Know More About Palestine

Monday Jan. 24, 2011 8:38 AM (EST+7)
Leaked transcripts reveal Palestinian concessions

Read more: Palestine papers, negotiations, final status, Saeb Erekat, Tzipi Livni, Har Homa, Jabal Abu Gneim

JERUSALEM, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Al Jazeera television station said on Sunday it had obtained 1,600 documents covering more than a decade of secret peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis overseen by various US diplomats.

The Qatar-based company has so far published only a few of the documents, including transcripts of negotiations, and says that further leaks will be released in the coming days shedding rare light on the often fraught peace process.

Here are some of the early highlights.

JUNE 15, 2008 -- Meeting in Jerusalem with Condoleezza Rice, the then-US secretary of state, Tzipi Livni, the then-Israeli foreign minister, Ahmed Qurei, the Palestinian Authority former prime minister, and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

Qurei: We proposed that Israel annexes all settlements in Jerusalem except Ja bal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa). This is the first time in history that we make such a proposition ... We cannot accept the annexation of Maale Adumin, Ariel, Givat Zeev, Efrat and Har Homa settlements....

If we agree on the concept I think that in three weeks we can reach an agreement on borders and land issues.

OCTOBER 2009 -- Al Jazeera says Erekat also proposed the geographical division of Jerusalem's Old City, with the Israelis keeping control of the Jewish Quarter and part of the Armenian Quarter.

JAN 15, 2010 -- At a meeting with U.S. diplomat David Hale, Erekat said: What is in that paper gives (the Israelis) the biggest Yerushalaim in Jewish history, symbolic number of refugees return, demilitarised state...what more can I give?

(Israeli Prime Minister) Netanyahu says East Jerusalem is just a neighborhood, like Tel Aviv, so it's building as usual, will finish (Palestinian President Abbas) off. The problem with all US administrations is they underestimated the significance of Jerusalem to the Palestinians for internal Palestinian politics...

Our credibility on the ground has never been so low. Now it's about survival. There is Hamas and the bigger picture in the region.

At no point do the Israelis indicate they could accept this offer. Instead, one document relates what former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert apparently offered Abbas.

AUG 31, 2008 - Israel would annex 6.8 percent of the West Bank, including the four main settlement blocs of Gus Etzion, Ma'ale Adumim, Givat Ze'ev, and Ariel, as well as all of the settlements in East Jerusalem (with Har Homa), in exchange for the equivalent of 5.5 percent from Israeli territory.

On refugees Israel would acknowledge the suffering of refugees, but not take responsibility for it ... Israel would take in 1,000 refugees a year for five years on humanitarian grounds, and would contribute to compensation of refugees based on suffering.

Besides the core peace issues, the transcripts show that other topics also emerge, such as the issue of the Golan Heights, which were seized from Syria by Israel in 1967.

MAY 21, 2008 - Livni says in passing that Israel was giving up the Golan as part of secret peace talks with Syria, which were then under way. As a result of losing the Heights, Livni says the Israelis will need some land from the Palestinians.

Qurei responds: Yes, you make us pay the price.

The peace talks with Syria subsequently ended without a deal.






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