There is “no real prospect for peace” between Israelis and Palestinians unless the status of Jerusalem is resolved, the top UN envoy to the peace process said on Wednesday.

Robert Serry’s brief address to a conference in Jerusalem came in the middle of a tense week, which featured a prisoner release, announcement of settlement construction and the trading of fire between the IDF and terrorists in Gaza. Serry is the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process.

“Without resolving Jerusalem, there will be no solution,” he said. “The [UN] secretary general believes that a way has to be found for Jerusalem to emerge as a capital for two states.”

Serry said both sides had “committed themselves” to addressing the status of Jerusalem, and he praised the involvement of the United States in jump-starting negotiations.

But he warned there is pervasive apathy among Israelis and Palestinians, and he called on leaders in both communities to galvanize a public movement for peace.

“Let’s face it, almost nobody believes that these talks will have a positive outcome,” he said. “If you yourself believe in a twostate solution, then this is indeed a time for renewed action.”

The conference was organized by the Peace NGO Forum with support from the European Union.

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