Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian officials on Tuesday welcomed the US Supreme Court decision to strike down a law that allowed for the listing of "Israel" as the place of birth on passports belonging to American citizens born in Jerusalem.
Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat lauded Monday's ruling, saying it will send a message to the Israeli government that "Jerusalem is an occupied territory."
The court's decision served as a major blow to more than a decade of efforts to bolster Jerusalem's status under American law as an undisputed part of Israel.
Erekat added that the top American court's ruling highlighted "that the Israeli decision to annex Jerusalem to be settlements, to dictate the results of negotiations before they begin by demolishing homes, by expelling Palestinians, fait accompli policies, is not going to lead anywhere."
"It's a total violation of international law," he added.
Meanwhile, Nabil Abu Rdaineh, spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, hailed the "important decision" that he said runs in accordance with UN resolutions.
"This is a clear message that Israel occupies east Jerusalem as well as the West Bank and Gaza Strip," he charged.
The 6-3 ruling was a victory for the administration of US President Barack Obama, which said the law unlawfully encroached on the president’s power to set foreign policy and would, if enforced, undermine the US government’s claim to be a neutral peacemaker in the Middle East.
Israel had no formal response to the decision, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon saying that Israel does not relate in the media to US court decisions.
However, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat responded by saying, “Just as Washington is the capital of the US, London is the capital of England, and Paris is the capital of France, Jerusalem was and will always be the capital of Israel – but more than that, it’s the heart and soul of the Jewish nation.”
Barkat called on Obama to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital immediately, especially in light of the global boycotting faced by the country.
Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.