Special to the JTA a Story of Two U.S. Consular Offices in Jerusalem
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Special to the JTA a Story of Two U.S. Consular Offices in Jerusalem

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The fact that the United States does not recognize East Jerusalem as part of Israel was sharply dramatized for this reporter in an incident involving the notarization of a personal document here this week.

Based in Jerusalem with tourist status, the reporter was advised that her document could be notarized at the American Consulate in the city.

She then discovered that there are two U.S. consular offices here, one on Agron Street in West Jerusalem, which houses only executive and commercial offices, and the other on Nablus Road in East Jerusalem, which carries out routine services for American individuals.

(The Agron Street office is not mandated to assist American individuals, most of them Jews, who are shunted to the Nablus Road office in the heart of an exclusively Arab neighborhood.)

The document requiring notarization had spaces for “State of” and “City of”. The clerk at the Nablus Road Consular office whited out the words “State of.” Then she stamped twice on the document the words “City of Jerusalem, Consulate General of the United States of America, ” It was subsequently signed by the Vice Consul, Lawrence Mire.

‘JERUSALEM IS JUST JERUSALEM’

Asked why no state was filled in as is the usual case on notarized documents, the clerk said: “For the Consulate, Jerusalem is just Jerusalem. We do not write anything but ‘City of Jerusalem.’ Not the State of Israel and not Jordan. No state.” She refused to elaborate further and did not give her name.

In an opinion piece in the July 29 Jerusalem Post, a Palestinian Jerusalemite, Daoud Kuttab, wrote: “Even Israel’s staunchest supporters in the West haven’t recognized the annexation (of Jerusalem by Israel) and still consider East Jerusalem occupied territory.”

If Kuttab was referring to the United States, he could have stated as evidence: 1) refusal of the American Consulate to acknowledge that the city of Jerusalem is in the State of Israel, 2) the continued presence of two American consulates in Jerusalem, one in the west and one in the east, 3) the fact that the American Embassy is located in Tel Aviv.

(The United States’ refusal to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is in stark contrast to its attitude toward East Berlin as the capital of the German Democratic Republic. The U.S. Embassy in East Germany is in East Berlin, which the U.S. does not recognize as that country’s capital.)

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