LETTER:US folly in Jerusalem

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The Independent Online
From Mr Ahlam Akram and others

Sir: Israel's recent seizure of another 131 acres of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem may well spell the death knell to an already discredited peace process, since it seeks to pre-empt resolution of Jerusalem's final status in 1998. As with every other seizure of occupied territory since 1967, it is also a blatant violation of international law. The recent US decision to veto the draft UN resolution condemning this land expropriation appears wilful and clearly undermines international law.

Now Senator Robert Dole and other Congressmen seem to be falling over each other in their haste to pass a bill allowing the US to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a serious breach of international consensus on the city's yet-to-be-determined status and, given its timing, another overt act of complicity with Israel's illegal seizure. If the bill is successful, as seems likely, it will remove the last tattered vestiges of the US claim to act as referee between Arab and Jew in the search for peace.

What Israel has done, and what the US now contemplates doing, not only violates international law and norms but is supremely shortsighted. Whatever piece of paper Mr Arafat may be cajoled into signing, and whatever our individual views, the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim worlds will never accept the permanent loss of Jerusalem.

Only a solution that is acceptable to both parties and in accordance with international law has any chance of long-term success in the quest for peace. What Israel and the US now seem bent on doing is to condemn Jew and Arab to relentless conflict for final domination.

Britain and its European allies must warn both governments of their total opposition to these latest acts of folly.

Yours sincerely,

AHLAM AKRAM, ALASTAIR DUNCAN, GHADA KARMI, DAVID MCDOWALL, LEILA MANTOURA, PATRICIA MANTOURA, MICHAEL PRIOR, SABA RISALUDDIN, JANET ST JOHN AUSTEN

International Campaign for Jerusalem

London, W14

18 May

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