Legal Status of Jerusalem Raised in Extradition Case in London

The legal status of Israel’s capital emerged today as an issue in the struggle by Israel to obtain extradition of Shalom Shtarkes, the 23-year-old former Israeli accused of abducting his nephew, Yossele Schumacher.

The uncle, now a religious school teacher in London, was remanded for a third time on another appearance at a hearing on the extradition warrant after his defense attorney asked the Bow Street court here to seek an opinion from the British Foreign Office about the status of Jerusalem.

A.B. King-Hamilton, the defense attorney, said the application to the court was to determine whether Britain had ever granted de jure recognition to Israeli sovereignty over the new city of Jerusalem. He argued that if new Jerusalem had been expressly excluded from de jure recognition by Britain, it would follow that the extradition treaty would not apply. He said he had been informed that the British Foreign Office would give this information only in response to a formal request from the court.

Leonard Caplin, appearing for the Israel Government, assailed the defense maneuver, saying that he thought the defense attorney was “pushing at an open door.” He said that the House of Lords in a case of a suit by an Arab bank against Barclays Bank in 1954 had considered the status of new Jerusalem and had declared that at the time Britain gave de jure recognition to Israel with the reservation that only de facto recognition was given to the part of Jerusalem controlled by the Israel Government.

“I am quite content to accept that position,” Caplin said. The defense attorney insisted, however, that the statement as set out in the Arab bank case was not correct.

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