Barak: Jerusalem And Al-Quds will be Side by Side
If a peace agreement is signed with the Palestinians, it will include Jerusalem and Al-Quds as two capitals, Prime Minister Ehud Barak said for the first time Wednesday in a Rosh Hashana interview with The Jerusalem Post, to be published in full Friday.
One government official was quoted by the daily as saying this is the first time Barak has spoken publicly of Jerusalem and Al-Quds as separate entities, and of Al-Quds as capital of a future Palestinian entity.
"I do not know if there will be an agreement," Barak said. "But if there is an agreement it will include an end to the conflict, permanent borders for Israel recognized by the world, 80 percent of the settlers in Judea and Samaria under Israeli sovereignty in settlement blocks, security arrangements, principally along the eastern border, and Jerusalem bigger than ever since King David - with a solid Jewish majority for generations, united under our sovereignty, and recognized by the world as the capital of Israel,” Barak told the Israeli daily.
He continued: "Now I don't want to enter details. There will also be a Palestinian capital that will be called Al-Quds. It will also include what we agree upon, but the final result will be Jerusalem that will include Givat Ze'ev, Ma'aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion - big in territory, including all, almost all, the Jewish neighborhoods, and as a result it will make Israel stronger.”
Pressed on the Al-Quds suggestion, Barak said: "It will be Jerusalem and Al-Quds, one next to the other, as two capitals. But with Jerusalem with dozens of embassies from all over the world, and Jerusalem under the guidelines that we established. It was no coincidence that I said that no Jewish prime minister will sign on a paper, document, or agreement that transfers the sovereignty of the Temple Mount to the Palestinians or to an Islamic body.”
Asked by the paper whether he would agree to transfer the Temple Mount to an international body like the UN, or a combination of the UN and some specific Muslim countries, Barak said he did not want to discuss the issue at this point.
Barak’s statement is likely to add to the crisis he faces with hardline Israelis, who accuse him of offering unprecedented compromises to the Palestinians.
Palestinians and Israeli negotiaters are holding three-day separate talks with officials in Washington, in an effort seen as last ditch attempt to revive the peace process and reach a final agreement to end the 52-year conflict – Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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