US White House spokesman Jay Carney refused to state the US position on the location of Israel’s capital during a press briefing, Thursday, despite several requests for clarification from a pair of reporters.
The exchange, caught on video and uploaded to YouTube, quickly made the cyberspace rounds as the latest example of world bodies’ refusal to name Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In the video, a female reporter asks about the administration’s position on the capital of Israel, as several other reporters lightly chuckle.
“I haven’t gotten that question in a while,” Carney responds. “Our position has not changed.”
Carney tries to move on to another question but is hounded by the reporter and a man sitting next to her to expound on the position and whether the capital is Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
“You know our position,” responds Carney.
Though Israel has declared Jerusalem as its capital, the inclusion of East Jerusalem, which much of the world maintains is in disputed territory, has made the issue a diplomatic minefield for some.
The BBC came under fire recently from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for refusing to list Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The news outlet eventually listed the city as Israel’s “seat of government.” The London-based Guardian newspaper persistently calls Tel Aviv Israel’s capital. A press panel found it was within its rights to do so. Earlier this year, the paper ran a correction after having “wrongly referred to [Jerusalem] as the Israeli capital.”
The US State Department insists that the administration’s policy “with regard to Jerusalem is that its status has to be solved through negotiations.” Still, the State Department fact sheet on Israel lists Jerusalem as its capital, as does the CIA Factbook.
Americans born in Jerusalem, however, are only given the city, and not country, of birth on their American passports.
The US, like every other country, maintains its embassy outside Jerusalem. A congressional order to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to the capital was signed in 1995, though the order has been delayed by every president since for “security reasons.”