Israel currently claims sovereignty over Jerusalem
Newspapers in the Middle East agree that Palestinians stand to benefit from a joint EU statement calling for Jerusalem to serve as the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state.
Commentators in Israel say the country "dodged a bullet" when the proposal from the EU that East Jerusalem be recognised as the future Palestinian capital was rejected. One commentator urges Israel's leaders to act quickly to quell any momentum that the statement may grant to the Palestinian cause.
The Palestinian press welcome the statement as positive yet flawed - viewing the softening of its language as a concession to Israel. This sentiment is echoed by one Pan-Arab commentator who argues that Arab support for the Swedish proposal should have been more robust.
GIDEON SAMET IN ISRAEL'S MA'ARIV
The European community is fed up waiting for peace talks. The draft proposal was softened at the last minute, but remains a clear signal of the change in the international attitude to settlements in the [West] Bank. When the Palestinian initiative for unilateral independence is rolled out most of the countries of the world will recognise it. The United States cannot prevent this becoming an international fact even if it vetoes such a resolution at the [UN] Security Council.
HERB KEINON IN ISRAEL'S JERUSALEM POST
The bottom line is that Israel very much dodged a bullet... Had the Swedish resolution been adopted the language would probably have seeped into debates at the UN Security Council, making Israel's diplomatic situation more difficult than it already is... In the absence of Israeli initiatives or any real movement, other actors will put forward their own initiatives which may be deleterious to Israeli interests.
ADIL ABD-AL-RAHMAN IN PALESTINIAN AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDAH
Although a clearer and firmer position in deciding on the characteristics of a Palestinian state and its capital Jerusalem were hoped for, the European decision was nevertheless an advanced step forward. The statement issued by the EU has specified the reference points for the settlement process and defined the borders of the Israeli pull-out.
EDITORIAL IN PALESTINIAN AL-QUDS
Despite its flaws, the European decision [on Jerusalem] constitutes a positive step on the right track. It also undermines Israeli greediness in Arab Jerusalem. So will the Palestinians and Arabs exploit this decision and follow up on it?
HANI HABIB IN PALESTINIAN AL-AYYAM
Although Israeli President Shimon Peres expressed his disappointment with the final statement issued by the EU's foreign ministers on the Palestinian-Israeli issue, we think Israel was somewhat successful in redrafting Sweden's draft proposal... It is true that this decision is a Palestinian gain in one way or another, but it has not added anything new.
ABD-BARI ATWAN IN PAN-ARAB AL-QUDS AL-ARABI
Israel, with the support of countries such as France, the Netherlands and Germany, has succeeded in foiling a plan submitted to European foreign ministers by Sweden, which called for East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state... Israel's success was due to the absence of active Arab action not only to support the Swedish proposal but for Europe to support decisive issues in confronting Israel's actions for the Judaisation of the city.
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