Arabs, Israel reject EU J'lem proposal

Arab League rejects Swed

In response to Sweden's proposal last week to recognize east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in a statement Sunday, "The Europeans should not dictate the outcome of negotiations in advance. This declaration is a dangerous initiative that could hurt efforts to resume negotiations between the parties and will harden the Palestinian position." Ayalon added that the Swedish proposal contravenes the "principles of the international community and the decisions of the Quartet whereby the parties reach agreement by direct talks." European Union foreign ministers were set to convene Monday to discuss the Swedish proposal on the international status of Jerusalem. On Sunday, the Arab League also responded negatively Sunday to the Swedish proposal. In an interview with the Saudi newspaper Al Watan on Sunday, an Arab League diplomat said that Sweden wants to leave its mark, but knows that the European body does not have the power to do so, adding that it would not recognize a Palestinian state if one is unilaterally declared. The Arab League representative in Brazil said that the Swedish proposal amounted to "empty words" and that the resolution would wind up on "one of the shelves of European Union foreign policy." The EU, the diplomat told the paper, would never recognize a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood because it is not ready to acknowledge or legitimize Hamas's influence in the region. Following reports of Sweden's attempts to insert language that would recognize east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state into an EU resolution, the Foreign Ministry last week responded similarly to the Arab League, saying there was nothing new in the resolution. Separately, one Israeli official called the proposal maddening in that east Jerusalem would be the capital of a Palestinian state without 'west Jerusalem' being recognized as the Israel's capital. Herb Keinon contributed to this report