Palestinians say the US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s assertion that al-Quds (Jerusalem) is “the capital of Israel” is absolutely unacceptable and undermines peace prospects.
“We condemn his statements. Those who speak about the two-state solution should know that there can be no Palestinian state without East Jerusalem,” Chief Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiator, Saeb Erekat said on Monday.
Romney said that al-Quds is Israel’s capital and strongly suggested he would move the US embassy to the city if he were president, ignoring Palestinians claim to the city and most world opinion.
Romney’s comments came during his visit of al-Quds on Sunday. The Republican candidate aims to present himself as Israel’s closest ally ahead of the Nov. 6 election contest with President Barack Obama.
“What this man is doing here is just promoting extremism, violence and hatred, and this is absolutely unacceptable,” Saeb Erekat added.
Israel seized eastern al-Quds during a 1967 war. A UN Security Council resolution condemns a 1980 Israeli law that declared Jerusalem its capital as a violation of international law.
Most countries, including the United States, have not recognized Israel’s declaration and have kept their embassies in the coastal city of Tel Aviv.
The international community also considers Israeli settlements in all of the West Bank including East al-Quds to be illegal and a major obstacle on the way to permanent peace in the Middle East.
The Palestinian Authority has ruled out any peace talks with Tel Aviv, until the Israeli side proves its commitment to a complete halt to settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territories.