Picking up on a thread of conversation in the comments section from Matt’s last post, I want to briefly address the issue of Israel’s capital. Matt correctly noted that it is Tel Aviv. This is not under much debate. Israel, of course, still claims that its capital is Jerusalem. But virtually no other country recognizes this claim. As far as I am aware, every single embassy is located in Tel Aviv — not in Jerusalem. One commenter, objecting to Matt’s reference to Tel Aviv, argues that under international law, each sovereign country has the right to “designate its own capital.” Okay, sure. But a country’s sovereignty is determined by international recognition and Israel’s sovereignty — according to, well, basically everyone — is not recognized to include exclusive control over Jerusalem. Instead, the territory is contested, considered corpus separatum. So, in other words, a country has the power under international law to name its capital city within its legally recognized borders. But if Jerusalem is not considered to be Israel’s exclusive sovereign territory, as it almost universally is not, then it can’t claim legitimacy under international law in attempting to establish its capital there.
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