The State Department isn't sure whether Jerusalem is the capital city of the state of Israel. In fact, yesterday, spokesman Victoria Nuland was asked, "What is the capital of Israel?" She would not say.
"Our policy with regard to Jerusalem is that it has to be solved through negotiations," Nuland responded, without answering the straightforward question. "That's all I have to say on this issue." The whole exchange is astonishing.
But if the State Department isn't sure, it need only to turn to the Central Intelligence Agency, which lists (in its publicly available Fact Book) Jerusalem as the capital of Israel:
"It looks like the CIA has figured out that Jerusalem is not only part of Israel, but is also its capital," a former State Department official tells me. "Maybe they should share this amazing revelation with the State Department. I knew our $80-billion-a-year intelligence bureaucracy could get something right on the Middle East."
In truth, the State Department's own website is a lot clearer on the issue than its spokesman. In a section on its website titled, "Background Note: Israel," the federal agency writes that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel:
Of course, there's a footnote, which (like the CIA's) reads, "Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1950. The United States, like nearly all other countries, maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv."
And later, on the same page, the State Department undermines Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem by writing, "The Consulate General in Jerusalem is an independent U.S. mission, established in 1844, whose members are not accredited to a foreign government." Hmm.
The Israel issue is a difficult one, to be sure. But it's needlessly made more complex by nonsense like this.