Tuesday, December 1, 2009

EU to Endorse Al-Quds as Palestine Capital

IslamOnline.net & Newspapers

The EU draft reiterates opposition to the Israeli annexation of Al-Quds.
CAIRO – The European foreign ministers will discuss and probably endorse next week a draft resolution calling for the recognition of Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) as the capital of any future Palestinian state.

"The European Union calls for the urgent resumption of negotiations that will lead, within an agreed time-table, to a two-state solution with an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable state of Palestine, compromising the west Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital," reads the draft, a copy of which was published by Haaretz on Tuesday, December 1.

The Palestinians insist that Al-Quds would be the capital of their promised state.

Israel occupied the holy city of Al-Quds in the 1967 war and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community or UN resolutions.

Since then, Israel has adopted a series of oppressive measures to force the Palestinians out of the city, home to Islam's third holiest shrine.

"The Council recalls that it has never recognized the annexation of East Jerusalem," reads the draft resolution.

"If there is to be genuine peace, a way must be found to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the capital of two states."

The EU foreign ministers, scheduled to meet in Brussels on December 7, will also demand an end to provocations in the holy city.

"The Council is deeply concerned about the situation in East Jerusalem. In view of recent incidents, it calls on all parties to refrain from provocative actions."

The Israeli government recent approved 900 extra housing units at a Jewish settlement in Al-Quds, drawing global condemnation.

In November, Jewish settlers seized a house in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Al-Quds, throwing the Palestinian family's belongings into the street.

Earlier this year, the occupation authorities issued demolition orders for more than 88 houses in Silwan neighborhood of the city.

A recent UN report has also warned that thousands of Palestinian houses in Al-Quds are facing the risk of mass demolitions by Israel.

No Change

Israel criticized the proposal, put forward by the Swedish presidency of the EU, and claimed it would harm the chances of reviving peace negotiations.

"The process being led by Sweden harms the EU's ability to take part as a significant mediator in the political process between Israel and the Palestinians," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It asked the Europeans to pressure the Palestinians to return to the negotiation table.

"Steps like the ones Sweden is taking only bring about the opposite result."

Israel is waging a diplomatic campaign to keep the EU from issuing such an endorsement.

European diplomats, however, say the European position does not represent a radical change.

"This might be a way to encourage the Palestinians to enter the negotiating process," one European official in Tel Aviv told the Christian Science Monitor.

He denied that the EU would recognize a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood.

"I don't think Europe is interested in the recognition of a Palestinian state now, ahead of negotiations. It's more saying, if and when it comes to it, we will recognized East Jerusalem as a capital of a Palestinian state."

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