Jerusalem: Israel`s hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described Jerusalem as the "heart of the nation" and vowed to preserve the holy city "as the undivided capital of Israel" for eternity, a position that can derail the fragile peace process with the Palestinians.
Palestinians want the Arab dominated east Jerusalem - home to sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims - as the capital of their future state.
Netanyahu made the comments at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva seminary yesterday, which was scene to a 2008 terror attack which saw eight people murdered and 18 injured,on the eve of Jerusalem Day being marked in Israel today.
"47 years ago Jerusalem was reunified, that was the way it used to be and that is the way it will always be," Netanyahu said amid applause from the seminary students.
"Jerusalem is our heart, and we preserve our heart, the heart of the nation, and we will never divide our heart. Never!", he emphasised.
Israeli forces captured east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967 leading to what is called the "reunification of Jerusalem", which expanded Israeli control over Jerusalem`s Old City and the holy sites, including the Western Wall and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.
Though Netanyahu has claimed that he supports a two-state solution, he has been adamant in his objection to dividing the capital, including the predominantly Arab East Jerusalem.
peaking passionately and elaborating his connection to the city, he said, "Jerusalem is Yad Vashem (Holocaust Museum), Herzl`s grave (on Mount Herzl) and the Mount of Olives, where both my grandmother and grandfather are buried as well as (former Prime Minister) Menahem Begin and our fathers.
Jerusalem is also Mount Zion and Mount Moria (Temple Mount), and Jerusalem is the Western Wall, Israel eternal."
The Jerusalem Day has been often marked by protests and skirmishes in the overwhelming Arab populated east Jerusalem but the western part of the city celebrates it.