July 29th, 2012
01:19 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney says Jerusalem is Israel's capital, vows to move embassy

(CNN) - The American embassy in Israel, currently in Tel Aviv, should move to Jerusalem, presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney said in an interview Sunday.

"A nation has the capacity to choose its own capital city, and Jerusalem is Israel's capital," Romney told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an interview set to air Monday. "I think it's long been the policy to ultimately have our embassy in the nation's capital of Jerusalem."

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The timing of the move, Romney said, would be made in consultation with Israel's government.

"I would follow the same policy we have had in the past, our embassy would be in the capital, and the timing of that is something I would want to work out with the government," Romney said.

No country's embassy to Israel is currently situated in Jerusalem. Nearly every nation with a diplomatic mission to Israel has its embassy in or near Tel Aviv. Some countries have embassies in Mevaseret Zion, a suburb of Jerusalem. The United States currently has a consulate in Jerusalem, which provides visas and other services.

In pledging to move the American embassy in Israel, Romney joins presidential candidates in the past that have made the same promise, including former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Neither made the move as commander in chief.

American policy has long been intentionally vague on the status of Jerusalem. A U.S. law passed in 1995 designates Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and stipulates the American embassy should move to the city from Tel Aviv. The past three presidents, however, have signed waivers suspending the law, citing security and diplomatic concerns.

Israelis consider Jerusalem the capital of their country, but Palestinians also claim rights to the city as the capital of a future independent state. The status of the city is designated for final negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator and member of the executive committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, responded to Romney's labeling of Jerusalem as Israel's capital Sunday.

"East Jerusalem is occupied territory. I don't think occupation and aggression is rewarded even during an election campaign," Erekat said. "Those who seek peace between Palestine and Israel and those who seek to save lives must stand tall for the two state solution and for East Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine."

In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama waded into the issue of Jerusalem's status, pledging before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided."

He later walked back the comment on CNN, telling Fareed Zakaria the remark was a result of "poor phrasing."

"The point we were simply making was, is that we don't want barbed wire running through Jerusalem, similar to the way it was prior to the '67 war, that it is possible for us to create a Jerusalem that is cohesive and coherent," Obama said. "I was not trying to predetermine what are essentially final status issues."

On Thursday, the subject of Israel's capital arose at the White House press briefing.

"What city does this administration consider to be the capital of Israel - Jerusalem or Tel Aviv?" a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

"I haven't had that question in a while. Our position has not changed," Carney answered. Pressed further for the White House's position on Israel, Carney responded "you know our position" before moving on to other questions.

In a transcript of the briefing emailed later Thursday afternoon, the White House included a paragraph explaining their position.

"The status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians," the statement read. "We continue to work with the parties to resolve this issue and others in a way that is just and fair, and respects the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians."

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Filed under: 2012 • Israel • Mitt Romney
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. suka

    Thats where the truth is. Now we know who owns us and a.

    July 29, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  2. Jules

    What a person of peace you would be. Unbelievable!

    July 29, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. Joseph

    Romney doesn't seem to understand basic geopolitics. Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel. Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel. Jerusalem is a Palestinian city.

    July 29, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. JohnRJohnson

    Mitt Romney is NOT supposed to be criticizing or even talking about US foreign on this trip.

    July 29, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. w h duroe

    Romney is just another promise everything do nothing politician.The headline should read Romney talks rubbish on iran not tough.Not that i dont think iran is dangerous mind you.They will build a bomb if not stopped,and they will hand it to terrorists.

    July 29, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. You People Aint Seeing Our Tax Returns

    Americans will heave a sigh of relief if Romney will make a final stop in Poland.

    July 29, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. ghost

    Mitt wants to win at any cost, even if it means starting a war. I trust the President of the United States, President Barrack Obamba. Mitt can try it again in 3012.

    July 29, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. greg

    After visiting the UK Borat is now in Israel.

    July 29, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. dotmafia

    Jerusalem? There must be a mistake... I was sure it was Washington DC.

    July 29, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. HereWeGoAgain!

    What A GOOD WAY TO BROKER PEACE between Isreal and Palestenians Mitt. I wonder what the Palestenians who are again negotiating with Isreal will think after he opens his mouth in public in this "Jerusalem" is Isreal's capital nonesense. I wish Mittens would just STICK to discussing the ECONOMY and treat this overseas trip as a nice excursion...A FIELD TRIP, where he just asks questions and absorb answers. KEEP IT SHUT. He is really good at that on domestic issues. We still don't know what he'll do AFTER he repeals Obamacare.

    July 29, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. g

    republicans are war drunk –time for rehab –theres a smart way of doing things and the republican way –smart way bad guys get dead–republican way every body gets dead ,some get rich and the bad guy walks

    July 29, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Iran hasn't and won't attempt to attack Israel as long as Obama is President and Israel knows this. President Obama entered office in the middle of 2 wars which he is winding down plus 2 leaders were removed, one in Egypt and the other in Lybia and Iran is not too far removed from the same if they attack Israel. Mitt Romney would be Israel's worst nightmare and Irans blessing in the sky because he would embolden Iran to attack Israel.

    July 29, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. ge

    next he,ll be standing on mt.everest with a crown on his head

    July 29, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. Blue

    Who in the hell does Mitt think that he is? He is a no one without facts and important info. I hope that President Obama can repair the damage that this fool has done to our country and others around the region. The PM of Israel is about as smart as Mitt. God help us all if Mitt is elected president of US. One fool flollowing another. Mitt will say anything to the PM to try and undermine our President. Thank God for President Obama, he has enough strength to stand up to the PM. President Obama knows what he is doing and talking about.

    July 29, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. artraveler

    Mr Romney, time for all of your sons to enlist if you are planning on starting any new wars. And this time, taxes will go up or you won't have an authorization. Too much GOP stupidity, starting wars on someone's else's money and then cutting back on USA needs. If you want a war, I suggest a DOUBLING of the upper tax rates since "your people" didn't create the jobs that were supposed to occur in the 11 years of lower taxes and keep them up until we have the national debt down to zero. Also, no income tax paid-then no government contract! And tax ALL income, no matter the source, at the appropriate rate. If someone wants to leave the country, then pull their passport and let them go. I understand that Somalioa is lovely this time of year (BYOGun).

    July 29, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. Pull My Finger

    Mr Romney, what is your position on the New World Order ?

    I cant talk about that now, i havent been elected yet.

    July 29, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. Stohn Jockton

    Ooohhh, finaly a policy prescription from Mitt Romney, and what a doozy! He's definitely got my vote.

    July 29, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  18. robert in fort worth

    The Republican foreign policy establishment loves elective wars. If you vote for Romeny, you will get GWB 2.0. Please vote for President Obama and spare us another elective war.

    July 29, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. Jhoffa_X

    He's only being Consistent.. After all, we're moving our capital to Tijuana.

    July 29, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. WDinDallas

    Good idea. I agree.

    July 29, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  21. Bill R

    mitt fix-it is all about a rich man's war and a poor man's fight just like he was back in the 1960's when he supported the war in vietnam until it was this turn then it was off to London and Paris for this young warriors.

    July 29, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  22. Marvin (Edmonton, Canada)

    Thank you, We know that....next..

    July 29, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. Karyn

    United Holy Land Republic. Like the petulant little children they all are, force them to share.

    July 29, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  24. truegrit1

    Other than Washington and Tel Aviv – the entire world understands why Israel's claim to Jerusalem is illegal. Israel occupies Jerusalem illegally just as they occupy Palestinian land illegally. That is all clearly recorded in British and United Nations records. Romney, like Palin & Bachmann, speaks about things without deep knowledge of the subject.

    Irresponsibly approving of Israel attacking Iran displays Romney's danger to America as President. Romney subverts American sovereignty by approving an act of Israel that would cost American lives and interests abroad.

    Israel is not a Democracy as the records show. It is a revolving dictatorship. Netanyahu was PM in 1995 and 17 years later in 2012 he is again PM. His paranoia about Iran can take America to war and done with Romney's approval if he were President. Obama keeps America safe from Netanyahu's paranoia. Vote Democrat and save American lives.

    July 29, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  25. tony

    I think it's also now the pending capital of the USA.

    July 29, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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