Shas: If J'lem Even Mentioned in Annapolis, We'll Bolt Coalition

Minister Yishai tells Haaretz concession over J'lem could cause coalition to fall; 59 MKs oppose dividing capital.

If the division of Jerusalem is even mentioned at the regional peace summit in Annapolis next month, Shas will leave the government coalition, party chairman Minister Eli Yishai told Haaretz on Thursday.

Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu earlier this week threatened to quit the coalition over the contentious issue, prompting President Shimon Peres to say Wednesday that the government has no intention of dividing the city.

Speaking to Haaretz from Washington on Thursday, Yishai reiterated Shas' stance and said any "mention of Jerusalem" in the document to be prepared at the U.S.-sponsored summit would bring about a bolt from the religious party.

"It could bring about the disintegration of the government, depending on whether [Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor] Lieberman decides to do," Yishai said, adding he hoped the topic would not even be raised at the summit.

Meanwhile, 59 members of Knesset and ministers on Thursday signed a declaration opposing the division of Jerusalem in any future agreement with the Palestinian Authority. Five more MKs have promised to join on as signatories to the declaration, which was initiated by Minister Yisrael Katz.

According to the declaration, "We, the undersigned members of Knesset, support a whole and united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in accordance with the Basic Law of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The he Basic Law requires a majority of 61 for the concession of parts of Jerusalem or the authorities of Jerusalem."

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