Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas avoided mentioning the status of Jerusalem in their mutual understanding at Annapolis, but the issue will be the center of negotiations between the two leaders. Shas party leader Eli Yishai used the absence of a formal statement on the fate of the united city as the basis for the party's remaining in the coalition. Shas has threatened it would quit if the Prime Minister agrees to cede parts of the capital to the PA.
"An explicit commitment now by Olmert to divide the holy city could break up his government," Reuters News Agency reported.
Announcing the agreement of understanding by Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert, American President George W. Bush stated that Israel would freeze development in Judea and Samaria, a declaration which the Prime Minister omitted in his speech at the conference.