JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST Feb. 13, 2008
“Vice Premier Haim Ramon and PA negotiator Mohammad Rashid have agreed on a plan to divide Jerusalem,” Jerusalem municipal opposition leader Nir Barkat said Wednesday, following a letter he received from Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Livni was answering Barkat’s request that she respond to the Jerusalem Post report about secret negotiations on the future of capital.
Barkat, a former Kadima member, has led a public campaign against the proposed division of the capital. On January 22, he said that a decision to freeze building in east Jerusalem would make Prime Minister Ehud Olmert the first Israeli prime minister since the end of the British mandate in 1948 to enact ‘a White Paper’ for the capital, a reference to the infamous 1939 British policy which limited Jewish immigration to Palestine.
In her letter, Livni wrote:
“At Annapolis, it was agreed that Israel and the Palestinians would conduct negotiations on all the core issues without exception.
“The negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian delegations are being conducted with agreement from both sides that until there is an accord on every issue there will be no accord on any issue and that the contents of the negotiations must not be disclosed.”
She said that from past experience, Israel had learned that conducting negotiations “under the floodlights” will not contribute to Israel’s goals and that “for this reason, and this reason only, I have neither related to reports about agreements seemingly reached during negotiations and nor will I do so in the future.”
“You cannot conclude anything from my lack of response and the absence of a denial is not any form of confirmation,” stressed the foreign minister.
Following the foreign minister’s response, Barkat said: “Livni’s letter exposes more than anything the fraudulent peace process led by Ramon and the prime minister. Livni refuses to reveal the vital information she knows, of which I was informed by senior officials, that there is a secret channel led by Haim Ramon and Mohammad Rashid and not by the Foreign Ministry.”
Barkat went on to say that the fact that Livni was aware of the reported secret channel and refused to admit it to the public “turns her into an active partner in the fraudulent peace process of which the true aim is to divide Jerusalem.”
Ramon denied the report, saying Barkat’s claims were “absurd and unfounded.”