After the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, published on Tuesday draft of a peace plan by Israel’s Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, Palestinian officials rejected the plan and said that it disregards the issue of Jerusalem and the internationally guaranteed Right of Return of the Palestinian Refugees.
Nabil Abu Rodeina, Spokesperson of the Palestinian President, stated that the Israeli officer is rejected because it violates the Palestinian legitimacy.
Abu Rodeina added that Olmert’s draft excludes Jerusalem and the issue of the refugees, therefore is totally rejected.
He also said that the Palestinians will reject any discontinued state, and will only agree to state within the 1967 borders if it has geographical contiguity, free of settlements, and with Jerusalem as its capital.
Abu Rodeina stated that this offer proves that Israel is not serious in its peace talks and is attempting to void the establishment of an independent Palestinians State. The official added that the Annapolis understandings state that Israel should freeze all of its settlement activities.
Israeli sources reported that Olmert handed the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, a detailed draft of a proposed deal regarding the issues of borders, security arrangements, and refugees.
The offer totally rejects the Right of Return of the refugees, and states that Israel would annex 7% of the West Bank, and in return will offer the Palestinian Authorities approximately 5.5% of the Negev. Yet, the plan states the Israel would immediately annex these areas while the Palestinian will not control the 5.5% of the Negev until Abbas fully controls Gaza.
Haaretz added that Olmert believes that he can achieve a peace deal with the Palestinians before he leaves office. The paper also reported that the current Palestinian-Israeli talks aim at achieving a “shelf deal” which sets the foundations of a Palestinian state but this deal will not be implemented until the Palestinian Authority is powerful enough to implement its part.
The “offer” mentioned an Israeli withdrawal from most of the West Bank and “the freedom of movement” between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip without having to go through roadblocks.
According to Israeli sources, Israel presented a primary detailed map on the suggested borders of the Palestinian State.
Yet, large settlement blocs will remain intact and will remain under full Israeli control. These blocs include Maali Adumim, Gush Atzion, Mi’raf Shomron, Ariel and the Jerusalem Belt.
The borders of the “Palestinian State” will be the Annexation Wall which snakes deep into the West Bank and violates the international law.
Israel will deal with settlements in two stages starting with the evacuation of small settlements and relocating the settlers in the settlement blocs, as Israel will issue a new legislation regarding voluntary evacuation and compensation to the settlers.
In the second stage, Israel will evacuate all settlers who remain behind the borders and will relocate them in the larger blocks.
After the new proposal was made public, Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank announced their total rejection to any evacuation plan and vowed fierce retaliation.
In recent months, Olmert approved the construction of thousands of houses for settlers in large West Bank, especially around Jerusalem.
Israel also demands that the Palestinian state should be a disarmed state and should never have an army, but the Palestinians demanded that their security forces should be always ready to defend the country from external threats.
As for the refugees, their internationally guaranteed Right of Return remains out of question unless they settle in the West Bank and a limited number could be allowed in Israel if their receive family reunification.
The new Israeli offer falls short of all related international resolutions and totally disregards them especially resolutions 242, 338, 181 and 194. The resolutions call of a full Israeli withdrawal from all of the Palestinian and Arab territories, captured by Israel after the 1967 war, including the East of Jerusalem, in addition to calling for the right of return of the Palestinian refugees.
The Palestinian leadership said that if Israel is really interested in peace, then it should be committed to all international resolutions and the Road Map peace plan.
An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, stated that Olmert is just attempting to set his legacy before he leaves office burdened with corruption charges.