A Statement Regarding the Status of Jerusalem

The Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley welcomes the announcement by President Trump to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel. In announcing the United States' intention to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the President is honoring a bipartisan commitment made over 20 years ago in the "Jerusalem Embassy Act." We are encouraged by the decision to move the embassy in a measured way and over a period of time that will ensure it will be, as the President stated, “a tribute to peace.”

At the same time, we appreciate the President stating that the final status of Jerusalem, along with other matters related to a future peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, can only be determined through direct negotiations between the two parties. In doing so, the President continues to reaffirm the United States’ strong commitment to the two-state solution and its commitment to ensuring that the status quo of religious sites in the holiest of cities for all the monotheistic faiths remains unchanged.

Since the establishment of Israel in 1948, Jerusalem has always been the capital of the Jewish state. It is where the Prime Minister’s office, the Supreme Court, the Knesset and President’s office are located and where the majority of the government’s business takes place. It is always the location where foreign leaders are welcomed during their official visits. The announcement yesterday is the recognition of those realities. 

Our wish is that this announcement will not be exploited by extremist elements whose only goals are to foment violence against Israeli citizens, both Jews and Arab, and to challenge the legitimacy of the Jewish state. Instead, we hope that the announcement will be used as a launching pad to re-engage in meaningful peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians resulting in a long-lasting, peaceful resolution to the conflict.