Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem, was on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria show the other day. He said Jerusalem must, God forbid, never be divided. “You can call Ramallah the center of the Palestinian people; they can bring their embassy to Jerusalem.” Good luck having a state if all you have is a “center of life.”
ZAKARIA: How would you divide the city; can it be divided because the Palestinians say that they must have a capital in Jerusalem, East Jerusalem. A lot of Israelis feel, no, undivided Jerusalem must be the capital of Israel. Is there a solution?
BARKAT: Let me take you back 3,000 years. Jerusalem is the capital of the world, the temple among the middle, and it was never divided among the tribes….
ZAKARIA: But what do you say to a Palestinian who says, yes, but you have your capital. If we are to have our state, we have to have our capital? Where would that capital – ?
BARKAT: There are solutions to that, but there is not a solution of, God forbid, dividing the city of Jerusalem. It will never function. It’s against the DNA of the city.
And by the way, there is not one example of a city in the world that ever got split and became functional.
ZAKARIA: What are the solutions? What are the solutions?
BARKAT: Well, I leave that for the national government. You can call Ramallah the center of the Palestinian people; they can bring their embassy to Jerusalem…
ZAKARIA: For you, the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, which is where the Palestinians would like to put their state, you think it would not be possible to have a Palestinian capital?
BARKAT: A very clear no…
ZAKARIA: I’ve never met a Palestinian negotiator who would accept that position, that they cannot have a capital in a part of Jerusalem. Does that mean peace is unlikely?
BARKAT: I think it’s a demand that has to be off the table, because whoever raises such a demand doesn’t understand the importance of the city of Jerusalem as a united city.
P.S. Theodor Herzl the founder of political Zionism on many occasions promised the czar, the Pope, the kaiser, and the sultan that Jerusalem would remain an international city. Under the U.N. Partition plan, Jerusalem was to be an international city apart from the two states alongside it. Thus Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem in 1967 was considered illegal.