Issue of east Jerusalem sparks EU-Israel row
A row broke out between Israel and the European Union Tuesday over a draft EU proposal that east Jerusalem should become the capital of a future Palestinian state as part of a Middle East peace deal.
At the heart of the diplomatic spat is a suggestion by the Swedish EU president that EU nations should call for an "independent, democratic, contiguous and viable state of Palestine comprising the West Bank and Gaza and with East Jerusalem as its capital."
However it has already caused a storm in Israel where it was first aired in the Haaretz daily.
"The process being led by Sweden harms the European Union's ability to take part as a significant mediator in the political process between Israel and the Palestinians," the Israeli foreign ministry said in a statement.
"After the important steps taken by the government of Israel to enable the resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians, the European Union must now exert pressure on the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. Steps like those being led by Sweden only contribute to the opposite effect."
The draft text was prepared for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels next week, and diplomats said there was plenty of opposition to it within member states and it could change ahead of the meeting.
One EU diplomat said that "half disagree with this statement", adding there were now three options -- for the text to remain as it is, to be completely scrapped or for it to be in edited in some way.
The text will be worked on at various diplomatic levels trough the rest of the week but it is quite likely that it will be left for the foreign ministers to thrash out next week, the source added.