Prime Minister Trudeau announced that Canada will not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will not move Canada’s embassy from Tel Aviv to the Jewish State’s capital. Trudeau’s statement was made a few days after President Trump, in an act of political and moral courage, delivered on an election promise to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided, eternal capital of the Jewish people.
“We will not be moving Canada’s embassy to Jerusalem,” Trudeau said during his trip to China, adding: “Canada has a long-standing policy on the Mideast. We need to work towards a two-state solution through direct negotiations. That is why we will continue to engage constructively and substantively in the region and with our partners and friends around the world.”
Despite the fact that Jerusalem has been an official capital of Israel since the modern Jewish State was founded in 1948, almost all nations have established their embassies in Tel Aviv as part of their refusal to recognize Israel’s annexation of the eastern section of Jerusalem and the reunification of the city following its victory in the 1967 war. From 1948 until 1967, Jordan illegally occupied Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter, including the Western Wall and Temple Mount – the holiest site in Judaism. It was the only time in history that Jerusalem was divided.
Palestinians claim the eastern part of Jerusalem as their capital in spite of having no legal or historical claims to the City.
Jews have been living in Jerusalem continuously for three millennia and at no point in time, other than the 19 years of illegal Jordanian occupation during which Jews were ethnically cleansed from the Old City and denied access to the Western Wall and Temple Mount, was Jerusalem a capital of any Arab entity. While all of Jerusalem is holy to Jews, Muslims only revere one site – the al Aqsa Mosque – located atop the Temple Mount where the First and Second Jewish Temples once stood. Additionally, at no point during the Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem, did the Palestinians demand it as their capital.
Canada has previously toyed with the idea of moving its embassy to Jerusalem, when former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party Joe Clark said that, if elected, he would move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “Next year in Jerusalem is a Jewish prayer which we intend to make a Canadian reality”, Clark told the Canada-Israel Committee in 1979. Clark backtracked on his promise three weeks after being elected as Prime Minister “until the status of Jerusalem is clarified within a comprehensive agreement between Israel and her Arab neighbours.”
Other than Clark, the only Canadian politician who promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem was the former contender for the leadership of the Conservative Party Dr. Kellie Leitch who, during the 2016 election campaign, reaffirmed the Conservative Party’s support for Israel, promised to protect and strengthen the ties between Canada and Israel and, if elected as the Prime Minister, promised to move the Canadian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.