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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Abu Bluff was ready to accept deal he told WaPo wasn't good enough

According to former President Bush's biography, which is being released in the US on Tuesday, 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen was ready to accept the offer made to him by then-Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert (apparently the same offer documented by Jackson Diehl in the Washington Post in 2009), but did not because he saw that Olmert was going to be forced from office.
“We devised a process to turn [Olmert’s] private offer into a public agreement,” Bush writes of the secret peace deal worked out between the then-prime minister of Israel and Palestinian Authority president. “Olmert would travel to Washington and deposit his proposal with me. Abbas would announce that the plan was in line with Palestinian interests. I would call the leaders together to finalize the deal.”

That agreement was to include handing over the “vast majority” of the West Bank to the Palestinians, building a tunnel to connect it to the Gaza Strip, allowing a “limited number” of Palestinian refugees into Israel, establishing Jerusalem as a joint capital and entrusting control of the holy sites to “a panel of nonpolitical elders.”

But then Olmert was forced to resign his premiership because of corruption allegations, and Abbas “didn’t want to make an agreement with a prime minister on his way out of office,” Bush relates.
Of course, that's not what Abu Mazen told the Washington Post's Jackson Diehl.
In our meeting Wednesday, Abbas acknowledged that Olmert had shown him a map proposing a Palestinian state on 97 percent of the West Bank -- though he complained that the Israeli leader refused to give him a copy of the plan. He confirmed that Olmert "accepted the principle" of the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees -- something no previous Israeli prime minister had done -- and offered to resettle thousands in Israel. In all, Olmert's peace offer was more generous to the Palestinians than either that of Bush or Bill Clinton; it's almost impossible to imagine Obama, or any Israeli government, going further.

Abbas turned it down. "The gaps were wide," he said.
So who is right? And does it matter? Or was Abu Mazen looking for an excuse - any excuse - to turn down any offer.

It's time to stop making offers and to stop negotiating against ourselves.

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At 3:46 PM, Blogger Y.K. said...

It's quite funny to see Abu Mazen raise legitimacy issues - isn't he the guy on the sixth year of his four year term, and with a well-armed opposition movement which rejects all agreements? Imagine how Israel feels!

Of course, while Olmert's suggestions weren't good enough to agree to, they are good enough for the Palestinians to demand that Israel start from these positions. I guess when they want to say "no", they can always find an excuse.


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