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Olympics website omits Israel's capital

Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 05/07/2004 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled

In an online registry of the world’s nations, organizers of the Olympic Games in Greece have omitted listing Israel’s capital.

Instead of Jerusalem, the entry for “capital” has an asterisk that corresponds to a footnote reading: “Please visit the official United Nations website for further information regarding the capital of Israel.”

A few months ago, the website listed Jerusalem as the capital of “Palestine,” while leaving the entry for Israel’s capital blank, the Jerusalem Post reported.

That prompted a protest from Israel, resulting in a compromise in which both the Israeli and Palestinian capitals would be omitted from the register. At one point in the process, Tel Aviv was listed as the Israeli capital.

The footnoted comment provides a weblink to a United Nations fact file on Israel which says, in place of the entry for the capital, “The position of the United Nations on the question of Jerusalem is contained in General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947.”

The Israeli foreign minister said after the compromise was reached it considered the matter closed, but the Knesset member who first drew attention to the omission, disagrees.

“This is no compromise,” Arye Eldad told the Post. “It is a diplomatic humiliation.”

“No self-respecting country in the world would put up with such an arrangement,” he continued. “Palestine is not a state, and therefore – has no capital. Israel, on the other hand, is a state, and has a capital which the Greek are refusing to recognize.”

Eldad insists Israel could take a number of diplomatic steps, particularly since the “Greeks are, after all, very interested in reversing their country’s anti-Semitic reputation.”

The lawmaker said Israel should consider boycotting the games if diplomatic interventions fail

“If this is the situation, I don’t want to see Israel’s flag flying in Athens,” he told the Jerusalem paper.

An official with the Foreign Ministry not the Athens Olympic site is consistent with the vast majority of the world, including the U.S., in its unwillingness to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The official, according to the Post, insists there are more important issues to pursue with Olympics organizers, including a request to commemorate the 11 Israelis killed at the 1972 Munich Olympics. One option proposed was a moment of silence during the opening ceremony, but so far the idea has been refused.

The Olympics website also lists Israel under the category “Europe” while neighbors Jordan and Lebanon are listed under “Asia.”


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