(source: Middle East Monitor)
One day after Britain condemned Israel’s latest plans to build new illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, the former Israeli ambassador to the UK said defiantly that Jerusalem was the capital of the Jewish people “when London was still a swamp”. Ron Prosor is the current Israeli ambassador to the United Nations.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement on Wednesday 28 September, “I condemn today’s news that the Government of Israel is advancing plans for 780 new settlement housing units, with an option of an additional 600 units in the East Jerusalem settlement of Mordot Gilo. This is a time when all parties should be striving to return to talks and responding to the Quartet statement call to refrain from provocative actions. Settlement expansion is illegal under international law, corrodes trust and undermines the basic principle of land for peace. We call on the Government of Israel to revoke this decision.”
Speaking from UN headquarters, Prosor responded: “The housing units which Israel announced yesterday are located in Jerusalem about which we are ready to negotiate with other final status topics. We will sit with the Palestinians and negotiate about everything without pre-conditions… Jerusalem, I would like to stress, that is the capital of the Jewish people. This is our heart. Jerusalem, if I may say so, was the capital of the Jewish people when London was still a swamp.” He added, “The Palestinians and Israelis conducted direct negotiations when they concluded the Oslo accord and the role of all countries including the United States was secondary.”
Asked if Israel has been in contact with countries such as Nigeria, Gabon, Serbia and Bosnia to secure their support at the Security Council, Ambassador Prosor said, “I think the US and the American president were very clear that Palestine would not become the 194th member of the UN through the Security Council.” He then admitted, “Yes we are seeking the support of a group of states that would say return to direct negotiations, sit together and resolve this issue together, this is what the Quartet also said.”