Right-wing opposition leader Ariel Sharon repeated his rejection Thursday of a permanent accord with the Palestinians which would split Jerusalem and leave the Jordan Valley in the hands of the Palestinian Authority.
"It is not possible to arrive today at a permanent peace agreement because it is not possible to divide Jerusalem and to relinquish our security zones," Sharon said during a conference on global strategy in Herzilya.
Sharon, the leading candidate for prime minister in elections scheduled for February 6, proposed the Israelis and Palestinians implement interim accords "that would follow the progress in relations between the two parties".
Sharon insisted the Jordan Valley, which borders Jordan, must not be surrendered in any negotiations. He warned, in the hands of the Palestinian Authority, the Jordan Valley could destabilize Jordan with its large Palestinian population and ruling Hashemite minority.
"The permanent presence of Palestinians alongside the Jordanian border would threaten the existence of the Hashemite kingdom. We would put ourselves in a situation where a large Palestinian state exists alongside a tiny Israel," he said.
This week, caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Sharon's rival for premier, sent a delegation to Washington to discuss a final peace settlement with the Palestinians. The two sides are rumored to be discussing compromises on the sovereignty of Jerusalem and the Palestinian borders.
Barak, who resigned December 10, wants to make the February 6 election a referendum in Israel on peace with the Palestinians -- HERZLIYA, Israel (AFP)
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