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Saturday Jan. 9, 2010 8:20 AM (EST+7)
READ: US envoy George Mitchell dodges international law question

Read more: international law, Jerusalem, East Jerusalem, settlements, settlement freeze, George Mitchell, Charlie Rose

RAMALLAH, Jan. 9 (JMCC) - When asked about Jerusalem's status in international law, US Middle East envoy and lawyer George Mitchell says negotiations are more important.

George Mitchell:
Annexed is a very important word.  No other country and including the United States recognizes that annexation.  And neither do the Palestinians or the Arabs of course but for the Israelis, what they're building in, is in part of Israel.  Now, the others don't see it that way.  So you have these widely divergent perspectives on the subject.  Our view is, let's get into negotiations, let's deal with the issues and come up with a solution to all of them including Jerusalem which will be exceedingly difficult, but in my judgment, possible.  The Israelis are not going to stop settlements in or construction in East Jerusalem.  They don't regard that as a settlement because they think it's part of Israel.
[talking simultaneously]

Charlie Rose:
How many people recognize the annexation, how many countries?

George Mitchell:
To the best of my knowledge there aren't any.  Immediately after the annexation, the United Nations --
[talking simultaneously]

Charlie Rose:
So you're going to let them go ahead even though no one recognized the annexation.

George Mitchell:
When you say let them go ahead, it's what they regard as their country.  They don't regard -- they don't say they're letting us go ahead when we build in Manhattan or in the Bronx or --
[talking simultaneously]

Charlie Rose:
But don't the international rules have something to do with what somebody can do to define as their country?

George Mitchell:
There are disputed legal issues.  Of that there can be no doubt.  And we could spend the next 14 years arguing over disputed legal issues or we can try to get a negotiation to resolve them in a manner that meets the aspirations of both societies.  Keep this in mind, the Israelis have a state, a very successful state.  They want security, which they ought to have.

Read the entire interview on Time...







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