For Palestinian leaders, waiting anxiously in the hope that US Secretary of State John Kerry unveils a peace plan when he visits this week, the need to secure East Jerusalem’s future has come sharply into relief. The reason is simple: there can be no viable Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital.
This was the background to a March 26 pledge by the Arab League to establish a $1 billion fund to protect East Jerusalem’s Arab and Islamic characters. Both have been rapidly eroded as Israel has intensified its hold on the occupied half of the city over the past decade. East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel, in violation of international law, following the 1967 war.