Israel is offering Palestinians living in East Jerusalem a chance to return to their ancestral homes after a United Nations panel voted on Monday to recognize the city as a future capital.
The UN General Assembly’s special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, Nils Muiznieks, voted for a resolution in support of a petition that calls on the United Nations to formally recognize East Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The Palestinian Authority would have to agree, and it has not done so, he said.
Muiznieaks said that while Israel has promised to return the Palestinians, it has failed to do so.
“It has failed in the past, so we are looking for a solution in the future,” he said, according to Israeli news website Ynet.
Muoznieks said the resolution is based on a U.N. mandate for East Jerusalem to be “occupied as part of the State of Israel” and a declaration by the Palestinian Liberation Organization that it “categorically denies the annexation of East Jerusalem, and that Jerusalem is a sovereign, independent and undivided capital of Israel.”
It comes after the Palestinians rejected a call by Israel for a unilateral withdrawal of all Palestinian refugees and residents of the West Bank from East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
Muuznieks stressed that he is not seeking to change the status quo in the West Jerusalem neighborhood, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War and annexed.
Instead, he wants to establish a new international law that will address the “problem of the occupied,” Muiznyks said.
Jerusalem, the city Israel captured and annexed in 1967, has long been a site of tense confrontations with the Israeli authorities.
The city has been under Israeli military control since the 1967 Six-Day War.
Jericho, the eastern district of the city, was the scene of a deadly July 1967 military crackdown against protesters that left more than 70 Palestinians dead.
Mu, who is a U-M graduate and lives in the United States, also said the Israeli government should withdraw from East Alon settlement blocs and that Palestinians living there should be allowed to return home.
The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv has previously said it does not recognize East Alons right to exist.
Jersey, New Jersey, and New York have all passed resolutions in support, although the U.K. and the Netherlands have not.
The resolution also calls on Israel to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, which the Palestinians claim for their future capital, which would be the first major change since the country’s creation in 1948.
Israel withdrew from the city in the 1980s following a two-week war, but the U, U.A.E., and United Nations are still in talks about resuming negotiations.