Palestinians fume over Netanyahu’s ‘united Jerusalem’ statement

Palestinian Authority and Hamas criticize Israeli premier’s statements, each promoting their unique political agendas

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the Jerusalem Day official ceremony at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, May 17, 2015. (Emil Salman/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the Jerusalem Day official ceremony at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, May 17, 2015. (Emil Salman/Flash90)

Palestinian officials from across the political spectrum expressed outrage on Monday over a statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Jerusalem will not be divided under any political outcome.

“There shall never be peace or stability in the Middle East without East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, told the official Palestinian news agency Wafa. “This is a clear indication that the coming stage will be one of massive political confrontation … we will resort to all international fora to put an end to this destructive policy.”

Speaking at an official Jerusalem Day ceremony at Ammunition Hill on Sunday, commemorating the 48th anniversary of the Israeli capture of East Jerusalem from Jordan in the Six Day War, Netanyahu vowed that “Jerusalem won’t become once again a wounded and bisected city. We will forever keep Jerusalem united under Israeli sovereignty.”

“On this special day it is clear to us that a divided Jerusalem is a memory. The future belongs to the complete Jerusalem that shall never again be divided,” he said.

This was hardly the first time Netanyahu publicly expressed his refusal to partition the Israeli capital. He made an identical statement during a Jerusalem Day speech at the Knesset last year, as well as in an interview with Channel 2 in 2013, to mention but two occasions.

From Gaza, Hamas joined the Palestinian Authority in criticizing the Prime Minister’s statements, only to bash its stated agenda of diplomatic negotiations.

“Talk of negotiations with the occupation is nothing but a waste of time,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri in a press statement Monday. “The Oslo group should acknowledge the failure of this option and turn to the national consensus surrounding a program of resistance and national principles.”

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