Israel

EXCLUSIVE: The Deal the Palestinians Rejected, The History That Was Never Made

In a stunning development that calls into question the basic willingness of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accept any peace agreement with the Jewish state, TheTower.org has obtained a hand-drawn map created by Abbas documenting a 2008 peace proposal outlined to him by then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert – which Abbas rebuffed – and has confirmed the existence and details of the settlement offer in an exclusive interview with Olmert.

Given the chaos sweeping the Middle East since the September 2008 offer was rejected by Abbas, and the security deterioration on multiple Israeli borders, Olmert’s offer contains elements likely to be seen as essentially incompatible with Israel’s fundamental security requirements.

The complete transcript of TheTower.org’s interview with Olmert, along with full details of the previously undisclosed plan, will be published on TheTower.org tomorrow. What follows is a summary of what TheTower.org has confirmed.

On September 16, 2008, Olmert hosted Abbas at the Israeli Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem. The Israeli prime minister outlined his historic proposal, which would have established a Palestinian state and which would have seen Israel make the most significant concessions ever offered.

The two men discussed Olmert’s proposal in great detail, poring over a large map Olmert unfurled showing the dramatic territorial concessions Israel was prepared to make. Abbas acknowledged the offer and returned to Ramallah.

Once there he immediately convened his associates and redrew the map from memory. The document also included text scrawled on its margins, and on the reverse side, details documenting the rest of Olmert’s offer.

TheTower.org has obtained Abbas’s historic sketch – sketched on the official stationery of the Palestinian president – and is publishing it along with the details of the peace offer it represented. TheTower.org confirmed those details in an interview with the former Prime Minister himself.  In that interview, Olmert revealed for the first time the remaining terms of the offer, as well the tortuous path he traveled to reach it.

With remarkable candor, Olmert says that under his plan, Israel would have agreed to swap areas on Israel’s side of the Green Line, while Israel would have retained key communities built after Israel’s victory in 1967. The Israeli territory to be ceded would have been near Afula and Beit She’an in the country’s north, an area north of Jerusalem and in the Judean Desert, in the Lachish region, and adjacent to the Gaza Strip. An underground tunnel would have connected Gaza and the West Bank.

Olmert also shares details about his approach, under which no nation would have asserted complete sovereignty over what is known as the Holy Basin. Instead a five-member group would have overseen the areas including Jerusalem’s Old City, the Mount of Olives, and the City of David, just beyond the Old City walls. Ehud Barak had agreed in principle to cede sovereignty over the area during the 2000 Camp David Summit.

A detailed article will appear tomorrow at TheTower.org revealing never-before reported facts and laying out how the Palestinian leadership once again made sure ‘never to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.’ Abbas ensured that Palestinian peace with Israel became “History that Was Never Made.”

The front of Abbas’s map: