What the real ‘Jerusalem’ is to the Palestinian people
The Jerusalem-based Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot reported Thursday that the European Union will officially recognize the city as its capital, but will limit its access to European citizens and businesses, including the country’s largest banks and airlines.
The decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, made by the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, is a major step forward for the Palestinians, who have long demanded an independent state within the internationally recognized borders of Israel and the West Bank.
A move that would also make it easier for Palestinian businesses to move around the occupied West Bank could be seen as a major victory for the Palestinian cause, with Israel and its allies insisting that the move would not lead to an independent Palestinian state.
The European Union said in a statement that it will also begin negotiations on the terms of a possible “historic and permanent” peace agreement between Israel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The European Union also expressed support for the recent “Balfour Declaration” signed by U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The announcement came amid heightened tensions between Israel, the United States and European countries, which have accused the Palestinians of violating a 1967 armistice agreement by seeking to re-arm the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.
The EU statement, which did not provide a timeline for the move, did not mention the Palestinian move by name.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in December that he will never accept Israel as the “capital of the Jewish people.”
Israel considers the city of Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital.
The Jerusalem Declaration of December 16, 2016, signed by the presidents of the U.N. Security Council and the European Commission, said that “the right of return for the refugees of 1948 is an essential element of peace between the parties.”
It also called for “a comprehensive, verifiable and universally accepted peace settlement based on a just and comprehensive two-state solution based on two states living side by side in peace and security.”
The statement said the Palestinians seek a sovereign and independent Palestinian State on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its final capital.
Under the terms, the EU would recognize the new capital as the capital of the Palestinian territories.
The EU said the declaration does not take into account “the aspirations and aspirations of any other state to obtain recognition of the city, including any of its neighbours, other countries or international organizations.”
“The recognition of Jerusalem as the international capital will not affect the legal status of East Jerusalem and will not be construed as recognition of Palestinian sovereignty over East Jerusalem,” the EU statement said.
The U.K. and France, two EU members, have previously said that they would not recognize Jerusalem’s status as the Israeli capital.
France, a longtime U.J.S.-backed U.A.E. ally, announced in March that it would not formally recognize the Palestinian capital.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who is expected to take office in January, has said that the U’J.SA-led government would move forward with the new agreement.
In April, the U,A.U., the United Nations and the World Bank issued a joint statement calling on Israel to recognize the capital.