French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday wrapped up his three-day visit to Israel with a meeting with opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who polls show is likely to be Israel's next prime minister.
During the meeting Netanyahu sought to set Sarkozy straight a day after the French leader told the Knesset that Israel should meet Arab demands to surrender half of Jerusalem and remove all Jews from Judea and Samaria for the sake of peace in the region.
Netanyahu reminded his guest that Jerusalem had for millennia been the very heart of the Jewish people, and that recent history had shown that only Israel would guarantee freedom of religion in the holy city.
Regarding Judea and Samaria, the so-called "West Bank," Netanyahu pointed out that with Hamas' recent electoral victory and its successful takeover of Gaza, it was clear Israel did not have a viable peace partner capable of meeting its security obligations in the Palestinian Authority. Removing the Jewish inhabitants of Judea and Samaria and handing the area over to the Palestinians would only perpetuate the conflict, not solve it, explained Netanyahu.