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US Supreme Court takes up status of Jerusalem
Published Monday 21/04/2014 (updated) 23/04/2014 09:50
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A picture taken on March 19, 2014, shows the central post office
building in East Jerusalem (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
WASHINGTON (AFP) -- The US Supreme Court Monday decided to hear the case of an American born in Jerusalem, once again taking up the sensitive issue of the status of the contested city.

The justices will hear arguments in the case in the fall before deciding on the constitutionality of a 2002 law that directs the State Department to give Israel as the country of birth in passports of Americans born in Jerusalem.

At the center of the struggle between the Congress and the presidency is Menachem Zivotofsky, who was born in Jerusalem in 2002 to two American parents.

His passport says "born in Jerusalem" but his parents want Israel added to the place of birth, putting them at odds with the State Department.

Israel claims Jerusalem as its capital, but neither the United States nor the international community recognizes the city -- holy to three faiths -- as such.

Then president George W. Bush signed the 2002 bill into law, but he added a signed statement condemning it as unacceptable interference in the president's powers to conduct foreign policy.

In March 2012, the top court ruled that the Zivotofsky suit was legally admissible, without pronouncing on the underlying issue.

This time it will decide whether the president alone has the authority to say who Jerusalem belongs to, in the eyes of the United States.

The Obama administration argued at a hearing in November 2011 that to list Israel as the country of birth would be tantamount to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the country.

The PLO claims East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, but Israeli negotiators want Jerusalem to be recognized as the "undivided" capital of Israel.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
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1 ) Mel / USA
21/04/2014 22:58
"...his parents want Israel..."?No,sorry!USG & SCOTUS 'Inc.Gods of Olympus',would have to END ISRAEL'S ILLEGAL OCCUPATION of E/Jerus,W/B & illegal blockade of Gaza first,not to MENTION demand Israel OFFICIALLY DECLARE/DEFINE ITS SOVEREIGN BORDERS.Which,Israel isn't going to do while it seeks more colonial/apartheid expansion into Palestine.Point of LAW,Israel has no officially recognized LEGAL borders,except the original partition lines.Israel is NOT official until it declares sovereign borders!

2 ) JoeFattal / USA
22/04/2014 01:06
To solve the issue Jerusalem must belong to all three major religion. Each religious group will appoint a caretaker or an ambassador, sponsor and financed by the UN. Freedom of religion should be to everyone's concern without any restrictions, as we have now. No State should have any responsibility in its political affair. Jerusalem should be the Capital of the world recognize as such. But than knowing Israel they will have checkpoints all around Jerusalem restricting who ever they please.

3 ) JoeFattal / USA
22/04/2014 01:39
Continue....And as far as the Supreme Court taking Jerusalem status, bad of an idea. It should be the UN. But if you ask me, it is Israel idea and solely Israel to demand such request, and that will divide the Supreme Court Justices on a religious issue that its not advisable since Jerusalem is divided as it is. Why the US is so fond of Israel is beyond me.

4 ) Tibi / Tubas
22/04/2014 01:53
A US Supreme Court ruling will mean no more than A Palestinian claim of East Jerusalem, since Neither have jurisdiction in Jerusalem !!

5 ) Mel / USA
22/04/2014 01:54
p.s. Is the SCOTUS willing to declare Washington D.C. a Christian-only capital,as Riyadh is an Islamic-only capital?
Israel has ONLY one set of internationally recognized borders!
The ORIGINAL PARTITION!

6 ) Michael / USA
22/04/2014 17:33
An issue that was available to US Supreme Court any time it decided to pick up on it Why now? No legal position on the status of Jerusalem has ever been taken by US at this level before only political. Like UN res 181 that gave Israel recognition US didn't vote for it and again US didn't vote for Res 6719 giving state status to Palestine but this move by US Highest Court could well give defacto recognition to Pal State just as it did in follow up with the 1948 state Israel. US operates like this

7 ) ian / australia
23/04/2014 05:22
I must say I don't get it. The ICJ opinion says territory beyond the Green Line is occupied. Res 242 says Israel should withdraw from it. The whole world regards the settlements as illegal and Res 478 rules the annexation of EAST Jerusalem "null and void". So doesn't that spell out that the '67 line has become the defacto border? Simply by the incremental recognition of the legitimacy of Israel inside it? So, surely it's a straightforward matter of where in Jerusalem he was born. I'm sure

8 ) ian / australia
23/04/2014 05:23
(contd.) Menachem Zivotofsky and his parents would like his passport to state "Jerusalem, Israel" as place of birth (of course they do, they're litigious zealots) but if he was born in an illegal settlement in ANNEXED EAST Jerusalem, argue all they like, it can't, because he wasn't.

9 ) Rami / Palestine
23/04/2014 09:28
#4 America doesn't have jurisdiction in Jerusalem but it's also not obligated to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem either. So complaining that your U.S. passport doesn't say "Jerusalem, Israel" is stupid.

10 ) ian / australia
26/04/2014 09:40
#9 I still don't get it, Rami. Doesn't the world recognize Israeli sovereignty over WEST Jerusalem? You know, the Knesset, Mamilla Mall, Ben Yehuda St., Yad Vashem, that windmill. Do Palestinians even want any of that? Or think it remotely likely Israel will ever vacate and return it to them? Hasn't the Green Line BECOME the legal divide and the worthwhile struggle recognition of sovereignty in the areas which are still Palestinian in CHARACTER, like Sheikh Jarrah (and maybe even dislodge

11 ) ian / australia
26/04/2014 09:40
(contd.) a few illegals from Silwan or Pizgat Ze'ev)? In fact, Abbas could put it to the UNGA. It would pass (with the usual objections and abstentions) because it's implicit in other rulings (242, 378 etc.). And it would result in quite the showdown: the Jerusalem Law, Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel, recognised by NO-ONE except Israel (!) UNIVERSALLY rejected vs. UNGA Res: East Jerusalem, capital of Palestine.
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