Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat spoke out forcefully during an interview with the BBC, saying that splitting the capital as part of a future peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority would simply not work.

Regarding the idea of a two-state solution, the mayor said that “It depends. I hear what Hamas teaches in schools. I hear what the Palestinian Authority teaches in schools. They’re not teaching for love. They’re not claiming that they want co-existence. Hamas is not saying that. Hamas has a very clear charter: they want to get rid of us. Would you make a deal with someone who wants to get rid of you?”

He noted that in the long-term, should there be a party on the other side with whom Israel could negotiate, a two-state solution could work “with certain limitations,” but that in any case Jerusalem must remain the capital of the Jewish state.

He sharply contradicted the host’s assertion that Jerusalem is “occupied territory” by saying, “This is not occupied territory. From whom? From the Jordanians? From the British? From the Turks? Anywhere you put a shovel in the ground you find Jewish roots in Jerusalem.

“The vast majority of Arabs in east Jerusalem prefer a united city,” he continued. “Poll the public. They will tell you. The Arabs – the Muslims and the Christians – prefer a united city than, G-d forbid, a split city that will never work. There’s no working model in the world of a split city that ever worked. They all fail. They’re dysfunctional. Why go there when you know that it will never work and it’s not good for the future? It focuses on the divide rather than the common denominator.”

Barkat said that the world does not understand the Middle East and that the true challenge is to get the world to understand what is happening on the ground. “When you learn and understand the city, you understand that it can never be divided, not practically and not ideologically,” he said.

Regarding building plans, Barkat said the city’s master plan calls for “the expansion of Arab neighborhoods and Jewish neighborhoods. We cannot allow people to build by race or religion. We anticipate that Arabs will live in Arab neighborhoods and Jews will live Jewish neighborhoods. The master plan talks about an honest and fair expansion of the current neighborhoods, because if we don’t plan expansion in a smart way then Arabs will build illegally and Jews will not build and leave the city.”

For the full article: Israel National News


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