Olmert: Divided Jerusalem Is Inevitable

Says new Palestinian state is his first priority
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2008 6:22 AM CST
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert eats a red grapefruit as he attends an event at the agricultural center in Beit Dagan, Israel, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2008. Israelis must understand that even their country's...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Israelis must accept that Jerusalem will probably be divided if and when a Palestinian state is established, Israeli PM Ehud Olmert said in a New Year's interview, charging that his political rivals have not "internalized" that reality, and their reluctance threatens the future of Israel. "The world that is friendly to Israel, when it speaks of the future, it speaks of Israel in terms of the '67 borders. It speaks of the division of Jerusalem," he told the Jerusalem Post.

Olmert said he envisions an Israel that would retain some of the territories beyond the so-called Green Line but would cede East Jerusalem to a new Palestinian state. The PM expresses considerable sympathy for Palestinian objections to the growth of Israeli settlements, but he backed the recent controversial housing projects beyond the Green Line and stressed he would never accept a Palestinian "right to return."