New reports of "rejected" Palestinian peace deal
A map reportedly drawn by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas apparently shows an Israeli peace deal from 2008 that was ignored
The Tower reports what it calls a "stunning development that calls into question the basic willingness of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accept any peace agreement with the Jewish State".
The website has obtained a map apparently drawn by Abbas on official paper documenting a 2008 peace proposal outlined to him by then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
The deal was rejected by Abbas even though the map suggests that Israel was prepared to withdraw to borders very similar to the pre-1967 lines and swap areas of northern and southern Israel in return for maintaining the larger settlement blocs.
The sketch indicates that Israel was apparently willing to more or less return to the pre-1967 lines, while maintaining the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem, the settlement city of Ma’ale Adumin to the east, and a slice of territory that apparently would encompass the large settlement of Ariel in Samaria. In exchange for expanding Israeli sovereignty to those areas, Israel would have given up some of its own land to the new Palestinian state.
Olmert has subsequently confirmed that he was also prepared to divide Jerusalem into Israeli and Palestinian-controlled neighborhoods, and to relinquish Israeli sovereignty at the Temple Mount and the entire Old City.
On September 16, 2008, Olmert hosted Abbas at the Israeli Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem. The Israeli prime minister outlined his historic proposal, which would have established a Palestinian state and which would have seen Israel make the most significant concessions ever offered.
The two men discussed Olmert’s proposal in great detail, pouring over a large map Olmert unfurled showing the dramatic territorial concessions Israel was prepared to make. Abbas acknowledged the offer and returned to Ramallah.
Once there, he immediately convened his associates and redraw the map from memory. The note also included text scrawled on its margins and reverse side for containing details documenting the rest of Olmert’s offer.
In his Tower interview, Olmert goes into detail about his approach, under which no nation would have asserted complete sovereignty over what is known as the Holy Basin. Instead, a five-member group would oversee the areas including Jerusalem’s Old City, the Mount of Olives, and the City of David, just beyond the old city walls. Ehud Barak had agreed in principle to cede sovereignty over the area during the 2000 Camp David Summit.
Publication of the map drew a sharp response from Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis, a staunch Netanyahu loyalist who acts as a liaison between the government and the Knesset. Akunis said that what he called the PA’s rejection of the Olmert offer shows that the Palestinians are not really interested in peace.
“It is further proof that the argument is not about Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] but on the very existence of Israel. Even though Olmert sold out on everything, gave in, for nothing in return, the Palestinians didn’t accept the offer. Their continued refusal of even the most generous offer should present a warning sign to the whole world: The Palestinians are the obstacle to peace.”
However, Olmert has said that Abbas did not accept the offer but also did not specifically reject it. Rather, according to Olmert, Abbas failed to respond to it.
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