U.S. Official: Jerusalem Being Discussed

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli leaders are unhappy with U.S. Consul General Jacob Walles, who told the Palestinian daily al-Ayyam that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are talking about the status of Jerusalem, something the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has frequently denied.

According to the article, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made it clear during her most recent visit to Jerusalem that the basis of peace negotiations was an Israeli withdrawal to pre-1967 borders, which included ceding east Jerusalem to the Palestinians.

Israeli government officials called the consul general's remarks "highly inappropriate" because the U.S., Israel and the PA have agreed to keep negotiations secret.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, his spokesman Mark Regev, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said discussions on dividing the capital had not yet taken place. Olmert has stated repeatedly that the division of Jerusalem would be left for last.

State Department spokesman Scott McCormack released a general denial of Walles' remarks.

"The U.S. government has not taken a position on the borders," the statement read.

Meanwhile, Likud chairman and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu said the consul general's remarks simply confirmed what many Israelis already believe.

"The government lost all moral validity and legitimacy a long time ago," Netanyahu said. "The time has come to have an election," he said.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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