Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected a peace initiative proposed by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday, the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds reported. The deal included a Palestinian capital in eastern Jerusalem and a moratorium on West Bank construction in exchange for recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and relinquishing the Palestinian “right of return.”
The dismissal of Biden’s reported offer follows an almost 20-year history of Palestinians rejecting peace proposals. In July 2000 at Camp David, former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat rejected Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer of 92% of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip, along with a capital in eastern Jerusalem. After he left office, President Bill Clinton made it clear that Arafat was to blame for the failure of the Camp David Summit. Arafat responded to the offer by launching the Second Intifada.
In 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert presented Abbas with a proposal for a peace agreement. It was also rejected. In an interview a year later, Abbas said he refused the offer because “the gaps were wide.” (Abbas again admitted his rejection of Olmert’s offer last year.) In March 2014, Israel accepted Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework for continued peace negotiations and agreed to proceed on the basis of it, while Abbas rejected it and the next month formed a unity government with the Iran-backed terror organization Hamas. In September 2015, Netanyahu stated that he was willing to restart talks at anytime without preconditions. The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, responded by calling Netanyahu’s bid a “PR stunt” and rejected the offer.
Palestinian terrorists carried out a spate of attacks on Tuesday, injuring 13 and killing U.S. army veteran Taylor Force, who was in Israel on a trip with his university. These attacks come amidst a wave of violence that has been triggered by incitement from Abbas and members of his Fatah Party. Abbas failed to condemn Tuesday’s attacks, while Fatah celebrated the killing of Force on its Facebook page. At a press conference on Wednesday, Biden criticized the Palestinian Authority for not condemning the attacks, stating, “The United States of America condemns these acts and condemns the failure to condemn these acts.”
[Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office / Flickr ]