Friday, May 24, 2013

News the HP Doesn't Cover: Details on Olmert's Offer Emerge

The Times of Israel has covered the recent revelations of the details of former Israeli PM Olmert's peace offer to Abbas, and boy are they interesting:

A sketched map of Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert’s land-for-peace offer to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in 2008 — hurriedly drawn up by Abbas after a meeting with Olmert that December, and made public for the first time on Thursday — 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 map, published by Walla news in Hebrew and at TheTower.org in English, was based on an offer Olmert made to Abbas on December 16, 2008, during a meeting in Jerusalem. Olmert presented Abbas with a large formal map showing his territorial compromise proposal for the contours of a Palestinian state as part of a permanent peace accord, and demanded that Abbas initial the proposal before taking it back to Ramallah for consideration by the Palestinians. Abbas refused to do so, but on his return to his headquarters, he gathered his officials and asked them to remain silent while he hastily recreated the offer on a sheet of official Palestinian Authority notepaper.
The sketch, which includes no place names, indicates that Olmert 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.
According to Walla, Olmert envisaged relinquishing Israeli territory on a one-for-one basis to the Palestinians in areas including near Afula; near Tirat Zvi south of Beit She’an; north of Jerusalem; in the Judean Desert, and in the Lachish area. He also endorsed a tunnel route to link Gaza and the West Bank.
Olmert, as he has subsequently confirmed, 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. He proposed that the “Holy Basin” be overseen instead by a five-member, non-sovereign international trusteeship, comprising Israel, the PA, Jordan, the US and Saudi Arabia.

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