Acting PM: Jerusalem will not be divided
Acting Prime Minister Silvan Shalom responds to reports of US president's plans to make east Jerusalem Palestinian capital saying it will 'forever remain the eternal capital of the State of Israel'. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni says, 'We won't keep Jerusalem by saying no to everything'
US President Barack Obama's plan to present a new Mideast peace initiative, that will reportedly include making east Jerusalem the capital of a future Palestinian state, was at the center of Wednesday's Knesset plenum session on Jerusalem Day.
Acting Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said, "Jerusalem will not be divided. Jerusalem will forever remain the eternal capital of the State of Israel. This is not a promise, this is a fact."
Shalom, who was standing in for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is on his way back to Israel from Washington, added, "For every single Jew, Jerusalem is not just a capital city.
"Jerusalem is the beating heart of the Jewish people. Jerusalem is a symbol. Jerusalem is protected by the current government and previous governments' clear policy. We will never give up Jerusalem. Never."
The minister continued to say that "we disagree on many matters, but there is one thing that the overwhelming majority of us agree on without hesitation: Keeping Jerusalem as the State of Israel's eternal capital. There are no two Jerusalems. There is one Jerusalem. Jerusalem will never be up for compromise."
'Harness the world'Opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni took the podium after Shalom, and criticized the government: "There is a lot of talk about unified Jerusalem. Unfortunately, Jerusalem is also often used as a tool to divide the people, by those that have turned Jerusalem, the symbol of the Jewish people throughout the ages, into an election slogan."
The Kadima head continued to say, "I suggest to all of us on this day not to preach or divide the people into Jerusalem lovers, to those that are committed to it and those that are less. We all love it and are committed to the people of Israel to keep it."
Livni said talk of keeping the capital was not enough. "The State of Israel needs to have a vision, that will be translated into a plan, and if we are talking about a plan for the future – a way to maintain Israel, its security, its national interests and Jerusalem, it will turn the vision into an initiative and an Israeli plan.
"We will not hold on to Jerusalem by saying no to everything, if, out of fear, we adopt refusal as a policy and a standstill as an ideology. I believe, through the right conduct, we can harness the world to the things that are important to us, with which we can maintain Israel as the national home of the Jewish people and a democratic state – with Jerusalem as its eternal capital."