Jerusalem Issue in the U.S. Middle East Policy

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-12-43-51

A. Shumilin (,
Institute of the USA and Canada Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 2/3, Khlebnyi Per., Moscow, 123995, Russian Federation 

Abstract. As to the Israeli-Palestinian settlement, a commonly shared vision of the West Bank and Gaza Streep areas passed under Palestinian control to lay out a territorial basis for the upcoming Palestinian state remains to be the prevailing trend within the U.S. political establishment. That is not the case with Jerusalem regarded by Israelis as a “united and indivisible capital of the Jewish State”. Palestinians, on their part, along with overwhelming majority of the Arab elites across the region do insist that the Eastern part of the Holy City should belong to them as a capital of their emerging State. The later vision enjoys total support in terms of international law expressed in a number of the UN resolutions. For decades-long span, the Jerusalem issue has been a point of divergence between the American Congress (under the constant pressure of the Pro-Israeli lobby) and the White House (executive administrations) responsible for the U. S. Foreign policy management. The issue of the American embassy’s move from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem emerged as a key one for Israel’s supporters in Congress since the year 1950. The law adopted in 1995 was to oblige the U.S. government to finally move the embassy to the West Jerusalem largely acknowledged as Israel’s capital. But the subsequent American governments preferred to postpone the implementation of this law first and foremost out of fear to see the Arab anger implying the U.S. to lose its unique mediator positions in the region. Even the most devoted Israel’s advocates among the American presidents have preferred to refrain from this politically risky step. Barack Obama’s approach to the pivotal issues between Israel and Palestine has even enraged the Israeli politicum, which facilitated the Pro-Israeli lobby support for Trump on his way to the White House. Nevertheless, even Trump did not dare to implement his electoral promise in respect of the embassy move. But the chances to see his promise come true are greater than ever before. 

Keywords: Middle East, Israel and Palestine, Donald Trump’s visit, “Jerusalem Factor”, Israel’s capital, U.S. embassy


1. Winer S. Saudis Say They Urged Trump to Sort Out Temple Mount Spat. The Times of Israel, 27.07.2017.

2. S. Res.176 – A Resolution Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem. 115 Congress (2017–2018). Washington,, 06.05.2017. Available at: (accessed 10.05.2017).

3. Shumilin A. I. Politika SShA na Blizhnem Vostoke v kontekste “Arabskoi vesny” [The USA Policy in the Middle East in Context of the Arab Spring]. Moscow, Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2015. 336 p.

4. Resolution 200 EX/25 – The Occupied Palestine Resolution. UN UNESCO, Adopted on October 13, 2016, Ratified on October 26, 2016. Available at: (accessed 10.11.2016).

5. Statement by the Director-General of UNESCO on the Old City of Jerusalem and Its Walls on the Occasion of the 40th Session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO in Istanbul. UNESCO, 15.07.2016. Available at: (accessed 20.06.2017).

6. Lapidoth R., Hirsch M. The Jerusalem Question and Its Resolution: Selected Documents. New York, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1994. 542 p.

7. Gilboa E., Inbar E. US-Israeli Relations in a New Era: Issues and Challenges After 9/11. London and New York, Routledge – Taylor & Francis, 2010. 272 p.

8. Slonim Sh. Jerusalem in America’s Foreign Policy, 1947–1997. Boston, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1999. 421 p.

9. S. Res 478 – Territories Occupied by Israel. UN Security Council, Adopted on August 20, 1980. Available at: (accessed 11.08.2017).

10. Document A/34/542–6th Summit Conference of Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Movement, Havana, Cuba 3–9 September 1979. UN General Assembly, October 11, 1979. Available at: (accessed 11.08.2017).

11. Shumilina I. V. Za kulisami obamamanii: iskusstvo ubezhdat’ amerikantsev i mir [Behind the Curtain of Obamamania: the Skillfulness to Win Americans and the Entire World]. Moscow, Rus’-Olimp, 2011. 223 p.

12. Karasova T. . Izrail’ i SShA: Osnovnye etapy stanovleniya strategicheskogo partnerstva 1948–2014 [Israel and the USA: the Main Stages of Partnership Building 1948–2014]. Moscow, Aspekt Press, 2015. 464 p.

13. A/48/486-S/26560 – Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements. UN General Assembly Security Council, 11 October 1993. Available at: (accessed 18.06.2017).

14. Washington Declaration: Israel–Jordan–the United States, July 25th, 1994. Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library. Available at: (accessed 18.06.2017).

15. Article 9, Volume 2042, 1-35325 – Treaty of Peace Between the State of Israel and the Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan. UN. Available at: (accessed 19.06.2017).

16. Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 – Public Law 104-45-Nov. 8, 1995–104th Congress. USA. Available at: (accessed 19.06.2017).

17. Resolution 2334 (2016) – Adopted by the Security Council at Its 7853rd Meeting on 23 December 2016. UN Security Council. Available at: (accessed 20.06.2017).

18. Inbar E. Jerusalem Is the Center of Gravity. The BESA Center Perspectives Paper No 398, January 19, 2017. Available at: (accessed 11.07.2017).

19. Booth W. Netanyahu’s Planned Speech to Congress Now Dominates Israeli Elections. The Washington Post, 11.02.2015.

20. Firestone D. Netanyahu Trip to Congress Provokes Harsh Reaction from US Jewish Leaders. The Guardian, 14.02.2015.

21. Ahren R., Fulbright A. Senior Member of Trump Team Said to Tell Israelis: Western Wall is not Your Territory. The Times of Israel, 15.05.2017.

22. Grant P. Trump Names Jason Greenblatt Representative for International Negotiations. The Wall Street Journal, 23.12.2016.

23. Israeli Embassy Staff in Jordan Returned to Israel. Reuters, July 24, 2017. Available at: (accessed 11.08.2017).

24. Gryboski M. American Embassy Will Be Moved to Jerusalem, Vice President Pence Says. The Christian Post, 18.07.2017.

25. Newport F. Jerusalem, Jews and the Presidential Candidates. Gallup, March 24, 2016. Available at: (accessed 20.06.2017).

26. Poll: Most Americans Don’t Want US Embassy Moved to Jerusalem. Candidates Keep Making the Promise to Get Elected. Washington, Institute for Research Middle Eastern Policy, January 30, 2017. Available at: (accessed 10.07.2017).

27. Statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry, 06.04.2017 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 10.06.2017). 

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Shumilin A. Jerusalem Issue in the U.S. Middle East Policy. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2017, vol. 61, no. 12, pp. 43-51.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 7
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • The Supporting Structure of Global Security
  • Institutional Features of the Fourth Energy Transition
  • The Evolution of Modern German Christian Democracy
  • The Monarchies of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.