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Congress has voted to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. On October 24, 1995 - the day of the Conference on Jerusalem here at the Columbus School of Law of The Catholic University of America - Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. The President took no action on the Act, allowing it to enter into force on November 8, 1995. The Act states that a United States Embassy to Israel should be established in Jerusalem by May 31, 1999, and it provides for a fifty percent cut in the State Department's building budget if the Embassy is not opened by that time. The Act permits the President to waive the budget cut for successive six-month periods if the President determines it is necessary to protect the "national security interests of the United States."

In these pages and elsewhere, several contributors to this symposium have addressed the policy questions raised by the Act. I will focus on the Act's interpretation.



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