Haaretz Exclusive: EU draft document on division of Jerusalem

by Barak Ravid

Current EU president Sweden has proposed that the body recognize East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital.  The current holder of the rotating European Union presidency, Sweden, has put together a draft document calling for the division of Jerusalem between Israel and a future Palestinian state and implying that the EU would recognize a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood.

Haaretz has obtained a copy of the document (below) that has sparked criticism by Israel, which claims that such a move would further harm the chances of renewing the Mideast peace process. 

1.     The Council of the Europen Union is seriously concerned about the stalemate in the Middle East peace process.  The European Union calls for the urgent resumption of negotiations that will lead, within an agreed timeframe, to a two-state solution with an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable state of Palestine, comprising the West Bank and Gaza and with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side in peace and scurity with the State of Israel.  A comprehensive peace, which is a fundamental interest of the EU and the parties in the region, must be achieved on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, the Madrid principles including land for peace, the Roadmap, the agreements previously reached by the parties and the Arab Peace Initiative.

2.     The Council reconfirms its suppport for the United States’ efforts to resume negotiations on all final status issues, including borders, Jerusalem, refugees, security and water, respecting previous agreements and understanding.  The European Union will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders, other than those agreed by the parties.  The Council reiterates the UE’s readiness to contribute substantially to post-conflict arrangements and will continue the work undertaken on EU contributions on state-building, regional issues, security and Jerusalem.  The Council underlines the need for a reinvigorated Quartet and enhanced cooperation with the parties and Arab partners.

3.     The EU stands ready to further develop its bilateral relations with Palestine as far as formally possible, reflecting shared interests, including in the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy.  The Council also reiterates its commitment too suppport further efforts and steps toward Palestinian statehood and to be able, at the appropriate time, to recognize a Palestinian state.  It will continue to assist Palestinian state-building, including through the EU field missions, and welcomes the Palestinian Authority’s Government Plan “Palestine, Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State” as an important contribution to this end.

4.     The Council reaffirms its readiness to further develop its blilateral relations with Israel within the framework of the ENP, as expressed at the Association Council in June 2009.

5.     The Council takes note of the recent decision of the government of Israel  on a partial and temporary settlement freeze and expresses the hope that it will become a step towards resuming meaningful negotiations.

6.     Developments on the ground play a crucial part in creating the context for successful negotiations.  The Council urges the governent of Israel to immediately end all settlement activities, including in East Jerusalem and including natural growth, and to dismantle all outposts erected since March 2001.  The Council reiterates that settlements, the separation barrier on occupied land and demolition of homes are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.  The EU welcomes Israel’s effort to ease restrictions of movement in the West Bank and looks forward to further and sustained improvement of movement and access, noting that many check points and road blocks remain in place to protect settlements.

7.     The Council is deeply concerned about the situation in East Jerusalem. In view of recent incidents, it calls on all parties to refrain from provocative actions.  The Council recalls that it has never recognised 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 the capital of two states.  The Council calls for the reopening of Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem in accordance with the Roadmap.  It also calls on the Israeli government to cease all discriminatory treatment of Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

8.     The Council remains gravely concerned about the situation in Gaza and calls for the full implementation of UNSCR 1860.  The continued plicy of closure is unacceptable from the point of view of international humanitarian law and it is politically counterproductive.  It has devastated the private sector economy and damaged the natural environment, notably the water quality.  It reiterates its calls for an immediate and unconditional opening of crossing for the flow of humanitarian and commercial  goods and persons to and from Gaza.   While extremists stand to gain from the current situation, the civilian population, half of which are children under the age of 18, suffers.  Fully recognising Israel’s legitimate security needs, the Council continues to call for a complete stop to all violence.  The Council calls on those holding the abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit to release him without delay.

9.     The Council calls on all Palestinians to promote reconciliation behind President Mahmoud Abbas and support for the mediation efforts by Egypt and the Arab League, in order to avoid a permanent division within Palestine between the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza.  The Council would welcome the organisation of free and fair elections throughout Palestine when conditions permit.

10.    The EU has for many years deployed considerable human and financial resources alongside other donors to create the conditions for reaching an end to the conflict.  The Council calls on all actors, including Arab countries and Israel, to contribute actively to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict.  A lasting settlement for the conflic between Israel and Syria and between Israel and Lebanon must be pursued in parallel, creating mutually reinforcing processes.  The Council urges Arab countries to be forthcoming, both politically and financially, in assisting the Palestinian Authority.  In this context, the EU calls on all Arab countries and on Israel to make meaningful reciprocal gestures in order to overcome mutual distrust and to create an atmosphere conducive to conflict resolution.