‘Palestinians agreed to cede nearly all Jewish areas of East Jerusalem’

Newly leaked documents reveal series of concessions made to Israel by PA negotiators; East Jerusalem offer was rejected as it didn’t include settlements deeper in West Bank.

Palestinian negotiators secretly agreed to concede almost all Jewish areas of East Jerusalem to Israel, the Guardian newspaper and Al-Jazeera TV reported on Saturday. As many as 1,600 Palestinian documents on peace talks with Israel, obtained by Al Jazeera TV and given to the Guardian, covering more than a decade of exchanges, provide a unique look into the breakdown of the peace process.

The biggest leak of confidential documents in the history of the conflict has revealed that Palestinian negotiators secretly agreed to accept Israel’s annexation of all but one of the neighborhoods, Har Homa, built in East Jerusalem.

This was one in a series of concessions made to Israel by Palestinian negotiators in an effort to move closer to independent statehood. The documents give the impression of a weakened Palestinian Authority and growing desperation among its leaders because of impasses in talks and the growing strength of Hamas.

Israeli negotiators come across in the minutes as confident while U.S. politicians seem dismissive toward Palestinian representatives, according to the Guardian.
Har Homa, East Jerusalem AP

A Palestinian woman walks nearby the Jewish neighborhood of Har Homa in east Jerusalem, Monday, Nov. 8, 2010.
Photo by: AP

PA leadership may have difficulty explaining the revelations to a public not ready to offer the same concessions. The documents cover sensitive issues like the right of return of Palestinian refugees, the close cooperation between Israel and Palestinian Authority Security forces, land swaps in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and of Israeli warnings to the PA of the imminent invasion of the Gaza Strip in 2008-09.

Al-Jazeera TV reported that the Palestinian Authority offered Israel all settlements in Jerusalem except Har Homa on June 15, 2008.

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, also proposed in an October 2009 meeting that Jerusalem’s Old City be divided, ceding Israel control over the Jewish Quarter and part of the Armenian Quarter.

Further details reveal a Palestinian agreement to the return of only 100,000 Palestinian refugees into Israel, and that Erekat agreed to the Israeli demand of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

The documents also reveal that the Palestinian negotiators, in an effort to move forward on the hyper-sensitive issue of the holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem, proposed a joint committee to administer the Temple Mount.

The offers were made in 2008, in the wake of the Annapolis conference, and were privately hailed by chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat as giving Israel “the biggest Yerushalayim [the Hebrew name for Jerusalem] in history.”

Israeli leaders, backed by the U.S. government, said the offers were inadequate.

The leaked documents – drawn up by PA officials and lawyers working for the British-funded PLO negotiations support unit – include extensive verbatim transcripts of private meetings. Many were independently authenticated by the Guardian and corroborated by former participants in the talks and intelligence and diplomatic sources, the newspaper reported.

Cables from the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem and the embassy in Tel Aviv recently released by WikiLeaks were used to confirm some of the information.

According to the documents, in May 2008 Palestinian leaders agreed to allow Israel to annex Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

Erekat told Israeli leaders in 2008 that “this is the first time in Palestinian-Israeli history in which such a suggestion is officially made.”

Nonetheless, the offer was rejected out of hand by Israel because it did not include Ma’aleh Adumim, as well as Har Homa and Ariel, which is located deeper in the West Bank.

“We do not like this suggestion because it does not meet our demands,” then Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, told the Palestinians, “and probably it was not easy for you to think about it, but I really appreciate it.”

January 24, 2011 | 5 Comments »

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

Leave a Reply

5 Comments / 5 Comments

  1. Fear of G-d vs fear of Arabs

    The peace process must put even die-hard atheists to shame. Nothing short of a miracle explains that every time Israel is ready to cede Judea and Jerusalem, the Palestinians preclude the Jewish defeat. There is no other explanation: G-d doesn’t want the Jews to give the Promised Land away.

    The Almighty has created a situation in which the options are crystal-clear, and Jews need no crystal ball to see them. The entire Jewry outside of Israel has been annihilated—European Jews perished in the Holocaust, American Jews are lost to assimilation, and Arab Jews were uprooted and resettled into Israel. G-d tells us in the most straightforward manner that now we must decide: will the Jews live or die out? Zechariah’s prophecy is fulfilled: the two-thirds are lost, and it’s up to the Jews whether the last third will be refined as silver or burn out.

    Jews, of course, have free will and can rebel against the divine injunction. Israel received every sign she could hold on to the Sinai: four wars with Egypt won, and the Yom Kippur war even extended Israel’s foothold. Jews nevertheless abandoned the Sinai; now we’re tourists there, and the Egyptians are the owners. Similarly, Jews can transfer Judea to the Arabs rather than the Arabs out of Judea. Such an act, however, would be equal to conversion. There is no practical difference between Jews’ converting to Christianity and consciously rejecting the commandments. Once the commandments are rejected, Jews can become anything.

    Jews don’t live in the Land of Israel because of some stupid historical right. If Jews can return after 1,900 years, that is all the more reason Arabs can return after sixty years. Jews were sovereign on this land for perhaps four centuries; the rest of the time we existed as a protectorate. Muslims governed this land for much longer. Jewish national right to statehood? What nonsense! Ask the Chechens, Basques, Uighurs, or Bretons, and listen carefully to their reply: there is no such right. There is a single reason for Jews to conquer and settle this land: G-d has told us to do so.

    Cleansing the land G-d gave us is a major commandment. It is arguably the major political commandment. Jews must drive away the inhabitants of the land. There can be no coexistence.

  2. The Palestinians are already distancing themselves from these “revelations”, denying the truth of what they purport to say and suggest it was an Israeli leak for propaganda purposes.

    Unlike the Wikileaks revelations, it appears there is nothing here that matters at all to what has gone on, what is and where negotiations will go when they get started again.

  3. Now Erekat can say, “See! If I compromise on anything, my own people will turn on me! You MUST pressure Israel to make concessions, because my hands are tied!”

    Arabs are manipulators par excellence, better at it than Jewish mothers.