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Israel admits quota exists for Arabs in Jerusalem

SHARE Israel admits quota exists for Arabs in Jerusalem

Openly acknowledging a quota for the first time, Israeli government planners said Thursday that their goal is to keep the Palestinian population of disputed Jerusalem to no more than 30 percent.

The quota was described in a plan for Jerusalem's development through 2020, submitted to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by a special committee for Jerusalem.Palestinian leaders denounced the guidelines.

"This is a racist approach, part of the ethnic cleansing policy Israel is implementing against Arabs in east Jerusalem," said Ziad Abu Ziad, a member of the Palestinian legislative council from Jerusalem.

Palestinians accuse Israel of trying to keep down the number of Arab residents in the city by restricting building permits, demolishing homes built without licenses and revoking Arabs' residency permits.

The future of Jerusalem is to be negotiated in talks on a permanent Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. The talks have not yet begun, but, according to previous negotiations, are to conclude by May 1999.

The Palestinians want east Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. Israel says it will never relinquish sovereignty over the city, which was captured from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war.