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20 November 2017 09:45 (South Africa)

EU surprises with proposal for Jerusalem to serve as dual capital

EU ministers have called for Jerusalem to be the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state as part of a larger negotiated peace. In a switch the EU foreign ministers dropped earlier references to East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. In response, Palestinians welcomed the new statement, but the Israeli government said the position was nothing new. Jerusalem's status remains one of the most sensitive and complex issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. BBC analysts say that, through this initiative, the EU is trying to strengthen Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, giving him a way back to negotiations.
Most important about the latest statement is its timing, given the fading hopes that US President Barack Obama would have been able to make fast progress towards a peace based on Palestinian independence alongside Israel. The fear is that a standstill plays into the hands of extremists and adds to violence in Jerusalem, Gaza and along the Israel/Lebanon border. For more, read the BBC

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