Jerusalem is ours, warns Likud

The right wing Israeli opposition party Likud led by Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday warned the government against compromising on the status of Jerusalem in current talks with Palestinian negotiators.

Zalman Shoval, head of the foreign affairs department of Likud, said yesterday that the issue of Jerusalem should "not be on the table in any way" at the planned international conference in Annapolis, Maryland later in the yea—the basis of which he sharply criticized.

Mr Shoval was speaking after a report in Haaretz that the party was pressing two right wing parties Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu to leave the governing coalition in response to Wednesday's remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert - interpreted as implying the city could be divided in any final deal with the Palestinians.

In sharp contrast Yossi Beilin, leader of the left wing Meretz said last night: "Mr Olmert knows very well that at the end of the day, and that is not too far away—the division of Jerusalem is a must. You will not have peace without a division and I think he's well aware of it."

Mr Olmert's questioning of whether certain Palestinian neighbourhoods needed to remain in what Israel officially sees as its undivided capital followed earlier – much more sweeping - suggestions by his Cabinet ally Haim Ramon that Jerusalem could be split into capitals—Israeli and Palestinian - along the lines proposed by the then President Bill Clinton at the Camp David talks in 2000. That has long been acknowledged to be an absolute requirement of the Palestinians in any negotiations.

Mr Shoval, who was Israeli ambassador to the US at the time of the Madrid Middle East conference in 1991, said he had negotiated at the time an assurance from the then President George Bush senior that Jerusalem would not be on the conference's agenda. The same should apply to what he yesterday described to foreign reporters as the "Annapolis charade."

Mr Shoval—who quoted a Military Intelligence report claiming that the Palestinians would fail to carry out their commitments at the conference said that on Jerusalem Israeli sovereignty –including over the Temple Mount—known to Muslims as Haram al Sharif - were "non negotiable."

He said that could be achieved without Israel "taking charge" of Muslim holy sites. But he added: "Our approach today is that Jerusalem should not be on the table in Annapolis and that therefore we don’t want to go into details."

By contrast Mr Beilin wrote in Ynet earlier this week: "Continued declarations of a "united Jerusalem" are just empty slogans in a de facto divided Jerusalem. It's time to remove the mask and to act according to real Israeli interests: Namely, to reach a final status agreement that would allow the Palestinians to found a state alongside Israel with its capital in East Jerusalem."

Meanwhile Condoleeza Rice, the US Secretary of State, who is pressing the two sides to reach an outline accord ahead of Annapolis, seemed to have secured the support of a previously skeptical Egypt for going ahead with the conference as planned. The Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said after meeting Ms rice in Cairo that she "has helped us to understand the American objective. We feel encouraged regarding what we heard from Secretary Rice and promised her that we would help."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Learning Support Assistant - Newport

£65 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Due to the continual growth and...

Operations Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am currently recruiting for an Operati...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, Security Cleared

£100 - £110 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Ham...

Senior Digital Marketing Executive

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz