Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett yesterday reiterated his rejection of having occupied Jerusalem as the “shared capital” of Israel and a Palestinian state.
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Israeli Army Radio reported Bennett, who heads the right-wing Jewish Home party, as saying that “it will not be possible to divide Jerusalem even after a thousand years”.
“Israel will not allow any concessions over its sovereignty. It took years to get rid of Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert and their proposals to give the Palestinians privileges; including control over the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he added.
The Israeli minister claimed that he is not against any political negotiations, or regional settlement with the Arabs, but “not at the expense of Israeli territory. We are a small country and we will not give the Arabs even a centimeter.”
Bennett’s remarks came after Israel’s Channel 10 reported on Monday that US President Donald Trump said that he was ready to put pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept the US peace plan, expected to be announced in a few months.
The Israeli channel quoted diplomatic sources as saying that Trump has explained to his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, during a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York last month that he could be firm in dealing with Netanyahu, as he was with the Palestinians.
According to the same sources, the French president said that his impression is that Netanyahu does not really want to advance the peace process, but seeks only to maintain the status quo.
The sources added that the US president responded by saying that he was coming to the same conclusion.