Den arabiske ligas årsmøte åpner i Sirte, Libya, lørdag og ett av de viktigste temaene blir Jerusalem. Israels ekspansjon i Øst-Jerusalem vekker sterke reaksjoner. Samtidig merkes et ønske om å gjøre dette til et religiøst spørsmål som angår alle muslimer. Men den arabiske liga er splittet. Gulf-statene og Libanon kommer ikke pga uenighet med Libya, og Mubarak er rekonvalesent.
«In light of current conditions, it is difficult to talk about negotiations,» Yussef said Saturday.
«It is unacceptable that while the Palestinians have been moving toward negotiations in good faith, the Israelis have taken decisions contrary to the understandings that were reached and to the possibility of achieving progress,» he said.
Israel has stood firm behind its plans to continue building in East Jerusalem, despite U.S. and European pressure to freeze construction east of its 1967 borders so that indirect, or «proximity» talks with the Palestinians can begin.
«Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital,» Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said ahead of his meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington last week.
«We must provide adequate support to the steadfast Arab citizens in the holy city, because their survival is very important in the battle to maintain the city’s Arab identity,» Yussef said.
He cautiously welcomed reports that Libya would offer 400 million dollars in support to Arab residents of East Jerusalem.
«If this is true,» Yussef said, «It is wonderful news. But we must hear this directly from Libya, and so far there has been no official word.»
The aid would support Palestinian Authority institutions in East Jerusalem.
In addition to leaders and representatives of the Arab League’s members, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Italian President Silvio Berlusconi are also expected to attend Saturday’s summit.