Abbas and Livni Say Jerusalem Being Negotiated, Shas Denies

PA Chairman Abbas says negotiations over Jerusalem are underway. FM Livni confirms that PM Olmert’s promise to Shas has been broken. Shas denies.

Ezra HaLevi,

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas insists that negotiations taking place between Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei (Abu Allah) are dealing with the status of Jerusalem. Livni confirmed the claim in a closed meeting with diplomats. 

If true, it runs contrary to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s promise to the Shas Party that such talks are not taking place. Shas has declared that it will bolt the coalition and bring down the government the moment talks over Jerusalem ensue.

Abbas made the statements before meeting with European Parliament members in Ramallah Thursday. FM Livni herself confirmed the negotiations in a meeting with foreign diplomats a few days ago.

Arutz Sheva's Haggai Huberman reported that FM Livni explicitly confirmed that in negotiations with Qurei they are dealing with “all core-issues, including Jerusalem.” She acknowledged that the negotiations contradict commitments given to Shas by the prime minister, Huberman's diplomatic sources said.

Shas Spokesman Roi Lachmanovitch dismissed the report. “Nobody is talking about Jerusalem,” he told Arutz Sheva. “The moment Jerusalem is being discussed Shas will leave the government – period.”

Asked if he is saying that Foreign Minister Livni is lying, he said: “I am not saying she is lying – but I am saying that absolutely nobody is negotiating over Jerusalem.”

Shas Party Chairman Eli Yishai seemed to be heralding his party’s eventual exit from the government Thursday, telling party activists in Tiberias that he expects new national elections to take place before the local municipal elections in November.