A key aspect of the Obama-Abdullah plan for Palestinian statehood was that the “independent, democratic and contiguous Palestinian state” would have East Jerusalem as its capital, and that Jerusalem’s old city would be an international zone. That’s never going to happen, according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“A united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Jerusalem was and will always be ours. It shall never be divided and disunited again,” Netanyahu declared during a ceremony celebrating the capture of East Jerusalem during
a 1967 war. Netanyahu says only complete Israeli sovereignty over the city can ensure free religious practice and access to holy sites.
East Jerusalem was occupied following the Six Day War, and has remained under Israeli control ever since. The annexation of the neighborhoods has not been recognized internationally, and only a tiny fraction of the area’s Arab residents have Israeli citizenship.
Netanyahu’s proclamation comes shortly after one of his top aides condemned the whole notion of a two-state solution as “childish and stupid.” The Palestinian Authority was reportedly willing to relinquish its claims over the Islamic holy site of al-Aqsa, provided it remained under general Islamic control.