Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told a U.N. summit of world leaders on Thursday that it was up to the Palestinians to build on the momentum he set in motion by withdrawing from the Gaza Strip.
Sharon, who has enjoyed a warm reception at the summit in New York because of the pullout, acknowledged the Palestinians' right to a state of their own. But at the same time, he reasserted Israel's claims to disputed Jerusalem as its "eternal and united capital."
Palestinians see the eastern sector of the city as a capital of a future state, and the competing claims have made Jerusalem one of the most contentious issues in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
"Now it is the Palestinians' turn to prove their desire for peace," Sharon said. "The most important test the Palestinian leaders will face is in fulfilling their commitment to putting an end to terror and its infrastructures, eliminate the anarchic regime of armed gangs and cease the incitement and indoctrination of hatred toward Israel and the Jews."
The General Assembly hall gave Sharon courteous applause when he finished his speech, though Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser Al-Kidwa was shown sitting with his arms folded over his chest, AP reported.