Olmert invites world to help him divide Jerusalem

Tuesday, September 02, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the weekend invited the international community to help him and the Palestinian Arabs divide the city of Jerusalem between them as part of a final status peace deal.

According to the proposal, major international powers like the European Union, the United States, Russia and the United Nations would be asked to act as official advisors in the process of partitioning the Israeli capital.

Olmert hoped that his latest concession over Jerusalem would convince Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to agree to an "shelf" final status peace agreement when the two men met on Sunday.

Olmert is reportedly determined to hammer out some kind of deal that will be binding on the next prime minister before he is officially ousted from power when his ruling Kadima Party holds its primary election later this month.

Israel Radio reported that it was Olmert's intention to fly to Washington with Abbas within the next two weeks to present an "agreement on principles" to US President George W. Bush, whom it is assumed would be pleased with that outcome, having previously declared that he would be the American leader to oversee an end to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

But Abbas was not biting, and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat later told Israeli reporters that the Palestinian leader insisted he would not sign any agreement that did not meet all his demands in full.

"Abbas told Olmert that we will not be part of an interim or shelf agreement. Either we agree on all issues, or no agreement at all," said Erekat.

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