World Bulletin / News Desk
Democrats have hurriedly restored language in their party platform declaring Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel after Republicans accused them of showing weak support for the country.
Chaos ruled on the floor of the Democratic National Convention briefly as delegates and convention leaders were forced to call a voice vote three times to reinstate the language in an embarrassing turnaround.
The party also restored wording mentioning God. Democrats changed the platform language to say government should help people "make the most of their God-given potential."
But the most controversial change was about Israel. Campaign officials said it was ordered by Obama himself to reflect his own personal views.
"The news coverage made the president aware of the issue today," one campaign official said. "He directed his staff to deal with it immediately. The final language is consistent with the president's own positions."
Obama was also opposed to the God language being removed, the official said.
Presidents from both parties over the years have declared their support for making Jerusalem the capital of Israel, but have never taken the step to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv out of a belief that the future of Jerusalem should be decided through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
Still, declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel is a powerful statement of support for the most important U.S. ally in the Middle East and to do otherwise risks hurting a president's support from the powerful Jewish-American community.
"No votes are louder"
Obama's opponent in the Nov. 6 election, Republican Mitt Romney, is eager to drive a wedge between Obama and Jewish voters.
He traveled to Israel in July and received a warm welcome from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has had a cool relationship with Obama since the president proposed returning Israel to its pre-1967 borders.
Hoping to make an issue out of the platform language flap, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Obama needs to state "in unequivocal terms whether or not he believes Jerusalem is Israel's capital."
"Mitt Romney has consistently stated his belief that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel," she said.
Four years ago, during the last presidential campaign, the Democratic Party's platform had said "Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel."
But this year that language was dropped to try to demonstrate a more even-handed position in the long-running Arab-Israeli dispute.
To reinstate the language, Democratic convention chair Antonio Villaraigosa, the Los Angeles mayor, had to call for a voice vote three times and looked uncertain as to how to proceed when the "no" votes seemed to be louder than the "yes" ones.
Eventually, he declared the measure had been approved by a two-thirds vote, prompting some shaking of heads among those in the crowd who had supported leaving the Jerusalem language out.
Obama stated his support for Jerusalem being the country's capital during a speech to AIPAC before he was president, a campaign official noted.
The status of Jerusalem is fiercely contested between the Palestinians and Israel, which occupied eastern Jerusalem during the 1967 war, and is among the thorny "final status" issues to be determined in any peace negotiations.
Most countries, including the United States, have not recognized Israel's declaration of Jerusalem as its capital and keep their embassies in Tel Aviv.
Republican President George W. Bush promised in a speech to AIPAC in 2000 that he would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as soon as he took office, but he never did.
Obama too has continued to sign a presidential waivers putting off the move, which would go against the international community's overwhelming refusal to recognize Israel's annexation of Arab East Jerusalem occupied in the 1967 war.
Kerry said U.S. told Turkey arms drop to Syrian Kurds 'momentary' response to crisis in Kobani
Ashton's five-year term as EU foreign policy chief ends at the end of this month, and she had said she would stay on as nuclear negotiator until Nov. 24
Kerry will urge Widodo to maintain the active role in regional foreign policy pursued by the previous Indonesian administration, amid concern that the new president may be more inward-looking
The power station - which feeds a densely populated area with few other power stations - produces 1,360 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough power for 1 million households
The departures are the first cabinet resignations for Abe, who took office in December 2012 for a rare second term, promising to revive Japan's stalled economy and strengthen its security stance
"Nigeria is now free of Ebola," WHO representative Rui Gama Vaz told a news conference in the capital Abuja.
The rebels grabbed the crossing along the kingdom’s southern border earlier this week as they expanded their control in impoverished Yemen
74.3 percent are against the establishment of a Palestinian on the 1967 borders. That number increases if the creation of a Palestinian state would require Israel's withdrawal from the Jordan Valley and if it meant Jerusalem would be divided
Pyongyang admitted in 2002 to kidnapping 13 Japanese citizens and five abductees and their families later returned to Japan
Israel is suffering from an epidemic of violence that must be treated, the country’s President Reuven Rivlin said
Two retired army officers filed a complaint against veteran social campaigner Sulak Sivaraksa over remarks about King Naresuan the Great, a national hero who died in 1605.
Luqman has been fiercely criticizing judiciary for not taking action against rival Geo News, which he accuses of treason
Houthis have been controlling the Yemeni capital Sanaa since September 21, even as they signed an agreement with the Yemeni President
Ankara fails to explain release of suspect wanted in connection with attempted shooting of Danish right-wing writer and critic of Islam, says Minister of Justice
Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that the two buildings had been owned by two Palestinian families who sold them to a broker. The latter, the NGO said, sold the two house to a Jewish settlement association
Over 7,000 Palestinians are currently languishing in prisons throughout Israel, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs.