The future of Jerusalem, a Holy City to both the Israelis and the Arabs, is expected to be a crucial issue when the Geneva Peace talks resume, possibly in February.
GV EXT Municipality Building
CU Sign "Jerusalem Municipality"
CU INT Mayor Kollsk speaks
"Now I believe that there are things that we cannot give up under any circumstances. Jerusalem has to remain united and jerusalem has to remain the capital of Israel. But even taking this into account there are many ways in which we can satisfy the various national needs of others. First of all, I am perfectly convinced that we can solve the problems of the holy places. The holy places of the Christians is no problem of ours. We gave long been agreed that they should administer them themselves and they are doing so. So pragmatically this problem had been solved. It would be a miserable city particularly here as we have to do so much in order to keep the city together and united it would only be playing on various political interests of the city.... would be more divided and less peaceful than it ever was before. This is why I believe even the Vatican has stopped for the last few years speaking about its internationalisation. The Arabs don't want it and we don't want it. So I think it will not come up. It would be a bad solution. And it would not make for the thing we most, mainly appreciate in Jerusalem and to which some extent we have achieved. It would not make for a peaceful city."
Initials BB/1730 DN/JB/GM/1726
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The future of Jerusalem, a Holy City to both the Israelis and the Arabs, is expected to be a crucial issue when the Geneva Peace talks resume, possibly in February.
The Israeli Government, which annexed the eastern sector of the city after the 1967 Six Day War, has said the city is not negotiable while the Arabs have said there will be no peace settlement in the Middle East unless Israel renounces its claim.
Although Israel nominated Jerusalem as its national capital in 1948, only a handful of nations have recognised the claim. Most have kept their embassies in Tel Aviv.
Last Sunday, (27 January), following an Israeli cabinet meeting which discussed the city's future the Mayor, Mr. Teddy Kollek, re-stated Israel's claim and stressed the need for the city to remain united.
However he acknowledged the necessity to accommodate the divergent political interests in the city.
Commenting on possible negotiating positions Mr. Kollek said opposed the "internationalisation" of the city, saying it would destroy Jerusalem's unity. He pointed out that it was also opposed by the Arab nations.
Mr. Kollek added he was certain an agreement over the Holy Places could be hammered out with the Arabs.