Time magazine has an article that pretends to be a backgrounder on the legal status of Jerusalem, and it gets it quite wrong in a number of respects. Every single thing it gets wrong is against Israel, showing that this is a lesson in media bias.
After the Second World War, the State of Israel was established and gradually recognized ‘de jure’ — or lawfully — by most of the world’s countries. However, although the U.N. recognized the state of Israel in 1948, allowing it to become a member state, it placed the whole city of Jerusalem under international control (a ‘corpus separatum’) on Dec. 13 1949. Despite this, most governmental offices moved to the city.
UN General Assembly resolution 303(4) was passed on December 9, not December 13th. It did not place Jerusalem under international control – General Assembly resolutions cannot do that – it merely said “its intention that Jerusalem should be placed under a permanent international regime.”
Time is lying.
Crucially, the United States voted against this resolution.
Here is what happened on December 13th: David Ben Gurion said in unmistakable terms that Jerusalem is and always will be the capital of Israel:
As you know, the General Assembly of the United Nations has in the meantime, by a large majority, decided to place Jerusalem under an international regime as a separate entity. This decision is utterly incapable of implementation – if only for the determined unalterable opposition of the inhabitants of Jerusalem themselves. It is to be hoped that the General Assembly will in the course of time correct this mistake which its majority has made, and will make no attempt whatsoever to impose a regime on the Holy City against the will of its people.
…For the State of Israel there has always been and always will be one capital only – Jerusalem the eternal. So it was three thousand years ago – and so it will be, we believe, until the end of time.
But in 1967, during the Six-Day War, Israel captured the eastern section of Jerusalem, which Jordan presided over, and declared Israeli law, jurisdiction and administration would be applied to the whole city. Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem has been considered illegal under international law and was condemned by the U.N., as well as other states.
The link that Time gives to claim that Israel’s rule over the part of Jerusalem that Jordan had annexed is illegal says no such thing. It is an article by legal scholar Eyal Benvenisti that argues that even if Israel annexed “East Jerusalem” it would still be considered an occupier (a controversial theory) but in no way does his article claim that such occupation is illegal. In fact, there is no such thing as “illegal occupation” – the laws of belligerent occupation simply reflect that an occupying country has certain responsibilities, but the state of occupation is not illegal. The most that anyone can claim is that some Israeli actions violate the laws of occupation, not that the occupation itself is illegal.
Time is lying.
Time goes on:
In 1980, the Knesset declared that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel,” but this law was declared null by the U.N., which called for the removal of the remaining embassies in the city.
Here’s what Time doesn’t bother to say: Even though the US abstained on that Security Council resolution, it considered the demand that states abandon their diplomatic missions to be null and void. From Secretary of State Edmund Muskie:
The status of Jerusalem cannot simply be declared; it must be agreed to by the parties. That is a practical reality. It will remain so. despite this draft resolution or a hundred more like it….
The Council calls upon those States that have established diplomatic missions in Jerusalem to withdraw them from the Holy City. In our judgement this provision is not binding. It is without force. And we reject it as a disruptive attempt to dictate to other nations. it does nothing to promote a resolution of the difficult problems facing Israel and its neighbours. It does nothing to advance the cause of peace.
Time goes on:
Countries continued to locate their foreign embassies in Tel Aviv, Israel’s second largest city, situated on the Mediterranean coast, and the refusal to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli territory has become a near-universal policy among Western nations.
Not really, since Western nations recognize the Green Line (falsely) as a border. Their diplomats and heads of state routinely travel to Jerusalem to speak to Israeli diplomats. If pre-1967 Jerusalem was considered controversial, none of these national leaders would ever step foot in the city as guests of Israel.
Then Time contradicts itself:
The U.N. still maintains its position on Jerusalem. In October 2009, the U.N.’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that Jerusalem must be the capital of both Israel and Palestine—living side-by-side in peace and security, with arrangements for the holy sites acceptable to all—for peace in the Middle East to be achieved.
If the UN maintains its position of Jerusalem as a corpus separatum, then how can it also call for Jerusalem to be divided into becoming a capital of two states?
The UN Secretary General even realizes that the idea of Jerusalem as an international city is dead, yet Time says its position hasn’t changed since 1949.
This is really a poor article, and its bias and lies show that Time isn’t trying to explain the facts – it is trying to hide them.
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