The United States and the European Union will not be part of the Israeli celebrations to mark 40 years since Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East War, Israeli media reported Sunday.
The ambassadors from these countries will not attend a special parliament session to observe what in Israel is known as 'Jerusalem Day,' because of the ongoing debate over the future of East Jerusalem.
Israel annexed the Palestinian-populated eastern sector of the city shortly after occupying it from Jordan in the 1967 war, and has since declared that a united Jerusalem is its "eternal" capital.
Meanwhile, Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski told the Israeli cabinet meeting that the city's Jewish population should be strengthened. "The demographic problem is a very difficult one for us. According to statistics, even though we talk about Jewish sovereignty, Jerusalem may not remain, for eternity, under Jewish leadership and sovereignty," Lupolianski said, according to the AP.
"Jerusalem might fall in the hands of Hamas, which knows that it doesn't have to conquer Jerusalem by war, but through demographic means. Hamas knows that within 12 years it could take over Jerusalem through the demography."
An Israeli research body has recently claimed that the number of Palestinians in Jerusalem grew twice as fast as its Jewish population over the past decade. In the past 40 years, the Palestinian population has grown by 257 percent from 68,000 to 245,000, while the number of Jews has grown by 140 percent - from 200,000 to 475,000, said the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.