2008-07-28 12:55:25 GMT 2008-07-28 20:55:25 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert attends a Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee meeting at parliament in Jerusalem July 28, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
JERUSALEM, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday there would be no chance for Israel and the Palestinians to reach a peace accord that includes the issue of Jerusalem by the end of 2008.
"I don't believe we can reach an understanding this year that includes the Jerusalem issue," Olmert was quoted by local daily Ha'aretz as saying to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
"There is no practical chance of reaching an overall understanding on Jerusalem."
"Whoever thinks it's possible to live with 270,000 Arabs in Jerusalem must take into account that there will be more bulldozers, more tractors, and more cars carrying out (terror) attacks," he said.
As to the other final status issues in the staggering peace talks such as borders and the return of Palestinian refugees, the prime minister said "the gaps aren't so dramatic."
Israeli and Palestinian National Authority (PNA) negotiation teams, headed by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei respectively, are set to arrive at Washington Wednesday for a three-way meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz are also scheduled to join the Israeli delegation.
Ha'aretz reported that Rice is pressuring Israel and the PNA to try to agree on a document of understandings ahead of the United Nations General Assembly in September.
Rice wants to use the UN General Assembly to present a document summarizing the progress during the latest nine months of the peace talks relaunched at a U.S.-sponsored peace conference in November, according to a senior official in the Israeli government.