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`Olmert once made a secret offer to Palestine`

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - 16:22

Washington: Former US secretary of state
Condoleezza Rice said then Israeli premier Ehud Olmert made a
secret offer in 2008 for a Palestinian state with holy sites
under international control in a shared Jerusalem.

In excerpts from her new memoir "No Higher Honor,"
obtained by AFP from Crown Publishers yesterday, Rice wrote
that she was astounded when Olmert aired his plan when she
visited him at his home in Israel in May 2008.

It was, she observed, a dramatic hard-to-imagine
development since then US president George W. Bush and Rice
relaunched the peace process in Annapolis, Maryland the
preceding November.

Rice wrote that Olmert would offer the Palestinians,
under the leadership of Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, some
94 percent of the West Bank with land swaps to account for
Israel`s retaining key settlements.

There would be two capitals, one for Israel in West
Jerusalem and one for the Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

There would be a joint city council with an Israeli mayor and
a Palestinian deputy.

Olmert, she said, then offered to allow perhaps as
many as 5,000 Palestinians to return to land that is now

And she said the Old City would be administered by a
committee of "wise people" -- rather than officials -- from
Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority, the United
States and Israel.

Rice recalled: "Am I really hearing this? I wondered.
Is the Israeli prime minister saying that he`ll divide
Jerusalem and put an international body in charge of the holy

She then said Israel wanted US help in obtaining a
list of security demands, aspects of which he knew the
Palestinians might have trouble accepting.


First Published: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - 16:22
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