In a jolt to efforts to renew stalled peace talks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Tel Aviv will never cede control of united Jerusalem nor retreat to 1967 borders, the two core issues plaguing the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
“The Prime Minister has not changed his declared stance and insists in all his political talks that united Jerusalem will remain under Israeli sovereignty in any peace agreement, and that Israel’s defence borders will not be paved back to the 1967 lines,” a statement from the PMO said.
The statement comes in the wake of Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit’s remark in Cairo last week that Netanyahu was ready to discuss making “Arab Jerusalem” the capital of a Palestinian state.
Palestinians consider Jerusalem to be the Capital of their future independent state under a peace agreement and some Israeli leaders have in the past indicated that the division of the Holy city is inevitable for peace.
Israel annexed East Jerusalem that is home to sites sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the 1967 War.
Aboul Gheit reportedly said that Israel’s willingness to give the Palestinians “100 per cent of the West Bank” and its readiness to discuss Arab Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine indicates “openness, goodwill and a change compared to the past.”