Olmert spokesman: Verbal PA agreement was reached

Jacob Galanti confirms former PM came close to signing agreement with Abbas in 2008, including allowing return of 5,000 Palestinian refugees.

January 24, 2011 10:26
1 minute read.
President G.W. Bush with Olmert and Abbas

311_ Bush, olmert and abbas. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)


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A spokesman for former-prime minister Ehud Olmert on Monday confirmed the details of documents released Sunday which detail Olmert’s “Package Offer" to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in August 2008.

During an interview with Army Radio, Jacob Galanti confirmed that Olmert had reached final agreements regarding settlements and Jerusalem. "He did not leave any subject open," Galanti said during the interview.

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Abbas: We reached deal with Olmert on security

He also confirmed that Olmert had agreed to a proposal that would have seen 1,000 Palestinain refugees given the approval to return to Israel over a space of five years. This would have resulted in a total of 5,000 refugees whose entrance into Israel would have been based on certain criteria and humanitarian grounds.

When asked why the agreements were not eventually signed, Galanti could not give a specific reason but did explain that elections in both Israel and the US may have had an effect on the breakdown of negotiations. He said that a verbal agreement had been reached and specific maps were discussed, however "I still do not understand why the Palestinians did not sign at the end of the day."

Regarding reports that Israel had warned the Palestinian Authority of Operation Cast Lead, Olmert's communications chief said that he could not confirm if this was true.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Monday also reacted to the plan regarding Jerusalem, and reiterated that the capital needs to remain united and can not be divided.

"Jerusalem has Jewish and Arab residents, secular and orthodox. We need to take care of all our residents and need make sure that development of the city continues," Barkat said during an interview with Army Radio.

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