Last updated on: 5/21/2008 3:02:00 PM PST

When and How Did Jerusalem Become the Capital of Israel?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Avi Shlaim, PhD, Professor of International Relations at St. Antony's College, Oxford, in the 2001 book The Iron Wall, wrote:

"By accepting the [1947] U.N. partition resolution, the Jewish Agency had accepted the provision for placing Jerusalem under an international regime. Nevertheless, the newborn Jewish state desperately wanted Jerusalem to be its capital. At the end of 1948 Jerusalem was effectively partitioned along the cease-fire line between Israel and Jordan. Toward the end of 1949 the threat of internationalization loomed ever more ominously on the horizon...

While Israel's diplomats were conducting a vigorous campaign against internationalization, the cabinet waged a vigorous internal debate. The prime minister wanted to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move as many government offices as possible there; The foreign minister [Sharett] urged caution. On 5 December 1949 the prime minister [Ben-Gurion] read a statement in the Knesset designed to make it absolutely clear that Israel would never accept foreign rule over Jerusalem... The statement, however failed to deter the supporters of internationalization. On 9 December the U.N. General Assembly adopted by a large majority a resolution [303] that called for treating Jerusalem as a separate entity and placing it under U.N. rule.

The U.N. decision rekindled the debate inside the Israeli cabinet. The prime minister reacted with Churchillian defiance, in deeds as well as words. He proposed a vehement denunciation of the U.N. resolution as well as immediate practical measures to establish facts on the ground and to assert Israel's sovereignty...After a stormy debate the cabinet approved the text of the declaration submitted by the prime minister with only minor amendments...On 13 December, from the podium of the Knesset, Ben-Gurion announced the decision to move the Knesset and the government offices from Tel Aviv to [West] Jerusalem. No time was wasted between the announcement of this decision and its implementation."

2001 - Avi Shlaim, PhD 

Ian J. Bickerton, PhD, Professor of Middle Eastern History at the University of New South Wales, and Carla L. Klausner, PhD, Professor of the Modern Middle East Medieval Europe and Judaic Studies at the University of MIssouri-Kansas City, in their 2002 book titled A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, wrote:

"In December, 1948, UN General Assembly Resolution 194 established the Palestine Conciliation Commission (PCC). The Commission's task was to work toward a peace settlement between Israel and the Arab states, to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement, and economic and social well-being of the Palestinian refugees, and to determine the status of Jerusalem. The PCC, however, failed to achieve any of its goals, and in fact these issues remained points of contention for the next fifity or so years. Both Israel and the Arabs rejected the UN possition that Jerusalem should become an international city. The Jordanians and the Israelis came to a working arragement by dividing the city between them, essentially disregarding the views of other nations. Israel later proclaimed Jerusalem its capital and gradually transferred government departments to the city."

2002 - Carla L. Klausner, PhD 
Ian J. Bickerton, PhD