Britain 'will back EU draft to divide Jerusalem'

By Jessica Elgot, December 7, 2009
East Jerusalem: The EU draft document proposes dividing the capital

East Jerusalem: The EU draft document proposes dividing the capital

Foreign ministers of the European Union will meet in Brussels today to discuss a Swedish proposal to name east Jerusalem as a future Palestinian capital.

Britain is expected to back the proposal, along with Ireland, Belgium, and Malta, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Italy, France, Holland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Romania, Poland and Slovenia have all come out against the strong wording used in the draft.

The proposal for the Council for Foreign Affairs recommends dividing Jerusalem, so that east Jerusalem can be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Israel is expected to put pressure on leaders not to accept the proposal by Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt.

The document states: “The goal is 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 Council calls for the reopening of Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem in accordance with the road map.”
The proposal is a radical move from the EU’s current stance, and is the first time such a document has referred to “Palestine”.

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said: "The Europeans will not dictate the results of the peace process.

The Swedish initiative is dangerous and it may hinder the efforts to resume negotiations by radicalizing the Palestinian stand.

“This initiative is also against the principles of the international community and the Quartet's decision calling on both sides to hold direct negotiations."

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said his government had been pushing for the document to be adopted by the EU, which would in turn demand action from the UN Security Council.

Mr al-Maliki said: "We will demand that it be translated to moves on the ground, via a proposal to be submitted to the UN Security Council."

Last updated: 11:23am, December 7 2009