FM Sharon Responds to Letter on Jerusalem

(Communicated by Foreign Minister’s Media Advisor)
11 March 1999

Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon, today (Thursday), 11.3.99, rejected the statement of the German ambassador to Israel — on behalf of all European Union ambassadors in Israel — according to which the member states of the European Union do not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in keeping with the 1947 United Nations resolution attributing "corpus separatum" status to the city. The Ambassador’s letter further stated that European Union representatives will not alter their custom with regard to meetings in Jerusalem.

Foreign Minister Sharon emphasized that the current government has acted to put a stop to diplomatic meetings with the Palestinians at Orient House and, in the event that such meetings have been held — without the knowledge of the Israeli government — unequivocal diplomatic measures have been taken. As such, meetings between Israeli government officials and foreign representatives have been cancelled when the latter have held diplomatic meetings at Orient House, and sharp protests have been dispatched to the governments of said representatives.

The Foreign Minister clarified that this Israeli policy will also be maintained in the future, and that the Government will continue acting to prevent diplomatic meetings from being held at Orient House.

Sharon said that he and other senior Foreign Ministry officials are working to have the German ambassador’s letter revoked by European Union member governments. In any event, Sharon emphasized, "The Government of Israel sharply rejects the content of the letter, and the position presented by the German ambassador will not serve to undermine Israel’s absolute sovereignty over united Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel."

In response to charges that Israel now finds itself in diplomatic isolation, the Foreign Minister said that, in recent months, both he and the Prime Minister have held dozens of meetings — in Israel and abroad — with a king, presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers. Furthermore, the Foreign Minister currently has about 20 outstanding invitations to visit various countries, with this amount increasing almost daily. Israel’s relations and cooperation with the United States, Europe and the CIS have never been better, even if certain disputes exist regarding the political process with the Palestinians.