Palestine Papers:

Palestinians 'ready to give up Jerusalem sites'

Palestinians offered Israel "the biggest Jerusalem in history", including all but one of the large Israeli settlements built in the occupied Arab eastern sector, according to a major leak of detailed minutes of negotiations going back a decade.

The leak of confidential accounts of the talks drawn up by Palestinian negotiators underlines the extent of concessions made by the Palestinians during the ultimately abortive Annapolis process under the US presidency of George Bush and the Israeli premiership of Ehud Olmert.

Israel regards itself as having annexed the whole of East Jerusalem after the 1967 Six-Day War, but that has never been accepted by most of the international community, including Britain, which backs Palestinian demands for East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state.

As recently as January last year, Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians' chief negotiator, told a US official that proposals from his side would give the Israelis the biggest Jerusalem in Jewish history and other concessions. "What more can I give?" he asked.

Another minute among some 1,600 papers leaked to the Arab satellite television channel Al Jazeera shows that in 2008, Palestinian negotiators made it clear to the then Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, that all the big settlements regarded by Israel as Jewish "neighbourhoods" on the outer edges of the city could be yielded to Israel, except for Har Homa.

These would include Gilo, the large settlement bordering Jerusalem and Bethlehem, which has since become an even more contentious issue since the disclosure of Israeli plans to build another 1,400 houses there.

Mr Erekat is quoted in the minutes as saying during the talks that "this is the first time in Palestinian-Israeli history in which such a suggestion is officially made."

Despite the concessions, the Palestinians continued to make it clear that East Jerusalem must be the future Palestinian capital. The leak may be a further factor threatening to destabilise the already faltering international struggle to get some form of peace negotiations back on track.

The concessions – and perhaps too the graphic language in which they are expressed – will be seized on by critics to show how far Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is prepared to compromise to get a Palestinian state.

The concessions will also be read by some Palestinians as falling short of the more robust public rhetoric used by the Palestinians' leaders. Equally, they may go some way to undermining a widespread argument in Israel that "no partner" exists for meaningful negotiations.

The documents appeared to be an extensive, but not comprehensive, record of the negotiations. Some media attributed the extent of the concessions by the Palestinian negotiators to growing weakness and desperation on their part. But some of the minutes posted on websites appear to give a more mixed picture.

For example, while Palestinian negotiators did indeed offer up most of the big Jerusalem settlements during discussions in 2008, Ms Livni is reported to have made clear that was unacceptable because the Palestinians were refusing to concede other settlements to Israel.

"We do not like this suggestion because it does not meet our demands," Ms Livni told the Palestinians.

As well as Har Homa, the settlements that the Palestinians were insisting should fall within a future Palestinian state included Ariel – a large settlement jutting into the northern West Bank from Israel – and, most notably, Maale Adumim, the largest Israeli settlement in the West Bank, which the Israelis have always maintained should remain within Israel.

Capital point: why the talks hinge on Jerusalem

Israel controls Jerusalem, and claims it as its "indivisible and eternal" capital. It annexed East Jerusalem after the Six Day War in 1967, a move not recognised internationally.

The Palestinian Authority is based in Ramallah, but covets East Jerusalem as the capital of its independent state.

The Clinton Parameters of 2000, a US-sponsored peace plan, envisaged that the Temple Mount would fall under Palestinian control, along with some Arab suburbs in East Jerusalem. Israel could claim the Jewish parts of the city, including settlement blocs in East Jerusalem, and have access to Jewish sites. Although both sides tentatively agreed to the proposals with caveats, the negotiations collapsed, leading to the Second Intifada.

Ehud Olmert, who had resigned but remained head of a caretaker Israeli government, privately proposed a plan to the Palestinians in late 2008 to place parts of Jerusalem under international control.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksNow available in paperback
Ed Miliband and David Cameron are neck and neck in the polls
election 2015Armando Iannucci: on how British politics is broken
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power