I'm not interested in the official Israeli view, which is Jerusalem.

Do other countries have an official stance on which city they recognize as Israel's capital?

As a side question, does the Palestinian Authority recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital?

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    I think the important part about Jerusalem is not whether it's a capital, but whether is is (fully) part of Israel's territory. Recognizing it as capital of course implies you recognize it's part of Israel's territory, and that most countries want to avoid. Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 19:28

4 Answers 4


It's not at all clear that countries even have official recognition of other countries' designated capitals; all that really happens is that a place for the embassy is chosen. One of the first tools of diplomacy is not saying what you don't have to (the second being not saying much of what you do have to) so an announcement that "we're moving our embassy from DC to Pittsburgh" probably ends there, with no further mention of why. A lot of popular media will call this something like "de facto" recognition of the capital; more careful outlets will say things like "Israel controversially designates Jerusalem as its capital but most countries have their embassies in Tel Aviv".

So on Wikipedia's List of diplomatic missions in Israel, only the US and Guatemala have embassies in Jerusalem. All the other 86 are listed in the greater Tel Aviv area. Paraguay announced they were moving and then backtracked. Here in Canada the current-opposition Conservatives have occasionally floated the idea of moving Canada's embassy, but they were in power for ages and didn't do it then.

Basically, it's a big political hot potato.

Of a number of secondary missions in Jerusalem, some of them are "accredited" for service only to the Jerusalem area, and these countries' Tel Aviv embassies seem not to serve that area. Many countries have consulates and trade missions that serve only a designated region of the host nation, or conversely include service to a neighbouring country, so it's not a definite statement that "we don't think this area is part of Israel" ... but it's not not saying that.

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    Note that outside of Israel, there are plenty of embassies that aren't in the capital. For instance, Amsterdam in the Netherlands has only a few embassies; most are in The Hague. Doesn't mean that other countries dispute the status of Amsterdam. It's just more practical to have an embassy in The Hague. So countries can use a similar "practical" argument for Tel Aviv, too. "We already have an embassy in Tel Aviv and there's just no pressing reason to move."
    – MSalters
    Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 10:23
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    @MSalters But The Hague is the seat of government. The Netherlands is a distinct oddball on this count. Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 10:42
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    @chrylis-onstrike- There are nine embassies in NYC for practical reasons (small countries that joined their UN mission with their US embassy), I’m sure they’re not disputing that D.C. is the capital.
    – Ramon Snir
    Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 11:19
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    @MSalters The Dutch government calls Amsterdam the capital for... historical reason, I guess (?), and Amsterdam is the one that gets marked with a 'capital' symbol on world maps, but all branches of the Dutch government, nearly all foreign missions to the Netherlands, and the Dutch royal family are all headquartered in the Hague. It's the capital of the Netherlands in every meaningful sense of the word.
    – Drubbels
    Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 13:01
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    more careful outlets will say things like "Israel controverisally designates Jerusalem as its capital but most countries have their embassies in Tel Aviv". - I think careful news outlets would simply report what happened and not attempt to analyze controversy or provide random background trivia on something potentially controversial. But too many outlets think they exist to provide general information, context, and "framing" instead of just news. Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 9:25

Yes, most certainly.

The UN (though, not a country, a good starting example) officially doesn't recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital:

The United Nations General Assembly does not recognize Israel's proclamation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which is, for example, reflected in the wording of General Assembly Resolution 63/30 of 2009 which states that "any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to cease all such illegal and unilateral measures."[55]

And China, for example, does not (same source):

China recognizes East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.[60]

On the other hand, some countries do recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The United States under President Trump controversially did this as recently as the end of 2017:

The warnings come as President Trump considers moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, effectively recognizing the ancient city as Israel's capital despite Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem. The move could come as early as Wednesday, according to media reports.

So, it varies widely by country.

As for a comprehensive list of which countries have which stand, I couldn't find one. But know that a large number of countries don't, as shown by these 128 countries that voted against the United States' decision to do so.

As for the Palestine Authority, they recognize Jerusalem as their capital, not Israel's, hence why there is a lot of conflict:

Earlier this year, the Palestine Liberation Organisation's (PLO) Central Council, the second-highest Palestinian decision-making body, has recommended revoking recognition of Israel until the latter recognises the State of Palestine in its 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Something I forgot to address earlier: if countries don't recognize Jerusalem as the capital, I believe your title asks what city would they be recognizing?

This is very unclear from everything I've seen, but it appears to be Tel Aviv (emphasis mine):

On December 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump announced the United States recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel2 and ordered the planning of the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.2

This suggests to me that the other city would be Tel Aviv.

  • 1
    It's unclear what "Yes, most certainly." refers to in the first line of this answer. I guess it's referring to the middle question in the q body "Do other countries have an official stance on which city they recognize as Israel's capital?" Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 16:28
  • @V2blast I didn't know that was an international spelling. Thus, I have removed the [sic]. As for the other portions of my wording you edited, I didn't see how it made anything more clear, so I have rolled it back.
    – user29681
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 19:26
  • @Chipster: Personally, I don't see how my edits didn't make anything more clear. The inclusion of the superscripted footnotes (but not any of the content of those citations) just makes the quotes harder to read - and, as you can see if you look at the current version of your post, markdown also causes some of that quoted footnote formatting (e.g. [2][4]) to be incorrectly interpreted as link formatting (e.g. in your last quote, there are two links labeled "2" that point to two different articles - and they're not the sources referenced in the Wikipedia article under those footnotes).
    – V2Blast
    Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 1:00
  • Besides that, I clarified some of the phrasing (e.g. when you say "China, for example, does not", the thing it doesn't do is unclear because it's mentioned over a paragraph earlier, before the previous quote). I removed the redundant "why" after "hence" (which already means "for this reason"). I also trimmed the lead-in to your final quote, which included an unnecessary edit note of "something I forgot to address earlier" (your answer should read as if it were always the best version of itself; anyone interested in older revisions can just view the revision history) and was a bit wordy.
    – V2Blast
    Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 1:07

Most countries recognise the 1967 borders set by the UN.


The resolution doesn't specify a capital and I therefore the closest you will find is where the embassies lie. This is also why the movement of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018 was controversial.

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    @dEmigOd Why do you come to that conclusion? Almost all embassies are in Tel Aviv, which is not within the municipal borders of Jerusalem.
    – jkej
    Commented Apr 23, 2020 at 17:06
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    – dEmigOd
    Commented Apr 23, 2020 at 18:35
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    This answer is technically wrong, since the UN hasn't explicitly recognized West Jerusalem as Israeli (nor any other land beyond the 1948 partition boundaries afaik).
    – Colin
    Commented Apr 23, 2020 at 20:11
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    Do “most countries” recognise Israel, let alone a specific set of borders?
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Apr 23, 2020 at 20:44
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    @AndrewGrimm yes, though most Muslim countries do not.
    – Colin
    Commented Apr 23, 2020 at 21:30

Russia and Australia view Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Most countries have no official position on this topic.

The embassies of Guatemala and the US are in Jerusalem.

The location of embassies is not a definitive statement on considering some city the capital. The US embassy of Bolivia is in La Paz, not the capital Sucre. (La Paz is considered the 'de facto capital, but that is begging the question.) Many countries hold a "non-resident" embassy to smaller countries in a third country, and that is of course not a statement on the capital of that smaller country.

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    Russia and Australia view "West Jerusalem" as Israel's capital.
    – Colin
    Commented Apr 23, 2020 at 20:38
  • Tel Aviv is in not a seat of government as La Paz is, so I'm not sure the Bolivian case is instructive here.
    – Colin
    Commented Apr 23, 2020 at 20:45
  • Good point @Colin that's probably the reason the 2019 Eurovision song contest was hosted in West Jerusalem
    – Rsf
    Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 7:49
  • @Rsf The ESC has little correlation to the status of being considered a capital. The 2011 ESC was in Düsseldorf, not Berlin (and 1983 in Munich, not Bonn). Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 19:41
  • @Colin: West Jerusalem is "The western portion of Jerusalem" not a city separate from Jerusalem. It specifically refers to the portions of Jerusalem west of the green line.
    – dotancohen
    Commented Aug 16, 2020 at 16:01

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