

Watching the star Sirius in early October

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 – Kansas City, USA

At 6:15 AM Daylight Time, I saw Sirius about two hand breadths above the horizon, just a bit east of due south. This was about one hour and ten minutes before local sunrise.

The constellation Orion was correspondingly just a bit west of due south.

Compare this with my earliest sighting this year on August 21st. Then, Sirius rose only a short time before sunrise.

More importantly, Sirius was then roughly 20 degrees ahead of the sun. Today, Sirius was about 80 degrees ahead of the sun.