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Vice Premier Haim Ramon
Photo: Niv Calderon
Ramon hints division of Jerusalem to be discussed in Annapolis
Vice premier hints in cabinet meeting that fate of Israel's capital will be discussed in international peace conference in the US; says anyone thinking conference will address structure of PA institutes "is fooling himself"

The division of Jerusalem will be discussed in the November peace conference in Annapolis, Vice Premier Haim Ramon implied at Sunday's cabinet meeting.

 

"Whoever thinks that in the Annapolis conference the parties will be discussing the structure of institutions in the Palestinian Authority is fooling himself," he said.

 

"It is in Israel's interest that all the Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem receive international recognition, and that Arab neighborhoods like Wallaja and Shoafat are transferred to the Palestinians," Ramon said.

 

These statements came about one month after Ramon outlined his official political agenda, which included the division of Jerusalem and the establishment of joint sovereignty over the city's holy sites, and was presented in a letter to Kadima member Nir Barkat. 

 

"The Jewish neighborhoods will be recognized as Israeli and under Israeli sovereignty. Accordingly, the Arab neighborhoods (like Shoafat) will be recognized as Palestinian. Passages between the Israeli neighborhoods will be open and secure – accordingly the same will be true for the Palestinian neighborhoods," the letter said.

 

"There will be special sovereignty over the holy sites, taking into account Israel's unique interests in overseeing them. Within this framework the Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter and other holy sites in the Jerusalem vicinity will remain under Israeli rule forever."

 

The minister's plan was harshly criticized by members of his own party, who spoke out against it at a Kadima party convention.

 

"Jerusalem is not a piece of real estate, and no one has the authority to redivide it," Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz said.

 

Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, for his part, said Israel should unilaterally demarcate its final borders with the West Bank.

 

"It is a mistake to speak of a final agreement … We need to demand the demarcation of the borders as mentioned in Kadima's election program, which includes a united Jerusalem," he said.

 

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