Jerusalem should remain the "undivided capital of Israel," an aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday, clarifying Israel's position after published comments from defense minister Ehud Barak suggested division was a possibility.
"The position of the prime minister is that Jerusalem is one of the core issues that are on the table at the talks," the aide said.
"Our position is that Jerusalem will remain the undivided capital of Israel."
In an interview published earlier Wednesday, Barak suggested parts of Jerusalem could be handed over to the Palestinians.
West Jerusalem and 12 Jewish "neighborhoods" -- settlements in Arab east Jerusalem -- would remain in Israel's hands.
"The Arab neighborhoods in which close to a quarter million Palestinians live will be theirs," he told the Haaretz newspaper.
Control over annexed Arab east Jerusalem has been a key issue during 17 years of on-off negotiations. Israel considers Jerusalem its "eternal and indivisible" capital, while the Palestinians want east Jerusalem to be the capital of their promised state.
The United States, meanwhile, said it welcomed discussion on all issues key to peace.
Source: AFP Global Edition