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Olmert offered Abbas more than 100% of West Bank, says PA leader

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik  |

Olmert offered Abbas more than 100% of West Bank, and Abbas still refused peace deal

Saeb Erekat recently described what he said to Abbas during the negotiations in 2008:

"Olmert wants to give you 20 sq. km. more, so that you could say [to Palestinians]: "I got more than the 1967 territories."

As Israel, the PA and the international community await the publication of the American peace plan, it is clear, based on PA leader Mahmoud Abbas' behavior in previous peace talks, that nothing the United States can offer will be enough for the PA leader. 

PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat who was present at the negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Abbas in 2008, recently told PA TV how generous Olmert's offer was on all final status issues. In fact, Olmert literally accepted all of the PA's publicly expressed demands, and even offered Abbas more than the full area of the West Bank and Gaza, and yet Abbas still rejected the offer.

Erekat explained that the area of the West Bank and Gaza Strip before they came under Israeli control in 1967was 6,235 sq. km. Olmert offered Abbas even more land than that, a total of 6,260 sq. km. At the negotiations, Erekat encouraged Abbas to accept the offer, saying that he could tell Palestinians: "I got more than the 1967 territories." And still Abbas rejected the offer.

Regarding Israel's capital Jerusalem, Olmert was likewise very generous. According to Erekat, Olmert offered: "What's Arab is Arab, and what's Jewish is Jewish." This would have kept the Temple Mount - Judaism's holiest site - under Palestinian rule with far-reaching implications for Jews and Judaism. The PA has said many times they would never allow Jews access to the Temple Mount since they consider Jews' presence on any area of the Temple Mount a desecration of the nearby Al-Aqsa Mosque. Yet Olmert still offered to give this to the Palestinians for peace - and even this wasn't enough for Abbas.

On the topic of refugees, Olmert was also forthcoming. He offered to have 150,000 refugees absorbed into the state of Israel over a period of 10 years. And still Abbas rejected it.
It's no wonder that Mahmoud Abbas has announced that the Palestinian Authority has already rejected Trump's peace proposal - his yet unpublicized "deal of the century." Since Abbas already rejected a peace offer that included more than 100% of the land he claims that he wants, all future offers, including the Trump plan which will never be as generous, will likewise be rejected by Abbas.

The following is an excerpt of the interview with Saeb Erekat:

PLO Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat: "I heard [former Israeli Prime Minister] Olmert say that he offered [Abbas] 100% of the West Bank territory. This is true. I'll testify to this. He [Olmert] presented a map [to Abbas], and said: "I want [Israel] to take 6.5% of the West Bank and I'll give [the PA] 6.5% of the 1948 territory (i.e., land in Israel) in return." [Olmert] said to Abbas: "The area of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on the eve of June 4, 1967, was 6,235 sq. km. Erekat says (i.e., I, Erekat, said to Abbas): 'There are 50 sq. km. of no man's land in Jerusalem and Latrun.' We'll split them between us, so the territory will be 6,260 sq. km." [I said to Abbas:] Olmert wants to give you 20 sq. km. more, so that you could say [to Palestinians]: "I got more than the 1967 territories." Regarding Jerusalem, [Olmert said:] "What's Arab is Arab, and what's Jewish is Jewish, and we'll keep it an open city." Regarding the refugees, [Olmert] offered him [Abbas] 150,000 refugees... [Olmert] said: "The refugees' right to return to the State of Palestine is your law. But regarding Israel, we will accept 150,000 refugees over 10 years. 15,000 [per year] over 10 years." 
Official PA TV, Philosophy of Endurance, Dec. 1, 2018

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