New York, June 5th, 2017 – The European Coalition for Israel and the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy has commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem with a high level UN breakfast briefing in New York with the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, as guest of honour. The meeting, which featured a presentation by international legal scholar Dr. Jacques Gauthier on the sovereignty over Jerusalem and its Old City under international law, culminated in the handing over of an open letter entitled “Keep Jerusalem United as the Capital of the State of Israel” to Mayor Barkat by ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell.

In adding their signatures to the letter, more than 50 senior political leaders from around the world, among them presidents and vice-presidents, are supporting Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem as the best guarantee for a united and open Jerusalem where people of all faiths and none can co-exist in respect for each other. The letter has also received support from deputies from all the five major political party groups in the European Parliament.

Dr. Jacques Gauthier explained that “title over Jerusalem and its Old City was granted to the Jewish people during the San Remo Conference of the Principal Allied Powers in April 1920. It was at this conference that the claim for the recognition of the historical connection between the Jewish people and Palestine, presented on the behalf of the Jewish people on February 27, 1919, during the Paris Peace Conference, was approved. The rights granted in San Remo were incorporated in the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920 and the Mandate for Palestine was approved by the League of Nations in 1922. These rights also included the recognition of the historical connections between the Jewish people and the City of Jerusalem and the right to reconstitute the city as their ancient capital.”

“There is today a lack of understanding of the ramifications of re-dividing Jerusalem along the so called 1967 borders”, Gauthier continued. “In fact, the 1967 borders are really the 1949 armistice lines [also called the green line] between the new State of Israel and Jordan. Dividing Jerusalem on the basis of the green line would not only displace the Jewish inhabitants in East Jerusalem, but it would also mean that the Old City in its entirety would no longer be part of the capital of Israel.”

He also commented on the popular notion that Israel could not have title over East Jerusalem through military conquest by noting that this principle of international law does not apply in a situation where title has previously been granted in respect to a territory which was then later occupied by others through military means.
“Although Jordan illegally occupied East Jerusalem and the Old City in 1948, Israel could not be expected to lose title when they reconquered it in 1967 since it was already theirs under international law”, he said.

He cautioned the UN ambassadors in attendance at the breakfast briefing not to summarily dismiss the undeniable facts that had been explained to them in his presentation but to take them into serious consideration whenever new resolutions on the issue of Jerusalem are discussed in the future.

In his presentation the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, spoke about Jerusalem as an open, inclusive and united city which is important for billions of people around the world. “In one square kilometre there are more synagogues, mosques and churches than anywhere else in the world. When Jerusalem was reunited in 1967 no mosques were destroyed and no churches were taken down. We maintain openness and respect for all religions.” He also reminded the audience that this does not exist anywhere else in the Middle East.

“Today Jerusalem is a safe haven for persecuted minorities and a dynamic hi-tech city which ranks 26th in the world and a city which is safer than both New York and London.”  He concluded his speech by saying that Jerusalem should not only be for the Jews but for the benefit of the whole world.

The High Level UN breakfast meeting marked the conclusion of an international campaign by ECI for a united Jerusalem which was launched at the Annual ECI Policy Conference in the European Parliament in Brussels on March 30th and which has gained international support ever since.

In the Gregorian calendar, June 7, 2017, marks the 50th Anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.

The ECI delegation consisted of Tomas Sandell, Gregory Lafitte and Faith Collins Childress. The Israeli permanent mission to the UN was represented by Deputy Ambassador David Roet.