Friday, September 30, 2011

Palestinian officials who decry Gilo colony in public, offered it to Israel in negotiations

By Ali Abunimah

"Palestinian officials in Ramallah have condemned Israel’s recently announced decision to expand by 1,100 Jewish-only housing units the illegal settlement of Gilo built on land stolen from the occupied West Bank villages of Beit Jala, Beit Safafa and Sharafat.

But what they say in public is at odds with their private willingless to hand the settlement over to Israel in its entirety.....

Gilo was offered to Israel in 2008

...On 15 June 2008, top Palestinian officials, led by Ahmad Qureia, met in Jerusalem with an Israeli team headed by then Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and an American team led by then US Secretary of State Condolozeea Rice.

Palestinian minutes of the 15 June 2008 meeting and others in which the settlements were discussed were leaked by Al Jazeera as part of the Palestine Papers.

During the meeting, Qureia stated, according to the minutes:

As for settlements, we proposed the following: Removal of some settlements, annexation of others, and keeping others under Palestinian sovereignty. This last proposition could help in the swap process. We proposed that Israel annexes all settlements in Jerusalem except Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa). This is the first time in history that we make such a proposition; we refused to do so n [sic] Camp David.

Later in the same meeting, Erekat himself explains that under the Palestinian proposal, Israel would annex 310,000 settlers, or 70 percent of the settlers living illegally on occupied land at that time.

Yet Livni rejected the Palestinian offer as insufficient because it did not include the settlements of Maaleh Adumim, Efrat, Ariel, Giv’at Ze’ev or Hara Homa (Jabal Abu Ghneim) which all ring Jerusalem.

Responding to Livni’s complaint, Erekat affirmed what the proposal did include:

Why do I not say the opposite, that there are Zakhron Ya’cov [sic], the French Hill, Ramat Eshkol, Ramot Alon, Ramat Shlomo, Gilo, Tal Piot, and the Jewish Quarter in the old city of Jerusalem.....

When confronted with the specific documents detailing the Palestinian proposals to Israel and his own quoted words, Erekat asserted that any proposals made were not “official” or binding because of the principle that “until everything is agreed, nothing is agreed.”

Accepting that principle, however, does not change the fact that the Palestinian negotiators already told Israel, back in 2008, that Gilo would be theirs forever, and did so at repeated meetings and in the presence of the US Secretary of State. If that is not “official” then nothing is.

As Erekat notoriously put it, using Israel’s Hebrew name for Jerusalem and the vast colonies outside it, he and his colleagues had offered Israel “the biggest Yerushalayim in Jewish history.”"

No comments: