PA Denies Waiving Claim on Western Wall

Published: July 4th 2010
in News » Israel

Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat during a press conference in Ramallah
Pic: AFP Photo/Abbas Momani

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat denied on Sunday the reports published over the weekend, according to which Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas accepted Israel’s sovereignty in the Jewish Quarter of Old Jerusalem and the Western Wall.


The London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported Saturday in a written proposal submitted by Abbas to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, through American envoy George Mitchell, the position regarding Jerusalem was included.


Abu Mazen’s proposal, according to the Al-Hayat report, and includes some of the following points: The Palestinian State will be established on 87.7% of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). 2.3% of the West Bank will be annexed to Israel in order to keep the main Jewish settlements (Gush Etzyon, Givat Zeev) under Israeli sovereignty; Israel will withdraw from East Jerusalem including the Old City except the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall; safe passage between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank will be established; both parties will be committed to refrain from any violence and promoting extremism; NATO forces will deployed along the borders; and a joint Israeli-Palestinian committee under US supervision will monitor the implementing of security arrangements.


In an interview on IDF Radio, Erakat denied the report and said that “everything written in it, from start to finish, is not true.”


The report in Al-Hayat was published only two days before the scheduled meeting between Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama. Relations between the two leaders have been tense over the past several months, especially after an announcement about Israel’s intention to continue building homes in East Jerusalem, an announcement which was made during a visit to Israel by US Vice President Joe Biden. It is hoped that the meeting between Netanyahu and Obama will ease the tensions and advance the proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Netanyahu told Channel 1 news during an interview that he is willing to “go far” in order to reach a settlement with the Palestinians. He was also quoted in Ynet as saying to the ministers that there is no alternative to direct negotiations with the Palestinians: |There is no alternative to direct talks (with the Palestinians). We must not avoid direct contact. Ramallah is 10 minutes away, within arm's reach. It's time for Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) to agree to meet with me. Those who want peace must hold direct talks.”


Meanwhile, Likud ministers urged Netanyahu on Sunday not to give in to Obama’s demands to continue the West Bank settlement building freeze beyond the set September date. In order to better control decisions on settlement building freezes, a bill was presented to the Ministerial Committee by Deputy Knesset Speaker, MK Carmel Shama (Likud). The bill, if approved, would force the Prime Minister to ask for Knesset approval for the continuation of the building freeze. Netanyahu is trying to prevent this bill, which is supported by many Likud ministers, from passing.

Related articles: (Mahmoud Abbas, Saeb Erakat, Benjamin Netanyahu, Barck Obama, Jerusalem, Western Wall, peace negotiations)

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