"Throughout the history of the world, there is not one important city that was divided that functioned successfully â€¦ the lesson is too clear. Jerusalem must stay united," wrote Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in a letter to European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, sent on Sunday.
Referring to the Swedish proposal to declare east Jerusalem as the capital of the a future Palestinian state, Barkat remarked, "Division focuses on differences rather than the common denominator that unites people of all faiths. We must not divide the heart and soul of the Jewish people." He added that freedom of religion was "greater today under the flag of Israel than it has been for 2,000 years."
"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," said Barkat, seeking to draw attention to the fact that a Palestinian state has yet to be established.
Before concluding his letter, Barkat invited Ashton to Jerusalem so that she "may see first hand â€¦ the necessity of a united Jerusalem."