Vice President Mike Pence tells Israel’s Knesset, “the U.S. will support a two-state solution”

Remarks | Foreign Policy

Issued on: January 22, 2018

The Knesset – Israel’s parliament
Jerusalem, Israel *

“And President Trump reaffirmed that, if both sides agree, the United States of America will support a two-state solution.”

Arabs rejected the two-state proposal in 1948-49 when the Arab Legion invaded Palestine just before the British Mandate ended. Then, the Kingdom of Jordan annexed the West Bank, Eastern Jerusalem, and the walled Old City of Jerusalem.

The “two-state solution” became the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan. Everything since then has been bluster by Arabs before they drive all Jews into the sea.

Driving Jews into the sea – the Mediterranean – may be literal. On the other hand, it seems to hearken back to the days of Salah ad-Din  (Saladin) who drove Crusaders “into the sea” – back to Europe. This subtlety seems to be lost on literal-minded Arabs who don’t want to see Jews when they look out their windows.

Pence addresses Israel’s Knesset – video from The Washington Post

The White House’s text of Mr. Pence’s speech.

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* Jerusalem – Israel’s capital since 1948

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Land once earmarked for the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

Area where the U.S. Embassy could have been built.

In theory, there is land in Jerusalem set aside for a new U.S. Embassy. On President Ronald Reagan’s last day in office in [January] 1989, then-U.S. Ambassador to Israel William Brown signed a contract for a patch of land in West[ern] Jerusalem for $1 a year on a 99-year lease. This space [7 to 14 acres in the Talpiot neighborhood] was later zoned for “diplomatic purposes” by the Israeli government with the intention of building a U.S. Embassy there.

Although it was initially hoped during the 1990s that a U.S. Embassy could sit there, after the al-Qaeda bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998, new safety standards were put in place that require embassies to be set back 100 feet from any adjacent roads due to the risk of car bombs and other attacks. “With the new rules, that land is not big enough,” Shapiro said. For context, the space in Talpiot is seven to 14 acres, according to different sources, while the new U.S. Embassy in Lebanon sits on 43 acres.

From The Washington Post
By Adam Taylor | December 7, 2017

From: Nesanel –

The location on the map (79 Hebron Rd.) is now already built up with apartment residence towers.

Note though, that this site lies entirely within pre-1967 Jerusalem. However, the new Consulate General lies in what was no man’s land. The U.S. has had a consulate general in Jerusalem since 1844.

See Wikipedia , “Consulate General of the United States, Jerusalem,” and “Jerusalem Embassy Act.”

The ‘Two State Solution’ Died in 1949

The idea of an independent Palestinian state west of the Jordan River died when the Arab Legion invaded the West Bank in 1948. The land westward from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean was supposed to be divided into two states. One would be a Jewish state and the other would be an Arab state for those who were living there.

War was out of the question. The United Nations’ plan included the directive that both states would engage in economic cooperation – actually an Economic Union.

This plan was the United Nations Partition Plan for when Britain left the region. The plan arguably had the status of international law. The Security Council’s resolution concerned Britain. It set forth how the region that was mandated to the British to administer would look like when the British left. Britain tried (arguably) to set up the partition and to establish the outcome.

However, the Arab Legion violated this international law when it attacked Israel. Then, the Kingdom of Jordan annexed the West Bank – a new violation of international law.

The international community had helped Israel and Jordan negotiate an armistice in 1949. Since both sides agreed, the cease fire had the force of international law also.

The next time that the parties reached an agreement – negotiated by outsiders – was in 1993 through 1995. This was the Oslo Accords. These accords, which were signed by representatives of the Palestinians and of Israel, is the last word of international law.

UN resolutions passed by its Security Council arguably do not have the force of law. The United Nations is fulfilling its obligation to promote peace and security. It’s not unusual for effective parties to disdain peace and security.

Another event bears discussing. The International Court of Justice – commonly referred to as the World Court – is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. However, it tries to resolve disputes wherein both parties agree to appear. It is out of the question for the Court to rule unilaterally.

To repeat. The Oslo Accords are the only agreement, the only law between Palestinians and Israel.

Palestinians cannot justifiably complain that they are living in cantons. Their representative signed off on this.

They have a right and obligation to regulate life in what are called Areas A and B. Only Israel has the right to regulate life and to develop new housing, industry, and parks in Area C.

If Palestinians wished to pick up where things stood in the middle 2000s everything could go back onto the negotiating table.

However, this is so unlikely that I can relax, heat up some water, and relax drinking hot tea with sugar. The ‘Two State Solution’ is dead.

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

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.

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* 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.

City Planning in Jerusalem

Urban planning in the Municipality of Jerusalem could call itself “Terrestrial Jerusalem” based on a long-standing phrase from the Jewish tradition. Try pronouncing “Yerushalayim de’le’Tata” – yeh roo shah LIE yim dĕ lĕ TAH tah.

The literal translation of this Aramaic phrase is “Jerusalem of Below.”

Jerusalem Below
Jerusalem Below

We humans try to develop the earthly Jerusalem consistent with the values of the Divine Jerusalem – Jerusalem of Above.

So what constitutes the Jerusalem of Above?

Patience, my friend.


I feel justified in having stolen the original logo from a disreputable organization. I made significant changes such as rewriting a Hebrew language title with this traditional one in Aramaic.

What looks like Arabic script is nonsense. I scrambled the original Arabic title into figures that are not Arabic letters. This line of figures represents the character of a holy Jerusalem that illuminates the entire world.

The Oslo Accord

Doesn’t anyone remember the Oslo Accord of 1995 (known as Oslo II)?

The State of Israel signed a treaty with the internationally recognized representative of the Palestinians. Palestinians had officially decided that only Yasser Arafat and his Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) were authorized to negotiate on their behalf.

Both sides to the treaty signed, with several nations adding their authorized signatures as witnesses. The signing ceremony was televised and received plenty of air-time.

Israel’s military occupation remains intact on land that was designated Area C. Area C’s status has remained virtually the same as it had been since the Six-Day War in 1967.

The Oslo process since 1995 has failed, though. Nevertheless, the Oslo Accord of 1995 is the law of the region.

There has ceased to be a “Green Line” except in terms of defining the extent of the Accord. The Green Line had been the cease-fire line between Jordan’s military, the Arab Legion, and the State of Israel. Since the Oslo Accord, the Kingdom of Jordan signed a treaty with Israel and thereby renounced its illegal annexation of the West Bank (after 1949). Jordan has committed itself not to violate its international border by sending troops across this border.

Since its treaty with Israel, Jordan has conducted itself according to international law.

When Israel builds security barriers, it builds them within Area C where its military makes security decisions in accordance with the Oslo Accord.

Plaintiffs have brought a few cases before Israel’s High Court of Justice. This court has consistently ruled that the principle behind the security barriers is legal. On a couple of occasions, this court has elaborated stipulations that barriers not create undue or unnecessary hardships for Palestinians.

A couple of rulings of Israel’s High Court of Justice have ordered Israel’s military to develop plans for relocating a barrier according to the court’s stipulations. The court has exercised its authority to examine and approve the revised plans.

Palestinians still don’t recognize the legitimacy of the designation Area C. It is, according to them, “their land” even before any future negotiations with Israel.

The international community, especially the United Nations, have blithely ignored articles in the Oslo Accord. When Israel tears down new Palestinian construction, this construction is in Area C.

A popular refrain from Palestinians has been how hard it is for them to get building permits. This is not surprising since they have no standing to receive permits to build  anything in Area C at all.

Most journalists are blissfully ignorant of law when they cover issues, wherever in the world an issue arises. Even Israelis who receive information from domestic journalistic sources seem to remain ignorant of the terms of the Oslo Accord.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, “there are lies, damn lies, and journalism.”