Bill honoring reunification of Jerusalem makes its way through US Senate

The bill offers unequivocal support for Israel's administration of Jerusalem's holy sites.

By
June 2, 2017 23:54
2 minute read.
Israeli flags in front of Damascus Gate

Israeli flags in front of Damascus Gate. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Senator Mitch McConnell along with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and a host of other legislators introduced a bill this week to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the "reunification of Jerusalem."

Senate Resolution 176
, drafted on May 24, recognizes June 2017 as the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War and the "reunification of the city of Jerusalem." It also states that "there has been a continuous Jewish presence in Jerusalem for 3 millennia."

While the bill acknowledges that Jerusalem is "a holy city and the home for people of the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faiths," it emphasizes that for 3,000 years, Jerusalem has been "Judaism's holiest city and the focal point of Jewish religious devotion."

The legislation references the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy act, which called for the United States to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and called for the Senate to reaffirm this act, as well as to commemorate the reunification and to restate their support for Israel's "commitment to religious freedom and administration of holy sites in Jerusalem."

The bill also praises Egypt and Jordan for their embracing of peace with Israel following their battle in the Six Day War, and reiterates American policy that the permanent status of Jerusalem must be determined through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, "towards a two-state solution."

The resolution passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and will next go up for a vote in the Senate.


“I am proud to sponsor this resolution, which reaffirms the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that states Jerusalem should remain an undivided city and Israel’s capital – in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are celebrated, valued and protected," Senator Schumer said in a statement.

"This year’s Yom Yerushalayim celebrates the semi-centennial of the reunification of Jerusalem, an important milestone for Israel and Jewish people across the globe given that Jerusalem has been a focal point of Jewish life for thousands of years," he continued. "The resolution also affirms our longstanding policy to achieve peaceful coexistence via direct negotiations that achieve a two-state solution."

The resolution comes as US President Donald Trump signed a waiver on Thursday delaying the United States' mandated moving of its embassy to Jerusalem, which has been delayed time and again since the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy act. It also comes just weeks after UNESCO completely disavowed Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.

Michael Wilner contributed to this report.
 
PM Netanyahu reacting to UNESCO resolution (credit: REUTERS)

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