149 Reaction by Foreign Minister Sharon on the EU stand on Jerusalem- 11 March 1999

149 Reaction by Foreign Minister Sharon on the EU stand on Jerusalem- 11 March 1999


 VOLUME 17: 1998-1999

149. Reaction by Foreign Minister Sharon on the EU stand on Jerusalem, 11 March 1999.

On a number of occasions, Israel requested that foreign diplomats, both visitors and those stationed in Israel, refrain from meeting PA officials in the Orient House in Jerusalem. This elicited a letter to the Foreign Ministry by the German Ambassador to Israel on behalf of the European Union. It reiterated the previous EU position on Jerusalem, but this time it referred to the 1947 partition resolution that set Jerusalem as a "Corpus Separatum". It should be recalled that all the Arab states rejected that resolution and sought to undo it by invading Israel. Foreign Minister Sharon rejected the EU position adamantly, as explained in the following reaction:

Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon, today (Thursday), 11.3.99, rejected the statement of the German Ambassador to Israel - on behalf of all European Union ambassadors in Israel - according to which the member states of the European Union do not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in keeping with the 1947 United Nations Resolution attributing "corpus separatum" status to the city. The Ambassador's letter further stated that European Union representatives will not alter their custom with regard to meetings in Jerusalem.

Foreign Minister Sharon emphasized that the current government has acted to put a stop to diplomatic meetings with the Palestinians at the Orient House and, in the event that such meetings have been held - without the knowledge of the Israeli government - unequivocal diplomatic measures have been taken. As such, meetings between Israeli government officials and foreign representatives have been cancelled when the latter have held diplomatic meetings at the Orient House, and sharp protests have been dispatched to the governments of said representatives.

The Foreign Minister clarified that this Israeli policy will also be maintained in the future, and that the government will continue acting to prevent diplomatic meetings from being held at the Orient House.

Foreign Minister Sharon said that he and other senior Foreign Ministry officials are working to have the German Ambassador's letter revoked by European Union member governments. In any event, Foreign Minister Sharon emphasized, "The Government of Israel sharply rejects the content of the letter, and the position presented by the German Ambassador will not serve to undermine Israel's absolute sovereignty over united Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel."

In response to charges that Israel now finds itself in diplomatic isolation, the Foreign Minister said that, in recent months, both he and the Prime Minister have held dozens of meetings - in Israel and abroad - with a king, presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers. Furthermore, the Foreign Minister currently has about 20 outstanding invitations to visit various countries, with this amount increasing almost daily. Israel's relations and cooperation with the United States, Europe and the CIS have never been better, even if certain disputes exist regarding the political process with the Palestinians.

Press for print versionPrint version
Send To Friend