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Corpus separatum is Latin for "separated body". The term referes to a city or region which is given a special legal and political status different from its environment, but which falls short of being an independent city state. A significant historical example is that of the Corpus separatum , which for several centuries determined the status of Fiumemarker/Rijekamarker within the Habsburg Empire.At present, the term is mainly used with regard to Jerusalemmarker.

Settlement patterns in same area today

1947 proposal

The 1947 UN Partition Plan used this term to refer to a proposed internationally administered zone to include Jerusalemmarker and some nearby towns such as Bethlehemmarker and Ein Karimmarker, that was, "in view of its association with three world religions" to be "accorded special and separate treatment from the rest of Palestine and should be placed under effective United Nations control".

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194, 11 December 1948 established a United Nations Conciliation Commission and reaffirmed this statement. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 303 confirmed the decision to place Jerusalem under a permanent international regime according to the provisions of General Assembly Resolution 181(II).

The plan was not implemented; instead, Israelmarker and Transjordanmarker each took control of part of the area. Two decades later Israel gained control of East Jerusalem and the entire West Bankmarker in the Six-Day War, and immediately annexed East Jerusalem to be part of Israel and of a united Jerusalem municipality, which however does not have boundaries identical with those of the proposed corpus separatum and does not include Bethlehem.

The Holy See has previously expressed support for the status of Corpus separatum. Pope Pius XII was the among the first to make such a proposal in the 1949 encyclical Redemptoris Nostri Cruciatus. This idea was later re-proposed during the papacies of John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II.

The European Union considers the current (2009) legal status of Jerusalem to be corpus separatum

Later status of Jerusalem

The Israeli Knessetmarker passed a Jerusalem Law declaring united Jerusalem to be Israel's capital in 1980, although the clause "the integrity and unity of greater Jerusalem (Yerushalayim rabati) in its boundaries after the Six-Day War shall not be violated" was dropped from the original bill. United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 condemned this and no countries today have located their embassies in Jerusalem; however, Boliviamarker and Paraguaymarker have their embassies in Mevaseret Zionmarker, a suburb 10 km west of Jerusalem.

On October 23, 1995, the United States Congress passed the advisory Jerusalem Embassy Act saying that "Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel; and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999". Since 1995, the relocation of the embassy from Tel Avivmarker has been suspended by the President semi-annually, each time stating that "[the] Administration remains committed to beginning the process of moving our embassy to Jerusalem". As a result of the Embassy Act, official U.S. documents and web sites refer to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

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