Yes, Palestinians appear to have agreed to concede most of the large Jewish developments that are located across the Green Line in areas that are today considered part of Jerusalem. In a quip he likely now regrets, chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the offer provided Israel with the “largest Jerusalem in the history of the Jewish people.”But giving Jewish areas of Jerusalem to Israel and Palestinian areas to the Palestinian Authority is an idea that been supported widely for years, since it was proposed by President Clinton.Also, many of those developments were never historically part of what Palestinians considered to be inside the borders of Jerusalem. Much was rural West Bank land that only became part of Jerusalem when Israel annexed it after the 1967 Six-Day War and substantially increased the borders of Jerusalem. So although those areas were clearly part of the West Bank, they shouldn’t necessarily carry the same emotional attachment for Palestinians or Arabs worldwide as the Old City or the historic parts of East Jerusalem. And rather than give away the land in exchange for nothing, as has been widely reported in the Arab press, the documents suggest that Palestinians were demanding in return Maale Adumim, Givat Zeev, Ariel and most other settlements east of Highway 60.That’s such a painful concession for Israel that you have to question whether the Palestinian offer was even serious.To most Mideast experts, exchanging Jerusalem developments such as Gilo and French Hill for settlements such as Maale Adumim and Ariel sounds like a great deal for Palestinians and a non-starter for Israelis. And that’s pretty much how it played out, with Israel’s then-Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni rejecting the offer. (Emphases added.)
Kerry had hoped to travel to Ramallah to announce an extension of talks, built on a three-way deal involving the potential early release of Jonathan Pollard, an American serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison, on charges of spying for Israel. The deal called for a partial freeze in the building of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, in exchange for Abbas’ agreement not to join the international groups.
Under the proposed deal, Israel would go ahead with the release of a fourth group of Palestinians, the last among the 104 it pledged to free as a confidence-building measure under an agreement that led to the renewal of the current talks.
p of inmates also includes 14 Arab citizens of Israel, a potential political stumbling block for Netanyahu.
In addition, Israel would also free 400 other Palestinian prisoners, including women and minors, who have not been convicted of killing Israelis and are close to completing their sentences.
But Pollard’s potential release has drawn fierce opposition from U.S. officials in both parties, including former CIA chief George Tenet and former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. They have argued that the huge trove of secrets released by Pollard did grave damage to U.S. national security, and that his release would set a dangerous precedent.
In recent years, former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, along with prominent figures such as Sen. John McCain and former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, have all called for Pollard’s release.