America's beachfront Tel Aviv vacation home.
American politicians have never been shy of professing their undying love for Israel and it's capital Jerusalem. Or is that Tel Aviv? Well, if the placement of their fortress -like, Mike's Place-accessible, seaside embassy is any indication, they prefer the white city to our little backwater enclave in the hill country.
That may all change come January when a new American commander in chief moves into the White House. May is the operative word though. Past presidents have generally treated promises to move the American embassy to Jerusalem the same way they do Injun' peace treaties - as nonbinding.
In 1995, Congress passed a law calling for the U.S. to move its embassy to west Jerusalem, but included a clause allowing the president leeway to leave the embassy in Tel Aviv for as long as he pleased, so long as he cited "security" concerns. Which is exactly what both Clinton and Bush have done, despite both repeatedly verbally committing to move to Jerusalem. In 2007, on the anniversary of the Six Day War, the House of Representatives once again called on the president to move the embassy, though the Senate never got to vote. In September, another resolution was introduced and has been wallowing in committee since. Oh Washington, how efficient are your houses!
Now comes 2008, and tomorrow will see the election of a new president, or at least the beginning of a fun-filled, drawn-out court battle. The result could have a lasting effect on where the embassy will be located.
True to form, McCain, the favorite here in Israel, has taken the "maverick" position of following in his predecessors' footsteps and promising to move the embassy if elected. Haaretz quoted the Arizona Senator as saying, "Jerusalem is undivided, Jerusalem is the capital, and we should move the embassy to Jerusalem before anything happens."
Front-running Terrorist/socialist/baby-eating Mooslum Barack Obama has stayed neutral on the issue, saying only that he would move the embassy as part of a final status agreement on Jerusalem, which is more or less the equivalent of saying they aren’t going anywhere. He did, though, call Jerusalem the undivided capital of Jerusalem, before he somewhat retracted the statement, which others saw as code for, yes, he will move the embassy.
Given politicians' propensity for saying one thing on the campaign trail and meaning exactly the opposite, Israelis shouldn't plan on visiting Jerusalem to get their US tourist visas anytime soon. That may be a good thing, given our Semitic brothers' tendency for using American embassies around the world as a convenient starting point for riots and other hostage-tastic activities. Jerusalem residents and other colonialist settlers should soon have some nice new digs in Arnona to visit, though, as Americans put the final touches on a spanking new consulate. At least that will be one American abode in Jerusalem that isn't abandoned 11 months out of the year.
Photo courtesy of Krokodyl through a Creative Commons license.