EU to give east Jerusalem to Palestinians: report

Israel slams move to divde holy city for both nations


An irate Israel slammed the European Union on Tuesday for the group's planned proposal to call for east Jerusalem to be named the capital of a future Palestinian state, dividing what Tel Aviv labels its "eternal capital."

The official proposal is set to be put forward by EU foreign ministers on Dec.7 when they will call for Jerusalem to be divided to serve as capitals for both Israel and Palestine, Israel's Haaretz reported, citing a copy of the draft document it obtained.

The document is also said to "imply" that the EU will recognize a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood, a move which the Palesitnian Authority said last month they would seek from the United Nations.

The draft seeks to offer a solution one of the core obstacles to peace and although changes favorable to Israel were made there is reportedly "no chance" of preventing the EU from proposing the division of Jerusalem.

The Europeans hope the draft will help encourage the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table amid a tense row over Israel's continued and defiant settlement building, often seen as land grabbing, in both the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The draft calls on "all parties to refrain from provocative actions" and stating the EU Council "has never recognized the annexation of East Jerusalem. If there is to be a genuine peace, a way must be found to resolve the status of Jerusalem as capital of two states."

The draft states a goal of establishing "an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable state of Palestine, comprising the West Bank and Gaza and with East Jerusalem as its capital."

The document also rejects changes made by Israel to the 1967 borders and said the EU would "be able, at the appropriate time, to recognize a Palestinian state."

The paper reported that Israel was outraged by the document and had already launched a diplomatic campaign to keep it from being endorsed but added that "diplomats close to the EU deliberations believe it is almost inevitable."

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

Haaretz quoted senior Foreign Ministry officials as saying that Sweden is taking "an explicitly anti-Israel" line and therefore rendered Europe "irrelevant" to the peace process.