Home inContext Obama Shifts on Jerusalem

Obama Shifts on Jerusalem

Howard Gumnitzky

The Barack Obama Administration has reportedly dropped its demand that Israel freeze housing construction in the eastern part of Jerusalem.  Earlier this summer, the U.S. called for a total building halt in eastern Jerusalem’s Jewish neighborhoods, which Obama called “illegitimate.”

U.S. envoy George Mitchell seems to acknowledge that Israeli leader Benyamin Netanyahu will not acquiesce to such a request. Since Jerusalem’s 1967 unification, successive Israeli leaders have insisted that the entire city remain in Israeli hands.  There is also a broad public consensus on this issue in Israel.

In July, the JPC’s Samara Greenberg explored the legal basis for Jewish expansion in eastern Jerusalem. Readers may also refer to Jonathan Schanzer’s review of Ambassador Dore Gold’s book, which argued that Israel has been the most responsible guardian of Christian and Muslim holy sites in recent history.