Jerusalem continues to be at heart of dispute between Israel, European Union: Foreign diplomats will not be able to sever Israel's special connection with its capital, Jerusalem, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said Saturday, in response to earlier remarks by a top European official.
Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign affairs chief, referred to the Israeli capital as "occupied territory" at a speech given earlier this week, prompting Ayalon to state that "just as the Romans failed to severe Israel's ties with Jerusalem, so will the EU's and UN's diplomats."
Saturday's comment by Ayalon also addressed the prospects of the Swedish initiative – declaring east Jerusalem the capital of the future Palestinian state – coming to pass despite the motion's rejection by Israel.
"If any unilateral decisions are made it would be crossing a red line and Israel will no longer be obligated by any post–Oslo deals," he said. Israel will also see such a move "as legitimizing unilateral moves on its part."
As for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, Ayalon said that "Abbas knows he can't get anything else out of the current government and apparently, he's not really interested in peace.
"He is trying to blame Israel for his refusal to progress towards peace," Ayalon said.