Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat criticized Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog Tuesday for his diplomatic plan that calls for relinquishing Arab neighborhoods in the capital in order to separate from the Palestinians.Herzog told the Jerusalem Conference of the Besheva newspaper Monday that neighborhoods like Shuafat and Isawiya were not what Jews prayed for when they asked God to enable them to return to Jerusalem.Barkat responded at the same conference Tuesday that it was wrong to divide Jerusalem and build walls within it.
"The idea of withdrawing from different areas inside Jerusalem is a dangerous, slippery slope," Barkat said. "It begins with conceding sovereignty over neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city, continues with concessions in the Old City, and from there it is a short path to conceding sovereignty over the Western Wall and indicating to the Palestinians that we will concede all our rights to this land."Barkat said that anyone who thought it was possible to divide Jerusalem was suffering from illusions. He said too many elements of how the city functions were too intertwined to make dividing the city possible. Herzog responded by noting that Barkat had recently joined Likud. He attributed the Jerusalem mayor's attack on his plan to internal Likud politics.