Olmert: No way of curbing Jerusalem Arabs

Israel has no way of preventing spontaneous terrorist attacks by Jerusalem Arabs, Ehud Olmert said.

The Israeli prime minister was asked during an appearance Monday before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee whether the security forces can prevent a repeat of the recent twin rampages by Palestinian bulldozer drivers in the capital.

“Whoever thinks it is possible to live with 270,000 Arabs in Jerusalem must take into consideration that there will be no way of preventing terror attacks of this kind – in bulldozers, tractors and cars,” Olmert said, according to an official briefing.

“If we continue with the current situation, we will have to accept that residents of Jerusalem can move freely around the entire country, and there is no way of knowing what they might do,” he said.

Olmert appeared to be alluding to proposals by some members of his government that Israel cede Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem to the Palestinians under a future peace deal.

But the prime minister, apparently seeking to allay right-wing concern that an accord affecting Jerusalem’s status is in the works, told the Knesset panel that he saw no way of addressing this issue in current talks with the Palestinian Authority.

President Bush wants Olmert and P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas to reach an accord before he steps down. Israeli and P.A. officials have said that such a deal, if reached, would likely discuss the border of a future Palestine while leaving Jerusalem and other more difficult issues to ongoing negotiations.

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