Each country gets to pick its own capital. Israel is a sovereign country whose capital is Jerusalem. But, only in the case of Israel does the world not recognize it’s capital because of the influence and threats of the Arab/Muslim regimes. There are 22 Arab countries and some 49 countries with a Muslim majority, so quite a large bloc that uses its influence in all international forums to work against normalization of Israel, even 64 years after Israel’s independence was recognized by the UN. Jerusalem has in fact had a Jewish majority since 1896.
Even though the US was one of the first countries to recognize Israel, it still refuses to accept Jerusalem as its capital. A bill was passed by the Houses of Congress in 1995, The Jerusalem Embassy Act, to do just that, have the USA recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. But President Clinton at the time asked for and got a loophole that allowed him to declare every six months that it would be against US interests to do so. In other words, the reaction from the Arab/Muslim world would be so negative, that it would not be worth the political downside.
When he was in Jerusalem a few days ago, Republican contender Mitt Romney said that if he were elected President he would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and he was widely criticized for saying this, especially by the Palestinians. This would be great for Israel, but would he in fact do it. I believe that both Pres. Clinton and George W. Bush also said they would sign this bill into law, but both reneged on their promise. Each time they argued that now would not be a good time because it would disrupt the peace process. But, there is really no peace process, and this US non-recognition is tantamount to giving the Arabs automatic veto power over US policy, against the opinions of the US people and against the intention of the Congress. I liken it to the situation that existed before the US recognized Communist China, namely that a cabal of anti-Communist hardliners prevented the true expression of American foreign policy. It took Pres. Nixon in 1972 to overcome this reactionary policy that defied reality. Similarly, the reality is that Jerusalem is and will remain Israel’s capital and ignoring this fact defies reality.
It is argued that because East Jerusalem, the part of the city that was under Jordanian control from 1948-1967 after Israel’s War of Independence until the Six-day war, was not part of Israel during that period, therefore Israel cannot have sovereignty over it. But, neither was Jordan’s sovereignty recognized by the international community and East Jerusalem only represents a minor proportion (ca. 15%) of all of Jerusalem, so that it should not determine the whole outcome. To wait for a negotiated settlement to take place is to leave the fate of Jerusalem in the hands of the Muslim minority. Jerusalem is and remains Israel’s capital and all the rest is baloney.