Every single member of the current government insists on Israel retaining sovereignty throughout Jerusalem, Housing Minister Uri Ariel said on Friday.
Ariel, a member of the right-wing Orthodox Jewish Home party who believes that Israel should annex the entire West Bank, declared, “This is a Zionist government, it must be said. All of them, without exception, agree that Jerusalem the capital of Israel will not be divided. It is one. It is ours. We have no partners in Jerusalem apart from the Jewish people in its entirety.”
During a visit Friday with settlers in the divided West Bank city of Hebron, reported Channel 2 news, Ariel’s car was pelted with eggs by Jewish extremists opposed to his presence in a government that is discussing territorial compromise with the Palestinians.
The Netanyahu government has been negotiating with the Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas since last July on terms for a peace agreement.
Reports this week claimed considerable progress had been made on the core issue of territorial compromise, with Israel willing to relinquish 90% of the West Bank and both sides agreeing in principle that the majority of Jewish West Bank settlements would be transferred to Israeli sovereignty in a final status deal.
Citing anonymous Israeli, Palestinian and American sources close to the negotiations, Walla News reported on Thursday that Israel is seeking to annex about 10 percent of the West Bank’s land area in a final deal. Meanwhile, the Palestinians are seeking to have Israel annex only around 3% of the West Bank, the report said. Some 70-80% of Jewish West Bank settlements will be transferred to Israel whether Israel retains 10% or 3% of West Bank land, the report noted.
However, discussions on the fate of Jerusalem — including the eastern part of the city and the Old City, captured by Israel in the 1967 war and annexed, but sought by the Palestinians for the capital of their state — have not made any significant progress, according to sources close to the negotiations.