As festivities were held throughout Jerusalem this week, marking 28 years since the city’s reunification, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin declared that the city would remain united.
At its weekly Cabinet meeting, the ministers approved a resolution that said: “The government will act to reinforce the status of united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel only, and will fight any attempt to hurt this status.”
Rabin, speaking later at Ammunition Hill, said at a memorial ceremony for soldiers killed in the battle for Jerusalem that “there aren’t and won’t be two Jerusalem.”
“It is ours and will remain ours,” he added.
The prime minister made similar remarks Monday at a special Knesset session that marked Jerusalem Day.
The declarations came against the backdrop of the latest controversy over the planned expropriation of mostly Arab-owned land in eastern Jerusalem. The government froze those plans last week.
After the special addresses in the Knesset, the plenum debated no-confidence motions submitted by the opposition over the decision to freeze the expropriations. The coalition defeated the motions.
Rabin’s comments were criticized by members of the opposition, who said th negotiations with the Palestinians contradict his statements.
Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert, who was also invited to appear before the Cabinet Sunday, echoed the calls for a united Jerusalem with continued development.
However, he later lashed out at the prime minister for putting Jerusalem on the negotiating table with the Palestinians.
Under the Oslo accords, Israel and the Palestinians are to decide the final status of the city in negotiations scheduled to begin next year.