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Jerusalem Mayor to EU: Dividing the City Threatens Peace Process

The Swedish proposal to divide Jerusalem and declare part of the capital of the PA threatens the peace process, Mayor Barkat wrote the EU.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/7/2009, 10:08 AM / Last Update: 12/7/2009, 10:05 AM

Israel news photo

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat wrote the European Union Monday and warned that the Swedish proposal to divide the city “is a serious threat not just to the future of the city of Jerusalem but also to the future role of the entire European Union in the peace process.”

The EU is considering the proposal, which is being fiercely opposed by Israel and which in effect would destroy all remnants of the American Roadmap plan that calls for negotiations between the PA and Israel for a new stage for Arabs. "By attempting to dictate the outcome of negotiations now, the Swedish delegation will strip the European Union of its right to serve as an honest mediator," according to the mayor,

          Barkat and Peres at Arab high school           Mayor Barkat pointedly congratulated the EU “on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall” and then added, “It is clear that we should all remember the true lessons of the reunification of Berlin. Throughout the history of the world, there is not one important city that was divided [and] functioned successfully. They either reunited or ceased to function properly.”

The mayor called on the EU to “unanimously support the vision of an open Jerusalem for the entire world to enjoy, a vision that enables the more than 3.4 billion people of faith to visit Jerusalem and practice their faith freely without a divisive wall of the sort that devastated the city of Berlin.”

Jerusalem was divided from the end of the War for Independence in 1948 to 1967, when it was reunited in the Six-Day War. During the interim period, Jordan placed a barbed wire barrier to divide the city and barred Christians and Jews from visiting holy sites.

Mayor Barkat wrote that "the Jewish people constantly remain the only people to claim Jerusalem as their capital for thousands of years. We must not disrupt the freedom to practice one’s religion throughout Jerusalem, which is greater today under the flag of Israel than it has been for 2,000 years.”