Arab neighbourhoods in Jerusalem can be Palestinian capital, - Ehud Barak

Some Arab neighbourhoods of Jerusalem could form the capital of the future Palestinian state, a senior Israeli minister said in an interview Wednesday. ( dpa )

"Our basic position is that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel but that we can find a formula under which certain neighbourhoods, heavily populated Arab neighbourhoods, could become in a peace agreement part of the Palestinian capital that of course will include also the neighbouring villages around Jerusalem," Defence Minister Ehud Barak told the al-Jazeera news channel.

He did not mention whether that would include quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem, which houses the disputed Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary, sacred to both Jews and Muslims.

Barak heads Israel's centre-left Labour Party, the largest coalition partner in the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of the ruling, centrist Kadima faction.

A former prime minister, he already offered Palestinian sovereignty in parts of Arab East Jerusalem during the 2000 Camp David peace negotiations with late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

But those negotiations ended in stalemate, paving the way for the outbreak of years of tit-for-tat violence and a freeze in the peace process.

Olmert and current Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas revived the peace negotiations late last year, pledging the strive to reach an agreement before US President George W Bush leaves office in January 2009.

But Olmert has said he wants to postpone a settlement on the highly-sensitive issue of Jerusalem until later and instead reach a framework agreement on other core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Aides to Abbas have said the Palestinian president has refused to leave Jerusalem out of an agreement.

Olmert's announcement that he will resign after his party elects a new leader later this month has cast further doubt on whether the sides will meet their end-of-year deadline to reach a deal. The Israeli premier is under police investigation into suspicions of corruption. His announcement has made early elections next spring, a year ahead of schedule, likely.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and has since annexed, as the capital of their future state.

Israel however wants Jewish settlements built on West Bank land in and near East Jerusalem to be part of its capital, and has vowed that it will continue to build in those settlements.

"We are not expanding (settlements.) We didn't announce even a single new settlement, but there is a well-known dispute. We clearly believe that within Jerusalem we have the right to build as we need," Barak said.

On another highly-sensitive issue in the negotiations, Barak said no Israeli prime minister would allow large numbers of Palestinian refugees to return to what is now Israel.

"I can't see any Israeli prime minister, right or left, past or future, who will agree to accept even a single Palestinian refugee into Israel based on the right of return. That was my position when I was prime minister. It was the position of any prime minister, from Rabin to Peres from Shamir to Begin, and it will be the position of Israel in the future," he said.

Israel may nonetheless allow the return of some refugees in "certain humanitarian" cases on a "very limited scale," he said. He was referring to family reunification, Barak said.

He confirmed that Israel's controversial West Bank barrier would form the basis for the future border between it and the future Palestinian state.

But Israel would change the route of the barrier and rebuild it in areas where it would deviate from the agreed-on border.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Iran's Minister of Roads and Urban Development visits Syria
Iran's Minister of Roads and Urban Development visits Syria
Iran FM to visit China in coming days - MFA
Iran FM to visit China in coming days - MFA
Iran partially paying out compensations to relatives of 2020 Ukraine plane crash victims
Iran partially paying out compensations to relatives of 2020 Ukraine plane crash victims
Loading Bars
Goranboy regional prosecutor's office launches investigation into resident hitting mine
Resident of Azerbaijani Goranboy region hits mine
Erdogan receives Serbia's Vucic to discuss ties, Balkans
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Iran preparing plans on gas extraction from territory of Iranian Central Oil Fields Company
Azerbaijan confirms 930 more COVID-19 cases, 703 recoveries
Uzbekistan introduces new mechanisms to support its capital market
President Ilham Aliyev calls President Vladimir Putin
Kazakhstan launches investigative procedures against wholesalers of liquefied gas
Money transfers from Georgia up
Price indexes of construction, trade sectors at Uzbek stock exchange rise
Kazakh crude production inches up - OPEC
Uzbekistan sells number of its large enterprises as part of privatization program
Russian Economy Ministry unveils priority spheres for co-op with Azerbaijan
Kazakhstan approves operational action plan to stabilize internal socio-economic situation
Baku residents express their gratitude to President Ilham Aliyev for highly appreciating activity of Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation holds general meeting (PHOTO)
Overall index of Tehran Stock Exchange drops on Jan. 18
Uzbekistan reveals volume of mortgage loans issued in 2021
Expenses of Turkish citizens in Georgia increase
SOFAZ’s budget revenues up
ANAMA talks heavily mined Azerbaijan's territories
SOFAZ sees significant increase in revenues from oil & gas agreements
Georgia reveals its major motor oil supplying countries
Azerbaijan’s State Oil Fund sees increase in assets
Growth of Azerbaijan's non-oil sector reaches all-time high
Chief of General Staff of Azerbaijani Army meets with Bulgarian delegation (PHOTO)
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds
FAO eyes another Partnership Programme on Food and Agriculture project in Turkmenistan
Azerbaijan to see increase in asylum seekers - deputy chairman of Supreme Court
Central Bank of Azerbaijan works consistently to curb inflation
Iran unveils amount of honey gathered countrywide
Kazakhstan’s Atyrau Oil Refinery to buy gaseous nitrogen via tender
Kazakhstan's economic growth is expected to accelerate in 2022 - Renaissance Capital
New military facilities commissioned in Azerbaijani liberated territories (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijan increases marketable oil and gas production
Russia starts manufacturing reactor for Kudankulam nuclear power plant
Number of foreigners receives labour permits in Azerbaijan - State Migration Service
Azerbaijan eyes to raise quota for issuing labor permits to foreigners this year - State Migration Service
India at UNSC: Looking forward to Sudan's successful completion of transition phase
Uzbekistan notes growth in macroeconomic indicators
Jaishankar speaks with EU counterpart, discusses Afghanistan, Myanmar
OPEC expects Azerbaijan to boost oil output in 2022
UK regulator fines Mastercard, others for prepaid cards cartel
PM Modi: Best time to invest in India, multilateral institutions need reforms
Ministry unveils number of companies with Russian capital in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani citizens without COVID-19 passports won't be allowed to buy tickets for bus trips to liberated lands
Azerbaijan creates website for trips to liberated Karabakh
Iran strikes deal with Romania for export of technical, engineering services
No mine threat in Azerbaijan's Shusha - ANAMA
Gas transportation through South Caucasus Pipeline increases
Azerbaijan plans to demine tens of thousands of hectares of liberated territories - ANAMA
USAID’s support can increase foreign direct investment in Turkmenistan - official
UNHCR thanks Azerbaijan
Indian Prime Minister delivers ‘State of World’ special address at World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda
Largest philanthropist not only in Azerbaijan, but also in South Caucasus is Heydar Aliyev Foundation - President Ilham Aliyev
Kazakhstan discloses systematic measures to reduce inflation rate
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan's oil transportation from Azerbaijan down
I was offered few alternative locations for statue, and I chose this place, because it is place worthy of name of Zeynalabdin Taghiyev - president
Kazakhstan's President Tokayev to be elected chairman of Nur Otan party soon - First President of Kazakhstan
By sending hundreds of students to Russia and Europe, Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev clearly thought about future - President Ilham Aliyev
As result of Heydar Aliyev Foundation's activities, Azerbaijan is better known, and it was this factor that helped us during Second Karabakh War - President Ilham Aliyev
Today, Heydar Aliyev Foundation faces new tasks - President Ilham Aliyev
Sinopec gets first LNG cargo under new deal with Qatar
Brent to breach $100/bbl as demand weathers virus surge- Goldman Sachs
Azerbaijan ranks among top aviation fuel exporters to Georgia
I'm on deserved rest in capital and haven't left anywhere - first president of Kazakhstan
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for January 18
Russia documents 31,252 daily COVID-19 cases, highest number since December 6
USAID supports Turkmen government and local partners to improve securities market
Websites that will make the work of Graphic Designers easier
UNHCR discloses number of Azerbaijani refugees provided with legal assistance before Second Karabakh War (PHOTO)
Production of Iran's Khorasan Steel Company increases
National Iranian Oil Company to take steps on development of North Pars gas field
Azerbaijan fils lawsuits against Armenia to European Court of Human Rights
Non-OPEC crude oil supply to continue upward trend by 2023
Visitors from Azerbaijan to Georgia spend less in 2021 - NBG
Europe to see increase in jet fuel demand – JP Morgan
Iran’s NISOC announces date for launch of extraction from Kish gas field
Israel sticks with 4th vaccine shot, sees Omicron wave waning in a week
Uzbek Central Bank shares data on volume of reserve assets and gold reserves
Azerbaijani public representatives send appeal to French President
Iran's economic growth improves - CBI
Oil demand set to rise by 2023, says JP Morgan
Central Bank of Iran discloses amount of loans issued for agricultural sector
Azerbaijan increases wine imports from Georgia
Epsilon obtains industrial gas inflow from new well at field in Uzbekistan
AFAB Cataract Campaigns on Int’l Day of Elderly in Niger (FOTO)
JP Morgan expects Azerbaijan’s oil output to decline in 2022-2023
Amount of loans issued by Iranian banks soars
NIOC intends to extract gas from Iran-Saudi Arabia joint Farzad B gas field
Azerbaijani FM leaves for Austria on working visit
Iran sees increase in trade turnover with ECO member states
UAE bourses open in red after Houthi attack on Abu Dhabi
Time of market test for Greece-North Macedonia gas pipeline announced
Azerbaijan holding talks on regular flights to Fuzuli Int’l Airport – deputy minister
Georgia reveals wine export growth dynamics in strategic markets
Azerbaijan reveals procedure of buying tickets for bus trips to liberated lands
Trips to Azerbaijan's liberated areas on all routes to be carried out in one day - ministry
At first stage only Azerbaijani citizens allowed to visit Karabakh – deputy minister
All news