- According to the 1993 Oslo Agreements, Jerusalem is one of the issues to be discussed in future permanent status negotiations. The Swedish move to have the European foreign ministers back a declaration recognizing eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state clearly pre-judges the outcome of those talks.
- When the EU foreign ministers met on December 8, they issued a statement that only partly softened the Swedish draft. It dropped the reference to the Palestinian state being comprised of "the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital," but still retained a proposal that envisions "Jerusalem as the future capital of two states."
- The EU statement insisted that the EU "will not recognize any changes in the pre-1967 borders" without the agreement of the parties. Yet by enshrining the 1967 lines as a previous political border, the EU was ignoring that these were only armistice lines and not a recognized international boundary. In fact, it was UN Security Council Resolution 242 which acknowledged that the pre-1967 lines might change.
- By waving the carrot of a statement of support for eastern Jerusalem to be part of a Palestinian state, the Swedes are causing Mahmoud Abbas' advisors to believe that if they avoid bilateral negotiations with Israel, they can create the political environment for third party intervention to their advantage.
- What is needed is an ongoing Israeli diplomatic effort for Jerusalem, underlining Israel's legal rights and its role as the protector of the holy sites. Unfortunately, European states, which once sought to protect the holy sites of Christianity in Jerusalem, today appear to be oblivious to what would happen to their churches were the Old City of Jerusalem to be given to a Palestinian regime under the influence of Hamas.
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*Dr. Dore Gold, Israel's ambassador to the UN in 1997-99, is President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.