Jerusalem, June 1 (IANS) Only two days before a Middle East peace summit in Paris, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged on Wednesday to keep East Jerusalem under Israeli control “for eternity”.
“Jerusalem is the nation’s heart, our undivided capital,” Xinhua news agency quoted Netanyahu as saying in Knesset (parliament) during a special session ahead of “Jerusalem Day” on June 2.
He said Jewish ties to the city extend back to King David’s time, the Jewish king who ruled the city between 1010 and 970 BC.
Each year, Israel marks the “merging” of the eastern and western parts of the city during “Jerusalem Day”, an event which includes a flag parade who march from the western to the eastern part of the city in Palestinian neighbourhoods.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast War, along with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Later, it annexed East Jerusalem, claiming it as part of its “undivided capital”, in a move which the international community never acknowledged.
The remarks came ahead of the Parisian June 3 convention of foreign ministers, including US Secretary of State John Kerry, in preparation for a peace conference in autumn.
Israel fears that the conference which aims to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, would impose strong international pressure on it in order to reach a territorial agreement with Palestinians.