Jerusalem must be taken off the negotiating table, Transportation Minister and former defense minister Shaul Mofaz said Friday. Speaking to leaders of US Jewish organizations in New York, Mofaz said that reaching a final status agreement with the Palestinians by the end of the year would force Israel to give up on it very foundations and "sell" its national assets. The former defense minister went on to say that Israel should try and reach a gradual interim deal with the Palestinians since it was uncertain if the PA leadership could fulfill its agreements. He stressed that despite the need and willingness to bolster the moderate Palestinians, nothing should come at the expense of Israel's national security interests, saying that Israel must ensure it has defensible borders that can withstand every remaining test. Mofaz said that shelving an agreement with the Palestinians was unsuitable in light of the changing realities in the Middle East, warning that such a deal would be viewed by the Palestinians as a deposit, just like the Golan Heights are viewed by Damascus.