Israel MKs Slam Jerusalem Mayor for Suggesting Surrender of Palestinian Neighborhoods

Haaretz report cites Nir Barkat as saying that Israel should give up parts of capital beyond separation fence; Right-wing MK: Mayor's comments advocate treason.

Right-wing lawmakers lashed out Friday at a statement attributed to Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat and reported by Haaretz earlier in the day, according to which Israel should relinquish Jerusalem's Palestinian neighborhoods beyond the separation barrier.

In the Haaretz report, Barkat added that the separation between West and East Jerusalem should take place, despite the fact that Palestinian residents of the neighborhoods beyond the barrier hold Israeli ID cards.

Silwan Emil Salman
Emil Salman

Reopening to Barkat's comments later Friday, top Likud official MK Ze'ev Elkin criticized the Jerusalem mayor for advocating "an injury against the completeness and unity of Jerusalem."

"The areas Barkat wants to subtract from the city's territory are part sovereign Israeli land and are protected by the Jerusalem Basic Law as well as by the referendum law passed in the Kneeste," Elkin said.

The Likud MK said that the exclusion of Palestinian areas "was a terrible mistake that only increased the Palestinian population within the city and undermined the security situation, specifically in the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood."

"Anyone who wishes to add insult to injury turning Jerusalem neighborhoods into the 'Gaza Strip' will turn all of Jerusalem into Sderot," he said, adding: "We won't let that happen."

Also commenting to the Haaretz report, National Union MK Aryeh Eldad said that "Nir Barkat is ignoring section 97 of the criminal law, according to which any act contributing to the extraction of sovereign land from the state and to the hands of another state is an act of treason."

"Barkat is trying to play prime minister and set diplomatic changes in motion instead of enforcing his authorities as mayor on all of Jerusalem's part," Eldad said.