By Ted Belman
Khaled Abu Toameh , writing in THE JERUSALEM POST, advises that a PA official says Jerusalem talks taking place openly and secretly – PA insists gets Ramat Eshkol, French Hill
- “This means that the negotiations with the Israelis are taking place both openly and secretly.”
Abdel Qader dismissed the idea that Israel would retain control of some parts of east Jerusalem. “Our position is, ‘Take it all or leave it,'” he said. “We have also made it clear to the Israelis that we won’t accept any partial solutions for Jerusalem. As far as we are concerned, Jerusalem must be one geographic, political and religious unit.”
He said the parties were still trying to reach an agreement over which Jerusalem they were talking about – the city that’s mentioned in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 in 1947, the one that was occupied in 1967 or the one that was expanded by Israel afterward. “On this issue, there hasn’t been any progress yet,” he said.
Abdel Qader said the negotiations were not only focusing on the Arab part of Jerusalem, but on its west as well. “There are Jews who say they have rights and property in the eastern part of Jerusalem, and that’s fine with us,” he said. “At the same time, there are Arabs who have a lot of property in the western section of Jerusalem. So the talks are not only over the eastern
As for Shas’s threat to quit the coalition over the negotiations on Jerusalem, the PA official said he could not understand why the haredi party was upset.
“Shas is not new to Israeli politics,” he said. “I can’t understand why they’re so upset. What did they think, that peace could be achieved without [dividing] Jerusalem? Have they forgotten that [then-prime minister] Ehud Barak already offered us large parts of Jerusalem at the Camp David summit [in 2000]?”
If only Israel was so emphatic about keeping it all. When your opponent states his position so categorically, the fact that you continue discussions suggests that you might give them what they want. Why doesn’t our government say equally that Jerusalem will remain ours, all of it. At least that balances the positions.
Meanwhile Olmert says we are not discussing Jerusalem and Livni says we are. Shas on the other hand is all over the place. Shas now says that they will bolt when discussions commence but mean when official discussions commence. Meanwhile unofficial discussions will be going on.
Then there is the issue of the “right of return”. The PA has been equally categorical on insisting on it and Israel is prepared to make some kind of concession regarding it. Furthermore the PA has refused to recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” as distinguished from a “Jewish homeland”.
Either Olmert has no bottom line or he does in which event he knows there will be no agreement since Livni has advised in writing that “until there is an accord on every issue there will be no accord on any issue”. If the former, Olmert should be removed from office. If the latter, Olmert is only negotiating for show as preferable to aborting the process.