The Palestinian Authority offered Israel ‘historical’ land concessions in the occupied east Jerusalem, but Israel refused to surrender the lands it occupies in the West Bank, according to classified minutes of a meeting attended by Palestinian, Israeli and American top diplomats in 2008 obtained by Al Arabiya.
Palestinian top negotiator Ahmed Qurei told the meeting attended by Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice that Israel could annex “all settlements in Jerusalem except Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa).”
Qurei added, “This is the first time in history that we make such a proposition; we refused to do so in Camp David."
“We cannot accept the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel, Giv’at Ze’ev, Ephrat and Har Homa settlements.”
Qurei warned that Israel was building a “settlement built” around Jerusalem saying, “Work is done everyday to complete it.”
“Only yesterday Minister of Housing Ze’ev Boim announced a plan to build 1300 residential units on land in Beit Hanina in order to connect Giv’at Ze’ev settlement in Jerusalem,” He said, adding, “This is not a way to achieve progress in the negotiations.”
Palestinian land concessions in Jerusalem is a sensitive issue because of its high importance not only for the Palestinian people but for Muslims throughout the world.
For Muslims, Jerusalem is the site of the Prophet Muhammad's journey to heaven described in the Qur'an.
Despite such seemingly unprecedented land concessions on the part of Palestinians in years, Israel appeared during the meeting still unwilling to reciprocate by pulling out from all the territories it occupies inside the West Bank.
Former Israeli Foreign Minister Livni told the American and Palestinian delegations in response to the Palestinian offer, “When we decided on the annexation, we made it clear to the Palestinians that we will not compensate them with land that is part of Israel now.”
Israel considers some lands it occupies in the West Bank as part of “Israel now” and has consistently refused to accept a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, saying any such solution has to be based on the "reality on the ground."
“The issue now is that the Palestinians will not accept that some locations become part of Israel,” she said.
According to classified minutes of another meeting held in King David Hotel, west Jerusalem, in March 12, 2008, Israel refused to engage on the basis of the 1967 line or to accept the principle of a land swap that would insure the contiguity, or a continuous mass, of Palestinian territories in the West Bank.
In another document obtained by Al Arabiya, former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert offered Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a land swap deal that would keep Israeli sovereignty over some areas inside the West Bank, hence further preventing the formation of Palestinian state as a unified land mass.
The United States acknowledged Monday that the release of the secret Palestinian files on U.S.-brokered regional peace talks makes the Middle East situation "more difficult," but said a framework peace deal remained possible.
PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo on Monday slammed what was reported from the documents, saying it was taken out of context. Al Arabiya provides bellow the full copy of the confidential “Trilateral Meeting Minutes. ”
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(Written by Musatpha Ajbaili)