Israeli sources reported that Palestinian negotiators submitted to their Israeli counterparts a document representing the Palestinian stances regarding talks on final status core issues.Israeli daily, Haaretz, has reported that a Palestinian official of the Legislative Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, directly involved in the direct talks kicked off three months ago, said the document includes the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees, in addition to water resources, borders, and land swap.
The source said that the Palestinians are demanding focusing direct Israeli-Palestinian talks on core issues, instead of pushing them until final-status talks, the way on and off negotiations have been held since the early 1990’s.
The Palestinian document reiterates the Palestinian demand that the agreement should include all territories captured by Israel in 1967, including occupied East Jerusalem, and all related international resolutions.
The source added that the Palestinians expressed willingness to conduct a land swap that would allow Israel to keep its large settlement blocks in the occupied West Bank, in exchange for granting the Palestinians areas in the Negev.
The offer allegedly states that the land-swap should not exceed %1.9 of the West Bank and Jerusalem, especially after the Palestinians managed to prove with pictures and statistics that Israel’s large settlement blocs occupy %1.2 of the West Bank, the Wattan News Agency has reported.
The Palestinian official said that the Palestinian negotiators are demanding Israel to accept granting a choice to the displaced Palestinian refugees.
He added that the refugees would be allowed to choose between “returning to Palestinian controlled areas (not back to historic Palestine)”, to leave the refugee camps abroad to live in a third state, to accept financial compensation or stay as citizens of the countries they live in.
He further stated that the Palestinians also demanded Israel to provide a safe passage linking between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, control over borders, control over parts of the Dead Sea, and control of certain water resources.
Israel considered the Palestinian document as a hardline position, and added that the Palestinians are demanding a clear time-frame that would secure a full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories in no more than 3.5 years.
Israel TV Channel 2 has reported that Israel expressed acceptance of establishing a contiguous Palestinian State, but insists on maintaining military presence along the Jordan River for an agreed upon time-frame.
According to the report, Israel will likely offer compensation to the Palestinians in order to keep its large settlement blocs in the West Bank, and accepted a certain land swap.
It is worth mentioning that Israel will be announcing this week bids for the construction of 1700 settlement units in illegal settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Israeli sources said that the Palestinian Authority agreed under American mediation on an understanding allowing Israel to expand settlements in return for releasing Palestinian detainees.
On his part, Mohammad Al-‘Aloul, a political leader of the Fateh movement of President Mahmoud Abbas, said that the Palestinian authority has not taken an official decision regarding land swap, and that the file is still part of direct talks, any never witnessed any real development.
He said that land swap, if conducted, is only on a small fraction of lands, adding that what the Israeli reports mentioned about keeping %65 of the settlements in the occupied West Bank and occupied Jerusalem is an unacceptable issue.