Splitting Jerusalem, as the Palestinian Authority is demanding, would be a grave mistake, as much so for Arabs as for Jews, said Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat Sunday. “There are people who are pushing for the city to be split. They are making a huge error,” said Barkat.
In its latest round of demands, the Palestinian Authority (PA) reiterated that it expected Israel to vacate large parts of Jerusalem as the price for a final-status agreement. The PA claims Jerusalem as its capital, and demands that Israel withdraw from all land liberated in the 1967 Six Day War – including areas such as Ramot, Har Homa, Pisgat Ze'ev, and many others.
But doing so would hurt everyone, Arabs included, said Barkat. “We have a city that is a model of openness for everyone.” Jerusalem is a prosperous, well-maintained and well-ordered place that provided good living conditions for everyone, Israeli and Arab – and the Arab residents of the city know it. “We are not far from the day when the large majority of Arabs in Jerusalem will also be against splitting the city,” the mayor said. “They want to be part of Jerusalem's successes.”
The more Israeli Arabs work together with the state, the more they will benefit, said Barkat. “The future is better for Arabs with a united Jerusalem. They are invited to take part in it with us.”
Barkat made the comments Sunday at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York.