'Leaks show Palestinians are not prepared for compromise'

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
January 26, 2011 01:57

Israeli official says "Palestine Papers" raise questions about Palestinian leadership's "readiness to solve the conflict."

2 minute read.



Ma’aleh Adumim

Maaleh Adumim 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Al-Jazeera’s release of the “Palestine Papers” highlights the “unfortunate reality” that, since the peace process began over 15 years ago, the Palestinian leadership “has not prepared its people for peace, reconciliation, and the compromise required,” one Israeli diplomatic official said Tuesday.

The official said this was apparent in the Palestinian leadership’s “shock” about what was published, and its “rush to deny that they had expressed ‘flexible’ negotiating positions.”

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“The fact that the former prime minister [Ehud Olmert] was willing to split Jerusalem, place the ‘Holy Basin’ under an international consortium, and engage in far-reaching land swaps, but that the Palestinians were still not ready to close a deal, raises questions about their readiness to solve the conflict,” the official said.

The official said that while the documents revealed a willingness toward “negotiation and flexibility, we don’t see a real willingness to follow through.”

The best example, the official said, was the unrelenting Palestinian position on Ma’aleh Adumim, which the PA demanded be ceded to a future Palestinian state.

“Ma’aleh Adumim is one of the largest settlements, and in all the different peace plans put on the table over the last 20 years, both government and nongovernmental plans, Ma’aleh Adumim remains a part of Israel in the final status,” the official said. “Yet these documents indicate that the Palestinians appear to show no flexibility whatsoever on this issue, leading one to ask whether they are really willing to follow through and take the decisions required for peace.”

Meanwhile, the office of Kadima leader Tzipi Livni on Tuesday rejected a tongue-in-cheek invitation by Israel Beiteinu to attend the party’s faction meeting in order to present proposals to swap Arab border towns in pre-1967 Israel that Al-Jazeera reported she had raised during negotiations with the Palestinians.

“Israel Beiteinu’s invitation is ridiculous,” a Kadima statement said.

“We do not address publications by Al-Jazeera, and as time passes, more and more doubts are raised about their reliability. Israel Beiteinu, not for the first time, deals with headlines and not the essence.

Had they read the details, they would see that there is no link between what was written in the Al-Jazeera documents themselves and the very problematic proposals by [Foreign Minister Avigdor] Lieberman.”

Livni’s office added that “if Israel Beiteinu wants to hang on Livni’s words, then hang on the unequivocal assertion that there is a partner with whom we can reach a permanent agreement that will end the conflict while still preserving the national and security interests of Israel.”


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