Olmert was ready to cede Temple Mount, Palestinians balked

Posted: June 23, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in Israel, Palestinians, Peace Process

Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert

FORMER ISRAELI PM, Ehud Olmert, told Newsweek’s Kevin Peraino he offered Palestinians to cede 93% of the West Bank and control over the Old City, while compensating the necessary 7% with current Israeli territory.

Olmert, however, rejected the demand to accommodate Palestinian “refugees”, number of which now ranges between two and four million souls.

Olmert also told Newsweek he suggested to Abbas Israel would withdraw from 93.5 to 93.7 per cent of the West Bank, compensating the Palestinians with territory equivalent to 5.8 per cent of the West Bank, and allow for direct crossing between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

He stressed he rejected Palestinian demands to realize the right of return, and instead offered a "humanitarian gesture" of accepting a small number of Palestinian refugees, "smaller than the Palestinians wanted, a very, very limited number."

The Palestinian answer? Well, they never answered the proposal, as it took them months to formulate one:

Olmert’s offer was confirmed to Newsweek by Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator. "It’s very sad. He was serious, I have to say," Erekat said. He said that he and Abbas began preparing a response, but within a few months the Gaza war erupted, and Olmert had left office.

Funny thing: I thought when you genuinely want peace, you work around the clock to achieve it. The proposal was secret, thus PA parliament was never involved; only people who were involved are possibly Mahmoud Abbas’ aides and several other high-ranking figures. Let’s say there were twenty of them. Or worse – fifty. Maybe Abbas needed coordination with other Arab states to bring this deal to light. But months?!

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