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Sarkozy Ends Israel Visit, Says Jerusalem Must Be Shared

  • VOA News

French President Nicolas Sarkozy wrapped up a three-day visit to Israel Tuesday, declaring that Jerusalem must be shared by both Israelis and Palestinians.

Mr. Sarkozy said Jerusalem is a holy city for Jews, Christians and Muslims, and that it cannot be held solely by one side. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while Palestinians want the city's eastern sector as the capital of a future state.

Mr. Sarkozy made a brief visit to the West Bank city of Bethlehem Tuesday for a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The French leader criticized Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank, saying it will not guarantee Israel's security forever.

Mr. Sarkozy later returned to France, but his departure ceremony at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport was cut short by a shooting incident. Israeli officials say a policeman standing on a rooftop near the tarmac plane apparently shot himself dead and fell to the ground.


After the gunshot was fired, bodyguards ushered Mr. Sarkozy and his wife into their plane and hurried Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Shimon Peres toward armored cars as a precaution. But, officials say none of the leaders were in any danger.

Israeli authorities say preliminary medical results indicate the policeman committed suicide. An investigation into the incident is underway.

Bethlehem is partly surrounded by a concrete wall that Israel says is necessary to keep out suicide bombers. Palestinians say the barrier cuts them off from land they want for a state.

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