Obama traveled to Israel to attend funeral of the country’s late President Shimon Peres, who died Wednesday at the age of 93.
The service was held at Mount Herzl, Israel's national cemetery, located on the west side of Jerusalem.
To most, and presumably to some in the White House, Jerusalem’s location might seem trivial, but officials rushed to correct themselves, crossing Israel’s name out of the statement.
US policy on Jerusalem’s status has been unchanged for decades now. In 1948, the US, via President Harry Truman formally recognized Israel as a country, but did not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the holy city of Jerusalem.
Since then, Washington has never officially recognized Jerusalem, disputed by both Palestine and Israel, as belonging to either of the states.
The US has its embassy in Tel Aviv while maintaining its general consulate in Jerusalem, which also serves the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as an independent mission.
In 1995, Congress tried to change that, but its law would never make it past presidents, who used their waiver authority to prevent relocating the embassy. In 2015, the Supreme Court affirmed presidential supremacy in the matter.
It’s noteworthy, then, that in its press release, the US Consulate in fact placed Mount Herzl in “Jerusalem, Israel.”
In the meantime, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump promised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that if he is elected to the White House, he would recognize Jerusalem as "the undivided capital of the State of Israel.”