Palestinians seek EU recognition of Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital

Palestinians seek EU recognition of Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III attend an Orthodox midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, January 6, 2018. Picture taken January 6, 2018. (Reuters Photo)

RAMALLAH, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) — Palestinian officials said they had been making an effort to gain European Union‘s (EU) recognition of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, after the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as Israeli capital.

Well informed Palestinian sources said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet with EU’s foreign ministers on Jan. 22 in Brussels, during which he is expected to ask them to recognize the Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The sources added that EU’s recognition would revive the internationally-backed two-state solution and help the Palestinian bid to get a full UN membership.

A committee from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has been preparing documents for discussion during the meeting of the organization’s Central Council next week, deciding the future Palestinian political steps.

“The moves to be discussed include defining the relations with Israel in addition to the political and legal steps the Palestinians may take,” Ahmed Majdalani, member of the PLO Executive Committee, told Xinhua.

The Palestinian official stressed that next steps are based on the reality that the interim period with Israel had come to an end, and there must be a new political formula with multilateral sponsorship for the peace process.

“The general trend is to focus on how to deal with the emerging situation, considering Palestine as a state under occupation and requesting full UN membership for Palestine, which requires extensive international support,” he said.

Joining the United Nations as a member state requires support by nine out of the 15 UN Security Council members, while the five permanent members (the United StatesRussia, China, Britain and France) have the veto power.

Meanwhile, Secretary of the Revolutionary Council of Abbas’ Fatah Party, Majid al-Fitiyani said that political and technical preparations are underway in full swing to make the Council’s meetings successful.

“The Council has a number of major challenges facing the Palestinian cause and the political process following the U.S. president’s decision on Jerusalem,” he told Xinhua.

He pointed out that the Council will comprehensively review the entire political process, including the form and content of Palestinian relations with Israel and the development of a strategy for the future Palestinian action.

The Fatah official added that future Palestinian approach is based on the declaration of the State of Palestine under occupation, after discussing all aspects of legal and possible consequences.

Last December, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and decided to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the disputed city.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future independent state, while Israel wants an integral Jerusalem to be its eternal capital.

While Israel took over East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 war and declared the whole city as its eternal indivisible capital in 1980, it has not been recognized by the international community.

Under the previous Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, the status of Jerusalem should be determined through the final-status talk between Israel and the Palestinians. All countries have so far located their embassies in Tel Aviv, in order to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The Palestinians have repeatedly warned that changing the legal and political status of Jerusalem would undermine the peace process.

On Sunday, a meeting of foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Morocco, in addition to Arab League Chief, supported the rights of the Palestinians in preserving their legal and historic rights in Jerusalem and in creating their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

They also stressed the necessity to confront Trump’s decision.

Meanwhile, Palestinians are expecting the response of Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements to the invitation of the Palestinian Central Council to take part in its upcoming convention next week.

Hamas has announced that the movement’s leaders are studying on their response to the invitation.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements are not represented in the PLO and had never participated in any of the meetings of its institutions.

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