The controversial question of Jerusalem from the point of view of international law

What is the basis for the concept of recognition in international law and does an act of recognizing a capital city even exist? Read our newest reflection by Veronika Bílková and learn about the way Israel claims Jerusalem, which is by the majority of the international community considered to be the capital of both states, i.e. the state of Israel and the future state of Palestine. The author also presents and critically examines the arguments of the Trump administration for relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

On December 6, 2017, the US president Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital city of the State of Israel and announced his plan to move the American embassy there. The majority of States have reacted with condemnation or unease to this decision; a minority, including the Czech Republic, have expressed their understanding or, in some cases, even support for it. The divide within the international community demonstrated itself also in the UN General Assembly. The resolution criticizing the attempts to change the status of Jerusalem unilaterally was adopted by 128 votes in favor, with 9 States voting against and 35, including the Czech Republic, abstaining. In the UN Security Council, a resolution with a very similar content got support from 1 States but could not be adopted due to the US veto. What makes the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel such a controversial issue? Is it not after all, as Trump said, just the recognition of the obvious? What led the General Assembly to express its deep regret at the US decision and label it as legally problematic? These questions will be addressed in the following International Law Reflection of the Centre for International Law of the IIR.

Full text of the reflection available here