Daily Israel Report

Olmert’s ‘Bitter Mistake’ on Jerusalem

Olmert “lost his faith in Jerusalem” says Mayor Nir Barkat.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 5/20/2012, 7:31 PM

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat
Flash 90

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat criticized a former Jerusalem mayor, ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert, over Olmert’s failed plan to split Jerusalem with the Palestinian Authority. The plan stalled when the PA left talks without signing an agreement.

“Olmert makes a bitter mistake in thinking that separation, not unity, is the solution. His words are demagoguery,” Barkat said on Sunday.

“He lost his faith in Jerusalem when he was mayor,” he continued. “He wants to run from conflicts in Jerusalem and give in to them, instead of coping with them and directing them. That is not the way.”

Most Israelis, most Jerusalem residents, and even most Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem, are not interested in splitting the city, Barkat added.

Olmert said over the weekend, “I came to very sad conclusions regarding the future of Jerusalem as a united city when I saw that governments were not able, or maybe did not want, to invest the necessary resources so that unity would be more than a slogan.”

During his time as mayor, Olmert led toward division in the city by neglecting eastern Jerusalem, said Barkat. “In my time in office,” he said, “hundreds of millions are invested – with support from the Prime Minister and his cabinet – in an unprecedented campaign to shrink the gaps in the eastern part of the city.”

“I have no doubt that the right thing to do in Jerusalem is to continue to invest and to unify instead of running away and hiding our heads in the sand – as was done in the past,” he concluded.