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EU to call for divided Jerusalem

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — The European Union is set to officially call for Jerusalem to be divided and serve as the capitals of both Israel and Palestine.

The Israeli daily Ha’aretz said the declaration will take place next week, according to a draft document authored by Sweden obtained by the newspaper. Sweden serves as president of the European Union, a rotating position, until January.

The declaration is expected to be introduced Dec. 7 at a meeting in Brussels of EU foreign ministers that was scheduled to discuss the peace process and issue a statement on the body’s Middle East policy. The document also implies that the European Union would recognize a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood, Ha’aretz reported.

In a statement, the Israeli Foreign Ministry condemned the expected EU move.

"After the important steps taken by the government of Israel to enable the resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians, the European Union must now exert pressure on the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table," the statement said, referring notably to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu placing a 10-month freeze on West Bank settlement construction. "Steps like those being led by Sweden only contribute to the opposite effect."

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