Barak: Israel ready to divide Jerusalem

Sept. 1, 2010 at 7:31 AM
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JERUSALEM, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- In the framework of a peace deal with the Palestinians, Israel is willing to partition Jerusalem, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.

In an interview with Haaretz newspaper Wednesday, Barak said while the gaps remain wide and are of a "fundamental nature," he believes there is a real chance to achieve peace with the Palestinians, based on a two-state solution and the division of Jerusalem.

"I'm not saying that there is a certainty for success, but there is a chance. This chance must be exploited to the fullest," he told the newspaper.

Outlining the principles of a peace deal, the Israeli defense minister revealed his vision concerning Israel's capital city.

"West Jerusalem and 12 Jewish neighborhoods that are home to 200,000 residents will be ours. The Arab neighborhoods in which close to a quarter million Palestinians live will be theirs. There will be a special regime in place along with agreed upon arrangements in the Old City, the Mount of Olives and the City of David."

The conclusion of talks he said must achieve two states for two nations, an end to the conflict and the end of all future demands. The demarcation of a border that will run inside Israel where a solid Jewish majority will remain for generations, and on the other side a demilitarized Palestinian state, he said. Comprehensive security arrangements must also be made, he added.

The future Palestinian state must be viable politically, economically and territorially, he said.

All the settlement blocs will remain in Israel's hands and isolated settlements will be relocated into the larger blocs or inside Israel, he said.

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