"Moderate" Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday reiterated that he will never make peace with Israel unless he is guaranteed sovereign control over the eastern half of Jerusalem.
In an interview with an Arabic-language Russian television station, Abbas said the Palestinians would not accept the compromise of establishing their capital in Abu Dis, a town on Jerusalem's eastern outskirts that is already under Palestinian control.
Previous American administrations had tried to convince the Palestinians to set up their capital in Abu Dis, which for all intents and purposes is part of Greater Jerusalem, and even helped build a parliament building there.
But Abbas insisted that all areas of the holy city that until 1967 were under illegal Jordanian occupation must return to Arab rule, including the various neighborhoods where tens of thousands of Jews live today and the Old City, home to the Temple Mount.
Abbas was adamant that he would not even talk to the Israelis until a full and complete freeze on Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem was implemented.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu maintains that Jerusalem will never again be divided, and the vast majority of Israelis support that position.
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