EU Report Due to Criticize Israelâ€™s Jerusalem Policy
By Amihai Zippor
(IHC News, 24 November 2005) A report due out by the European Union is expected to blast Israeli activities in Jerusalem and may call on the EU to reassess itâ€™s Jerusalem policy.
The report cites Israel as creating facts on the ground that will make it extremely difficult to reach a final agreement with the Palestinians.
It labeled Israeli initiatives â€œin and around east Jerusalem, including construction of the separation barrier, settlement building and house demolitions,â€ as constituting â€œgrave concern.â€
Though a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy said these reports are normal and are compiled by the EU consul generals in Jerusalem, an Israeli official familiar with the report was not impressed.
â€œIt is impossible to rely on the Europeans,â€ the official claimed.
â€œWe let them in Rafah through the front door and the first thing they do is slam us on Jerusalem,â€ he said referring to the arrangement with the Palestinians that EU officials will monitor the border crossing between Egypt and Gaza for weapons smuggling and terrorists in place of Israel.
Though Israel has generally been cool to allowing the Europeans into negotiations with the Palestinians, Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz said the compromise in Gaza was struck only because it balanced the needs of both sides, most importantly, Israelâ€™s security.
Meanwhile, the Palestinians continue to declare Jerusalem will be the capital of their future state.
However, most politicians in Israel including new Labor Chairman, Amir Peretz say Jerusalem is non-negotiable and there will be no compromise on the city as it is the eternal capital of the Jewish people.
From 1948 till 1967, Jordan occupied the eastern section of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount, Judaismâ€™s holiest site where the First and Second Temples once stood more than 2000 years ago.
Israel united the city after its victory in the 1967 Six Day War but non-Muslims have had limited access to the Temple Mount, which is also considered Islamâ€™s third holiest site next to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.