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Israeli ministers call for redrawing Jerusalem boundaries, home demolitions, and deporting activists

July 27, 2008 11:00 P.M. (Updated: July 27, 2008 11:00 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz warned during the weekly Israeli cabinet meeting held on Sunday that Jerusalem is becoming "a terror hub," and called for the government to adopt policies of demolishing homes, closing areas, and exiling Palestinian activists and their families in response to these "new threats."

Responding to Mofaz, Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon said: "Those who think that the problem of Jerusalem and terror is limited, and that destroying houses will help resolve this problem, are burying their heads in the sand. The main question is whether the government wants Jabal Mukaber and Sur Baher as part of the state of Israel state or not. Those who want the fence to be east of Sur Baher actually determine that Jerusalem will live with the terrorist threat posed by the 175,000 Palestinians [in East Jerusalem] with no affinity to Israel."

Ramon added, "Israel's interest lies in separating from the Palestinian villages and neighborhoods which have never been part of Jerusalem, and which threaten its identity as the capital of Israel and a Jewish Zionist city."

For his part, Yuval Diskin, head of the Israeli General Security Services or "Shabak," said that there is a lack of authority in Palestinian neighborhoods located near the separation wall in the Jerusalem area. He explained that these areas do not fall under Israeli army or police authority, and that Hamas has started to take control in places like Abu Dis and Al-'Azariyya.

He remarked that sending Israeli security forces into Shuafat, in East Jerusalem, requires greater numbers and stronger forces than an operation in Jenin.

Diskin also reported to members of the government that Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem are witnessing an active trade in street weapons.

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