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Palestinian ambassador tells Jewish conference: No peace plan without East Jerusalem as capital

Zomlot speaking at the J Steet conference in Washington DC [Facebook/JStreet]

Date of publication: 17 April, 2018

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'No state without East Jerusalem its capital': Palestinian ambassador to the US Husam Zomlot reiterated the centrality of Jerusalem, Gaza and the refugee issue at the J Street Jewish conference.
The Palestinian Authority envoy to the US Husam Zomlot told a prominent left-leaning American Jewish conference in an address on Monday of the absolute necessity that Jerusalem is made a central part of the Israel-Palestine peace process.

Zomlot, a vocal supporter of the two-state solution, emphasised to J Street conference goers the importance of a universal Jerusalem, in addition to East Jerusalem being the non-negotiable capital of a future Palestinian state.

"Jerusalem is the key to peace. Without Jerusalem there can never be a two state solution," Zomlot told the pro-peace conference.

"Jerusalem has for millennia been open, inclusive, diverse. Jews, Christians, and Muslims coexisted, lived together. Jerusalem will always reject claims of universality," the diplomat said to a positive reaction from the audience.

"Once East Jerusalem is the capital, we will recognise and celebrate the Jewish connection to Jerusalem," Zomlot added.
Once East Jerusalem is the capital, we will recognise and celebrate the Jewish connection to Jerusalem
The diplomat also received rapturous applause as he called for a "just solution" for the Palestinian refugee issue, emphasising that refugees "are not a burden but an asset. Palestinian refugees, including myself, have been a force of good wherever they go".

Outlining the basic criteria for peace, Zomlot said, "No state without two thirds of the Palestinian people; no state without solving the issue of refugees. No state without Gaza and no state in Gaza. No state with one Israeli soldier on its soil."

"No to the US administration's decision on Jerusalem," Zomlot continued, adding "the only status that changed after the Jerusalem decision is that of the US as a mediator".

Zomlot, a close aide to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, was recalled to Ramallah back in December after US President Trump officially recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Read more: Will 2018 bring a third intifada in Gaza?

Zomlot has since accused Trump of "backstabbing" Palestine with his decision.

"President Trump, you did not take Jerusalem off the table, you took the table altogether," Zomlot said in an address in January.

Zomlot's speech at J Street was followed by veteran Democrat politician Bernie Sanders, who also issued his support of the two-state solution and denounced Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for the "inhumane" Gaza blockade and "massive overreaction" to the recent protests.

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