ISRAEL to cede parts of Jerusalem : Better late than never

Posted on September 1, 2010

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Better late than never . The conflict between them has taken too long. Too many innocent lives had been lost at both countries.

ISRAEL is ready to cede parts of Jerusalem to the Palestinians in the framework of a peace deal, Defence Minister Ehud Barak said on Wednesday ahead of the start of talks in Washington.

Partition in Jerusalem – at the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict – would include a “special regime” for managing the city’s holiest sites, Mr Barak told Haaretz newspaper in an interview.

He said the killing of four Israelis by Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank on Tuesday should not stop the talks starting.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on Wednesday for their first face-to-face negotiations, has publicly balked at dividing the city.

Mr Barak’s disclosure suggested the Netanyahu government was willing to yield on Jerusalem, including its walled Old City where al-Aqsa, Islam’s third-holiest shrine, abuts the Western Wall, the vestige of Judaism’s two ancient temples and today a Jewish prayer plaza.

‘West Jerusalem and 12 Jewish neighborhoods that are home to 200,000 residents will be ours. The Arab neighbourhoods in which close to a quarter million Palestinians live will be theirs,’ said Mr Barak, who helped lay the groundwork for the US-sponsored summit. — REUTERS