PA was on compromise mode with Israel: leaked papers

Harinder Mishra

Jerusalem, Jan 24 (PTI) Palestinians were ready tocompromise over two of the critical issues, Jerusalem andrefugees during peace talks with Israel in 2008, an al-Jazeerareport has said, but the Palestinian Authority today describedit as "fabrication" and "lies and half-truths".

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has dismissed reportsby al-Jazeera TV yesterday that it had agreed to compromiseover two of the thorniest issues of Israel-Palestinianconflict, Jerusalem and the right of return of Palestinianrefugees.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert''s officereacted to the publications by saying that there were "manyinaccuracies" in them, while some other Israeli officialsinvolved in the negotiations also rejected much of the report.

Abbas told Egyptian newspaper editors in Cairo that hekept the Arab League updated on all the details of thenegotiations with Israel, PA state news agency Wafa said.

"I don''t know from where Al-Jazeera came with secretthings," Abbas was quoted as saying.

"There is nothing we hide from our brothers, theArabs," he said. The chief Palestinian negotiator in the 2008talks, former PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, said that "manyparts of the documents were fabricated, as part of theincitement against the Palestinian Authority and thePalestinian leadership."

Qurei denied making an offer to let go all the Jewishsettlements in east Jerusalem, except Har Homa, claiming thatIsrael refused to discuss the issue.

The current chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, dismissedthe documents as "a bunch of lies" during an appearance on AlJazeera shortly after the documents were released.

As many as 1,600 Palestinian documents on peace talkswith Israel said to have been obtained by al-Jazeera TV, thebiggest haul of leaked confidential documents in the historyof the conflict, claims that Palestinian negotiators secretlyagreed to accept Israel''s annexation of all but one of theneighbourhoods, Har Homa, built in East Jerusalem.

This was one in a series of concessions made to Israelby Palestinian negotiators in an effort to move closer toindependent statehood. The documents give the impression of aweakened PA and growing desperation among its leaders becauseof deadlock in talks and the growing strength of Hamas.

Erekat is said to have also proposed in an October2009 meeting that Jerusalem''s Old City be divided, cedingIsrael control over the Jewish Quarter and part of theArmenian Quarter.

Further details reveal a Palestinian agreement to thereturn of only 100,000 Palestinian refugees into Israel, andthat Erekat agreed to the Israeli demand of recognising Israelas a Jewish state.

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