PA was on compromise mode with Israel: Leaked papers

Palestinians were ready to compromise over two of the critical issues.

Last Updated: Jan 24, 2011, 23:52 PM IST

Jerusalem: Palestinians were ready to
compromise over two of the critical issues, Jerusalem and
refugees during peace talks with Israel in 2008, an al-Jazeera
report has said, but the Palestinian Authority today described
it as "fabrication" and "lies and half-truths".

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has dismissed reports
by al-Jazeera TV yesterday that it had agreed to compromise
over two of the thorniest issues of Israel-Palestinian
conflict, Jerusalem and the right of return of Palestinian
refugees.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert`s office
reacted to the publications by saying that there were "many
inaccuracies" in them, while some other Israeli officials
involved in the negotiations also rejected much of the report.

Abbas told Egyptian newspaper editors in Cairo that he
kept the Arab League updated on all the details of the
negotiations with Israel, PA state news agency Wafa said.

"I don`t know from where Al-Jazeera came with secret
things," Abbas was quoted as saying.

"There is nothing we hide from our brothers, the
Arabs," he said. The chief Palestinian negotiator in the 2008
talks, former PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, said that "many
parts of the documents were fabricated, as part of the
incitement against the Palestinian Authority and the
Palestinian leadership."

Qurei denied making an offer to let go all the Jewish
settlements in east Jerusalem, except Har Homa, claiming that
Israel refused to discuss the issue.

The current chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, dismissed
the documents as "a bunch of lies" during an appearance on Al
Jazeera shortly after the documents were released.

As many as 1,600 Palestinian documents on peace talks
with Israel said to have been obtained by al-Jazeera TV, the
biggest haul of leaked confidential documents in the history
of the conflict, claims that Palestinian negotiators secretly
agreed to accept Israel`s annexation of all but one of the
neighbourhoods, Har Homa, built in East Jerusalem.

This was one in a series of concessions made to Israel
by Palestinian negotiators in an effort to move closer to
independent statehood. The documents give the impression of a
weakened PA and growing desperation among its leaders because
of deadlock in talks and the growing strength of Hamas.

Erekat is said to have also proposed in an October
2009 meeting that Jerusalem`s Old City be divided, ceding
Israel control over the Jewish Quarter and part of the
Armenian Quarter.

Further details reveal a Palestinian agreement to the
return of only 100,000 Palestinian refugees into Israel, and
that Erekat agreed to the Israeli demand of recognising Israel
as a Jewish state.

The documents also reveal that the Palestinian
negotiators, in an effort to move forward on the
hyper-sensitive issue of the holy sites in the Old City of
Jerusalem, proposed a joint committee to administer the Temple
Mount. The offers were made in 2008 in the wake of the
Annapolis conference.

Israeli leaders, backed by the US government, had said
that the offers were inadequate. A senior PA official in
Ramallah strongly condemned Al- Jazeera TV for releasing the
documents concerning peace talks.

"Al-Jazeera has declared war on the Palestinians," the
official told The Jerusalem Post adding, "This station serves
the interests of the enemies of the Palestinians."

Asked if the PA was now considering measures against
Al-Jazeera, the official said he did not see how a TV station
that "incites" against the Palestinians would be able to
continue operating in the West Bank.

However, he said that Abbas, who is currently in
Cairo, would decide on the PA`s response to the exposure of
the documents in the coming hours.

PTI