Thursday, June 11, 2009

West Bank Birthing

The United States Consulate General in Jerusalem, which is where all American citizens residing in Jerusalem, east and west, as well as Judea and Samaria come to for consular services cannot have "Israel" appended to the name of the city "Jerusalem" if their child is born in Shaare Zedek, Bikkur Cholim, Misgav Ladach or the two Hadaash hospitals. Jerusalem as a sovereign part of Israel is not recognized.

Now, there's something else I just discovered.

If a child is born at home in one of the Jewish communities in Yesha, the registration of birth and passport will carry _______, West Bank.

and made inquiries through official channels (that's what I do) and was answered:

If a child is born in the West Bank, whether they are Israelis or Palestinians, place of birth on the U.S. passport is either the city (Efrat, Ramallah, etc.) or the area – the West Bank in that case. This information is available on the internet: search for 7 FAM 1360 APPENDIX D BIRTH IN ISRAEL, JERUSALEM, AND ISRAELI-OCCUPIED AREAS, and you’ll find this.

In addition, since the couple’s previous children were born in ________ (and not, say, in Beit Shemesh, etc.), their passports would have to be amended the next time they are renewed. Mr. _______ can correspond our office directly any time at

American Citizen Services, Special Consular Services

But the "West Bank" doesn't exist as a geo-political entity. The 1947 UN Resolution referred to Judea and Samaria. There's nothing "natural" in this.

What gives?

Well, I searched and came up with this:


U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 7 – Consular Affairs 7 FAM 1300 Appendix D Page 11

a. Background. As a result of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the Government of Israel currently occupies and administers the Golan Heights, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. U.S. policy recognizes that the Golan Heights is Syrian territory, and that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are territories whose final status must be determined by negotiations.
b. Birth in the Golan Heights: The birthplace that should appear on passports whose bearers were born in the Golan Heights is SYRIA.
c. Birth in the West Bank or in the No Man’s Lands between the West Bank and Israel: The birthplace for people born in the West Bank or in the No Man's Lands between the West Bank and Israel is WEST BANK; Those persons born before May, 1948 in the area known as the West Bank may have PALESTINE listed as an alternate entry. Those born in 1948 or later may have their city of birth as an alternate entry. Persons born in the West Bank in 1948 or later may not have Palestine transcribed as an alternate entry.
d. Birth in the Gaza Strip: The birthplace for people born in the Gaza Strip, is GAZA STRIP. PALESTINE is the alternate acceptable entry provided the applicant was born before 1948.
e. Birthplace in Israel: Write ISRAEL as the place of birth in the passport if and only if the applicant was born in Israel itself (this does not include the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, Jerusalem, the West Bank or the No Mans Lands between the West Bank and Israel). Do not enter ISRAEL in U.S. passports as the place of birth for applicants born in the occupied territories.
Page 12

f. Birthplace in Jerusalem: For a person born in Jerusalem, write JERUSALEM as the place of birth in the passport. Do not write Israel, Jordan or West Bank for a person born within the current municipal borders of Jerusalem. For applicants born before May 14, 1948 in a place that was within the municipal borders of Jerusalem, enter JERUSALEM as their place of birth. For persons born before May 14, 1948 in a location that was outside Jerusalem’s municipal limits and later was annexed by
the city, enter either PALESTINE or the name of the location (area/city) as it was known prior to annexation. For persons born after May 14, 1948 in a location that was outside Jerusalem’s municipal limits and later was annexed by the city, it is acceptable to enter the name of the location (area/city) as it was known prior to annexation.
g. Birthplace in Area Formerly Known as Palestine: An applicant born in the area formerly known as Palestine (which includes the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, Jerusalem or the West Bank) may object to showing the birthplace. In such cases, explain the Department of State (CA)’s general policy of showing the birthplace as the country having present sovereignty. The Senior Passport Specialist, Supervisory Passport Specialist or Adjudication Manager at a domestic passport agency or center or supervisory consular officer or regional consular officer at a U.S. embassy or consulate may make an exception to show PALESTINE as the birthplace if the applicant was born before 1948. If the applicant was born in 1948 or later, the city or town of birth may be listed if the applicant objects to showing the country having present sovereignty.
h. For a person born before May 14, 1948 in a place that was outside Jerusalem's municipal limits and later was annexed by the city, either PALESTINE or the name of the location (area or city) as it was known before annexation may be used as an alternate entry. For a person born after May 14, 1948 in a place that was outside Jerusalem's municipal limits and later was annexed by the city, the alternate entry is the name of the location (area or city) as it was known before annexation.
i. If the applicant lists as place of birth on a passport application a jurisdiction other than that provided in this 7 FAM 1360 Appendix D, the passport authorizing officer should annotate the passport application with the correct place of birth code reflected in this guidance. If the passport applicant objects to the listing of the current area of sovereignty as defined in this guidance, the applicant may elect to list the area or city name as listed in this section. However, Passport authorizing officers will advise applicants that foreign officials who examine the passport and are unfamiliar with (or object to) the area name may question its appearance in the passport and possibly deny entry to the bearer. (See 7 FAM 1380
Appendix D.)
Page 13

Birthplace Alternate Entry
PALESTINE (if born before 1948);
City or Town of birth regardless of date of
City or town of birth
PALESTINE (if born before 1948);
City or Town of birth regardless of date of
Jerusalem JERUSALEM “PALESTINE” (if born before 1948 in an area
which was later annexed by Jerusalem);
City or area of birth as it was known prior to
annexation regardless of date of birth.
PALESTINE (if born before 1948);
City or Town of birth regardless of date of birth


So, if my child's passport reads just "Jerusalem" as his/her birthplace, could it be that he/she/ was born in Jerusalem, New Zealand? Or Jerusalem, Georgia, United States of America? Or in Michigan? Or Maryland? Or either Ohio, Alabama, North Carolina or maybe Arkansas? And what about Jerusalem, UK?

Which Jerusalem then if no country is added?


United States Position on Jerusalem
(February 7, 1963)

This is a memorandum of conversation between William Crawford Jr. and Mr. Shaul Bar-Haim from the Israeli Embassy meeting and discussing the U.S. position on the status of Jerusalem.
Mr. Shaul Bar-Haim, Counselor, Israel Embassy
NE--William R. Crawford, Jr.
UNP--Stephen J. Campbell

Mr. Crawford recalled a conversation between Assistant Secretary Talbot and Ambassador Harman on July 17, 1962,/2/ in which Mr. Talbot had said we would no longer take the initiative in presenting our views on the status of Jerusalem to governments contemplating the initial establishment of a diplomatic mission in Israel. In describing the limits of this concession, Mr. Talbot said we would not acquiesce in Israel insistence on issuance of visas or consular exequaturs that would inhibit the freedom of movement of U.S. Consular Officers within the corpus separatum, or in other Israel moves which we would view as eroding our stand in principle on the status of Jerusalem.

Mr. Crawford further recalled that the Israel Embassy had subsequently taken strong exception to our reference to the corpus separatum, in conversations between Mr. Strong and Minister Gazit on July 20 and 30, respectively. These exchanges led the Israel Embassy, in a conversation between Mr. Bar-Haim and Mr. Crawford on August 6, 1962 to seek our approval of its own recapitulated formulation of the U.S. position. We reserved our reply, saying we would like to refer the Israel formulation to officers in the Department with long experience on this problem.

Mr. Crawford said this study has now been completed, and our comments on the Israeli formulation are evidenced in the following revision of it:

1. The Government of Israel may take as its guidance in interpreting the United States position on Jerusalem the U.S. Aide-Mémoire of July 9, 1952, and Secretary Dulles' speeches of June 1, 1953, and August 26, 1955, of which Israel is fully informed.

2. In the United Nations resolution of partition of Palestine, Resolution 181(II) and in the Swedish-Dutch draft resolution subsequently considered by the General Assembly, various solutions to protect the interests of the U.N. in Jerusalem were laid down, but in both Resolution 181 and Swedish-Dutch draft, the geographic area of Jerusalem was the same; i.e., as defined in Resolution 181. The attitude of the Department is that, while the United States Government is of an open mind as to the type of arrangements which might be made for the area to satisfy the international community's interest in it, the geographic boundaries of this area are as set forth in Resolution 181. The U.S. believes that whatever arrangement is made should have the concurrence of Israel and Jordan, and the necessary majority of the Members of the United Nations. (Mr. Talbot's use of the term corpus separatum on July 17 was in reference only to this geographic definition.)

3. This basic U.S. view concerning the geographic definition of the area describes also the area of jurisdiction of the United States Consulate General in Jerusalem.

Mr. Crawford stressed that the basic U.S. position is as stated in Paragraph 1. Paragraph 2 should be regarded as "informal comment and current amplification". As regards Paragraph 3, we have not dissented from the Israeli formulation provided Israel recognizes that the term corpus separatum does in fact describe the area of jurisdiction of the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem. As footnote to Paragraph 3, we would point out that the Consulate General's area of jurisdiction includes areas in Jordan which are over and above the area defined by Resolution 181.

Mr. Crawford said Israel would note that the foregoing involved no change in the long-standing U.S. position on Jerusalem. It is somewhat our feeling that Israel made a mountain out of a molehill in contesting Mr. Talbot's use of the term corpus separatum. We saw no advantage in reopening discussion of the U.S. position, but felt we should not avoid comment when the Israel Embassy sought to formulate our position for us.

Mr. Bar-Haim said he hopes this U.S. commentary will put an end to the exchange.

Mr. Bar-Haim said he wished to raise a question earlier discussed by Mr. Gazit with Mr. Strong: the use of the term "Jerusalem, Palestine" in the passports of U.S. officials in Jerusalem. Israel wishes the U.S. would drop this practice. The use of the term "Palestine" is historical fiction; it encourages the Palestine entity concept; its "revived usage enrages" individual Israelis; the Jordanians, also, would be happier if it were dropped; this is a trivial irritant; the U.S. position on Jerusalem would in no way be eroded by ceasing to use this term.

Mr. Crawford replied that, insofar as he could recall, Mr. Strong had implied to Mr. Gazit that pushing this matter will serve little practical purpose. If Israel, nevertheless, wishes to press this officially, we will look into it. By way of preliminary, informal comment:

1. The present practice has caused no problem in the past fourteen years.

2. It is not a "revival".

3. It is difficult to see how it "enrages" Israel opinion.

4. The practice is consistent with the fact that, in a de jure sense, Jerusalem was part of Palestine and has not since become part of any other sovereignty.

5. We would not see this as simply a question of dropping the phrase "Jerusalem, Palestine" from the passports of those few officers we have in Jerusalem. What about related questions such as quota nationality, in regard to which U.S. legislation and regulation continue to employ the term Palestine?

6. Israel has been informed that we do not approve actions which might be regarded as watering down our stand in principle regarding Jerusalem. Israel has termed this "trivial", but we would necessarily have to judge it against the background of other actions of the past year, such as Israel's elimination of the Foreign Liaison Office in Tel Aviv and its request that we cease taking the initiative in representations to other states regarding the location of their missions in Israel.

7. We question whether the Jordanians would be happier if we drop the term. They fear the ridicule of other Arab states.

Mr. Bar-Haim said he appreciates Mr. Crawford's informal comment but hopes this matter can be looked at by the Department

Source: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963: Near East, 1962-1963, V. XVIII. DC: GPO, 2000.

and this:

Of the 184 nations with which America has diplomatic relations, Israel is the only one whose capital is not recognized by the U.S. government. The U.S. embassy, like most others, is in Tel Aviv, 40 miles from Jerusalem. The United States does maintain a consulate in East Jerusalem, however, that deals with Palestinians in the territories and works independently of the embassy, reporting directly to Washington. Today, then, we have the anomaly that American diplomats refuse to meet with Israelis in their capital because Jerusalem's status is negotiable, but make their contacts with Palestinians in the city.

In 1990, Congress passed a resolution declaring that "Jerusalem is and should remain the capital of the State of Israel" and "must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected." During the 1992 Presidential campaign, Bill Clinton said: "I recognize Jerusalem as an undivided city, the eternal capital of Israel, and I believe in the principle of moving our embassy to Jerusalem." He never reiterated this view as President; consequently, official U.S. policy remained that the status of Jerusalem is a matter for negotiations.

In an effort to change this policy, Congress overwhelmingly passed The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. This landmark bill declared that, as a statement of official U.S. policy, Jerusalem should be recognized as the undivided, eternal capital of Israel and required that the U.S. embassy in Israel be established in Jerusalem no later than May 1999. The law also included a waiver that allowed the President to essentially ignore the legislation if he deemed doing so to be in the best interest of the United States. President Clinton exercised that option.


Michael Cohen said...

Great research! Now we have to get Congress to do something about it. Its a worthy fight.

YMedad said...

That's me, research. Within a few days I'll have the opinion of a major international lawyer who specializes in citizenship cases.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely unacceptable. Our synagogues, supporters on US soil must show support for Israel's capitol, and force America to get off the fence and stop talking out both sides of its' mouth. To support Israel's right to exist, flourish is to recognize her capitol, and recognize that through nothing more than defending herself Israel acquired additional land, and rightfully has the right to inhabit it.
My personal feelings are that through no other intent than to see the destruction of the state of Israel does all other Islasmic countries support a Palestian state - Land to be inhabited by Muslims- so long as it prevents Israel from inhabiting them.
If the US, UK are truly allies of Israel, come off the fence!

Unknown said...

This was very interesting and informative. My son, born at home, now has an American passport that lists his birthplace as Efrat. No country. Not even Planet Earth. In the eyes of the American government, it would appear that my son is stateless.

While it would be nice to see the American government change its attitude on this, I think it's unlikely. No president will do anything he thinks might jeopardize his quest for that Holy Grail, a Nobel Peace Prize.