Austrian minister cancels visit over ’67 lines’

Austria’s Economic Minister canceled a scheduled trip to Israel, Maariv reports Friday, after he refused to meet Science Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) over the 1949 Armistice lines.

Reinhold Mitterlehner, who is also Austria’s Vice Chancellor, and Akunis were scheduled to meet next week in Sheikh Jarrah, an eastern Jerusalem neighborhood.

But Mitterlehner announced he would not visit Israel unless the meeting was moved – a demand Akunis refused.

“Austria will not divide Jerusalem,” Akunis fired Friday. “With all due respect to the Austrian minister, Jerusalem has served as the united capital of Israel for some 3,000 years, and that stands above all else.”

“The eastern government office is an indispensable part of Jerusalem, according to the Jerusalem Law,” he added.

“I appreciate Austria, but if I agreed to accept the demand of the guests it would be as if I would agree to divide Jerusalem, which will never happen,” Akunis concluded. “We will not divide Jerusalem, as the Austrians did not divide Vienna.”