Condoleezza Rice 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
During closed-door 2008 negotiations, the US affirmed its understanding that the Ma’aleh Adumim and Ariel settlements along with the east Jerusalem Jewish neighborhoods would likely remain part of Israel in any final-status agreement with the Palestinians, according to the “Palestine Papers” that were published this week.
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“Everyone understands that what is Jewish is Israeli and what is Arab is Palestinian,” then-US secretary of state Condoleeza Rice told Palestinian negotiators when talking with them about Jerusalem on July 16, 2008.
In that conversation, which took place at the State Department in Washington, the Palestinians expressed their newly formulated offer that Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem could remain part of Israel in exchange for equivalent territory within the Green Line.
Notes from that conversation were part of a cache of 1,684 documents, known as the Palestine Papers, which were compiled by the PLO Negotiation Support Unit.
They were leaked to Al- Jazeera and through it to the Guardian
, both of which published a small number of the documents on their websites this week.
According to an informal transcript of that July 16 conversation, Palestinian negotiator and former Palestinian Authority prime minister Ahmed Qurei warned he would withdraw the proffered concession regarding east Jerusalem Jewish neighborhoods, if Israel insisted on retaining the third largest West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, located just east of the capital.
“Jerusalem is out, if they take Ma’aleh Adumim,” Qurei said.
“No, Jerusalem is not out!” Rice responded.
“But we don’t want to fly to Jerusalem by helicopter,” responded Qurei,
who said Ma’aleh Adumim was necessary to insure the territorial
contiguity of a future Palestinian state and with Jerusalem’s Arab
“I don’t think any Israeli leader is going to cede Ma’aleh Adumim,” Rice said.
“Or any Palestinian leader,” retorted Qurei.”
“Then you won’t have a state!” Rice exclaimed.
“It’s like the refugees – they can live under Palestinian law,” said
Qurei, referring to an idea that came up during a number of 2008
negotiations, in which Ma’aleh Adumim settlers would be allowed to
remain within a Palestinian state.
According to the Palestine Papers, Israel repeatedly rejected that notion.
In the July 16 conversation, Rice said to Qurei, “I think you will have
to find an answer for Ma’aleh Adumim. And we will have to find an answer
But, she said, “Israel has to put away some of their aspirations – like taking all of Judea and Samaria.”
At a July 29 meeting with Palestinian negotiators in Washington that
same year, Rice clarified her position on Ariel, whose status as a
settlement bloc that would remain with Israel under an agreement has
been less secure than that of Ma’aleh Adumim.
“I’ve never said they [Israel] had to give up Ariel,” Rice said, who
added during that meeting that she did not believe Israel would be
willing to relinquish it.