"The Palestinian Authority will not negotiate, and will not sign any agreement with Israel that does not include Jerusalem," said lead negotiator Ahmed Qureia this week.
Palestinian news agency Maan quoted Qureia as saying the above during a meeting with the leader of the Islamic Movement in northern Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah. The controversial sheikh provided Qureia at the meeting with a number of Israeli documents and maps he alleges contain proof of Israel's plans for Judaizing the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount by establishing synagogues along the perimeter of the Western Wall.
Qureia told Sheikh Salah that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has sought to postpone discussion on sovereignty over Jerusalem, one of the core issues in the ongoing peace talks with the PA along with the right of return and the withdrawal from the West Bank.
"The Palestinian leadership is determined not to negotiate or agree to anything with the Israeli side without Jerusalem, the reason for putting off this discussion is so that Israel can go forward with its plans to Judaize the holy city, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in particular," Qureia is quoted as saying.
"The Palestinian people condemn the harming of places that are sacred to them, to Muslims and to Christians, and sees this as the crossing of a red line and an attempt to forcibly assert a reality on the ground with the intent of creating a precedent that will impact the permanent arrangement."
Sheikh Salah expressed his support of the Palestinian leadership's actions in regards to Jerusalem. He called for an end to the internal Palestinian conflict between Hamas and Fatah, saying that unity was
required "to triumph over the challenges and dangers threatening the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The continued schism gives Israel a green light to continue pursuing its policy of Judaizing Jerusalem."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said last week he hopes the statements made by Olmert regarding territorial concessions Israeli must make will serve as a "deposit" for the next government.
"(I am saying) what no previous Israeli leader has ever said: we should withdraw from almost all of the territories, including in east Jerusalem and in the Golan Heights," Olmert told Yedioth Aharnoth in a special interview ahead of Rosh Hashana.