EU Convenes Over Swedish Proposal To Divide Jerusalem
The European Union is meeting in Brussels to discuss a Swedish proposal to divide Jerusalem and make east Jerusalem the Palestinian capital.
Prior to Monday’s scheduled meeting, Israeli officials began pressuring EU foreign ministers to reject the plan.
The resolution reportedly says that “Europe calls for an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable state of Palestine, comprising the West Bank and Gaza and with east Jerusalem as its capital. If there is to be a genuine peace, a way must be found to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the capital of two states.”
The Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported that the draft resolution also adds, “Europe has never recognized Jerusalem’s annexation” and “The European Union will not recognize any changes to ‘67 borders unless agreed upon by both states.”
The proposal reportedly does not explicitly identify western Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“The Europeans should not dictate the outcome of negotiations in advance,” Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Sunday evening. “This declaration is a dangerous initiative that could hurt efforts to resume negotiations between the parties and will harden the Palestinian position.”
Ayalon added, “Importantly, this initiative contravenes the principles of the international community and the decisions of the Quartet whereby the parties reach agreement by direct talks.”
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, in a letter sent Monday to Baroness Ashton of Upholland, the EU high representative for foreign affairs, called the Swedish proposal “a serious threat not just to the future of the city of Jerusalem, but also to the future role of the entire European Union in the peace process. By attempting to dictate the outcome of negotiations now, the Swedish delegation will strip the European Union of its right to serve as an honest mediator.
“Division focuses on differences rather than the common denominator that unites people of all faiths. We must not divide the heart and soul of the Jewish people. Despite the many conquerors of Jerusalem throughout history,” Barkat wrote, “the Jewish people constantly remain the only people to claim Jerusalem as their capital for thousands of years. We must not disrupt the freedom to practice one’s religion throughout Jerusalem, which is greater today under the flag of Israel than it has been for 2,000 years and which we intend to uphold.”