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Fareed speaks with the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, about the prospects for a peace plan that includes East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. Watch the video for more.
What are the solutions?
Well, I'll leave that to the national government. You can call Ramallah the center of the Palestinian people. They could bring their embassy to Jerusalem. They, today, have freedom of movement, freedom of religion. Today's Jerusalem is an open, international city. And, by the way, it's doing extremely well. Jerusalem, if you look at the trends in the city of Jerusalem, our economy has been growing 8 percent from year to year. Satisfaction of all residents – Muslims, Christians, the ultra-Orthodox, secular – is at a rise. Our crime rates are one tenth an average of any American city. When I fly to the States, I pray, because I know I'm 10 times more exposed to crime in the United States than I am back home in Jerusalem. And all of that – economy going north, crime rates going south, all of that – we must be doing something right.
And 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...
A very clear no. I'm committed to serving all my residents – the Muslim, the Christian, the Jewish residents. For me, they're all the same. That's what the Jewish tradition, that's what the Jewish bible says. You've got to treat everyone equally. And that's exactly what we're doing. And there are gaps to close on the Arab neighborhoods and the Jewish neighborhoods. And I'm committed to closing those gaps. And that's why you see...
But I've never met a Palestinian negotiator who would accept that position, that they cannot have a capital in a part of Jerusalem.
Well, I think the demand...
So does that mean – peace is unlikely?
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. And unfortunately, sometimes I feel that Israel does not have a partner to negotiate with, because the charter of…many of the Palestinians and our neighbors is to destroy Israel. And when somebody wants to destroy Israel, sometimes we feel that this is a salami-style negotiations. Let's take a piece now, and then we'll argue about the rest. The whole concept of negotiating with the Palestinians has to take another route. They have to understand that Jerusalem will never function as, God forbid, a divided city.
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