2005-12-14 / Features

Weiner Fights To Retain Israel’s Right To Call Jerusalem Its Capital

By John Toscano


Rep. Weiner
Rep. Weiner Congressmember Anthony Weiner, backed by eight bi-partisan members of Congress, has called on the European Commission to reject a report issued by its representatives in Ramallah which challenges Israel’s right to claim Jerusalem as its capital.

The report also encourages anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian policies, Weiner charged. “Our European friends seem bent on being worse than unhelpful to the peace and stability of the region,” Weiner (D–Queens/Brooklyn) said. “In a reflection of either a short memory or a woeful misunderstanding of the notion of national sovereignty, the EU [European Union] has adopted a position that is supported by only the most anti-Israel elements.”

A letter to Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission signed by the eight congressmembers, demanded that Israel’s territorial right to Jerusalem by affirmed and EU representatives in the region be prohibited from statements that jeopardize peace.

The eight congressmembers involved are Democrats Joseph Crowley (Queens/Bronx), Janice Schakowsky (Illinois), Steven Rothman (New Jersey), Michael McNulty (New York), Howard Berman (California), Shelley Berkley (Nevada) and Robert Andrews (New Jersey); and Republican Mark Steven Kirk (Illinois).

The controversial report challenges Israel’s right to claim Jerusalem as its capital and accuses Israel of trying to push Palestinian residents out of Jerusalem. It calls Israel’s presence in its own capital “de facto annexation of Palestinian land.”

Weiner said the report also suggests moving official meetings with the Palestinians back to East Jerusalem from Ramallah. To maintain safety and security, Weiner noted, Israel shut down all Palestinian authority institutions in East Jerusalem after a terrorist attack in 2001.

In that same year, Congress had passed the Israeli Capital Recognition Act, authored by Weiner, which requires the State Department to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Following the 1967 Arab–Israel War, Israel annexed East Jerusalem and promised that the Holy City would never again be divided.

In the letter to Barroso, Weiner said that the EU report, obtained by the New York Times , “improperly characterizes Israel residents in and around East Jerusalem as settlers and wrongly concludes that an Israeli presence in its own capital city is a de facto annexation of Palestinian land.”

Weiner added: “The report by your diplomats in Ramallah and support of the Palestinians is startling; given the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to condemn acts of terror and crack down on terrorist organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad.”

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