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Russia Recognizes ‘West Jerusalem’ as Israel’s Capital

April 7th 2017

Jerusalem flags

In a statement released today by its Foreign Ministry on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Russia took the unusual step of removing ambiguity about its stance on West Jerusalem. After explaining that it is “deeply concerned” about the absence of active negotiations between Israel and the Arabs on the creation of an Arab state in Judea and Samaria, Russia spelled out its stance on Jerusalem. “We reaffirm our commitment to the UN-approved principles for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, which include the status of East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state. At the same time, we must state that in this context we view West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” read the statement.

Few nations have made such a declaration, with most preferring to leave the status of the entire Holy City to negotiations. Israel has yet to respond to Russia’s statement, perhaps because a positive reaction could be read as a tacit approval by the Jewish state for the first part of Russia’s statement, in which East Jerusalem is said to be the future capital of an Arab state. Russia’s statement also called for both sides to avoid “unilateral moves that undermine the potential for an internationally accepted solution” and referred to “the Palestinian and Israeli people” as both having “friendly relations with Russia.”

The unexpected statement concludes with Russia promising to, “focus on ensuring free access to Jerusalem’s holy places for all believers.”


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