WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE? EU DECLARES THAT JERUSALEM SHOULD BE DIVIDED
EU says Jerusalem ‘future capital of two states’
BRUSSELS (AFP) â€“ European Union foreign ministers agreed on Tuesday that Jerusalem should be the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state, as part of a negotiated settlement, EU diplomats said.
The foreign ministers, meeting for a second day of talks in Brussels, adopted a text agreeing that Jerusalem should provide “the future capital of the two states,” one diplomat said.
The move is bound to anger Israel which has already warned Europe against seeking to foist a solution to the Middle East problem on the parties involved.
However an earlier proposal by the Swedish EU presidency, to explicitly support the idea of east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, was dropped by the foreign ministers.
An Israeli diplomat said afterwards that it would be “an improvement” if east Jerusalem were not mentioned in the text.
But there was enough left in the agreed document to raise Israeli hackles.
It talks of a “contiguous” as well as viable Palestinian state, something which would require the inclusion of part of Jerusalem.
It also states that the European Union “has never recognised the annexation of East Jerusalem.”
The agreed EU statement insists that “the European Union will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders” thereby opposing Israel’s right to occupy the area.
The issue had been subject to intense discussion among the European ministers, with some nations wanting to keep the mention of east Jerusalem in the text and others reluctant to be seen as prejudging the result of any eventual Middle East peace deal.
Luxembourg’s foreign minister Jean Asselborn was one of the ministers most supportive of the original Swedish proposal.
East Jerusalem is “not part of Israel,” he said.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat wrote an open letter to new EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton warning of the possible consequences of splitting up the city which Israelis view as the indivisible and eternal capital of the Jewish state.
“Throughout the history of the world, there is not one important city that was divided that functioned successfully. They either reunited or ceased to function properly. The lesson is too clear. Jerusalem must stay united,” he argued.
The EU initiative also met with some opposition in the United States.
EU members should join “responsible nations” in opposing any plan to recognise Arab east Jerusalem as capital of a future Palestinian state, a key US lawmaker said.
“Any move to divide Jerusalem would undermine our ally Israel, deal a blow to religious freedom, and undercut the cause of peace,” said Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center also criticized the EU draft resolution.
“Once again the EU is rushing with a laundry list of what’s expected from Israel, but when will the European Union finally demand action from the Palestinians?,” asked Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Jewish human rights group.
Scores of Palestinians protested in front of the French and Swedish consulates in Jerusalem on Monday to support the EU presidency’s initiative on east Jerusalem.
A confidential report by EU heads of mission in Jerusalem last week accused Israel of actively pursuing the annexation of the city’s east and undermining hopes for peace with Palestinians.
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