This is an exclusive [not ours, but of Israeli journalist Avi Issacharoff, who reported it in The Tower, here] — a map reportedly hand-drawn from memory by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on 16 September 2008 upon his return to Ramallah after meeting Israel’s then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
In his exclusive, Issacharoff wrote that this map somehow “calls into question the basic willingness of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accept any peace agreement with the Jewish State”…
On the other hand, Issacharoff’ s story w/ Abbas map could have the effect of bolstering Abbas’ wish to restart talks at the point they broke off in September 2008 — in other words, on the basis of the proposals made in this map.
In fact, the only thing that’s new in this story, so far, is the photo of this map. [But, Issacharoff promises to publish his full interview with Olmert tomorrow.]
Meanwhile, Palestinian negotiators have said for several years that the Israelis only let them look at this map, but never to keep it. Palestinians then prepared their own map which they gave to George Mitchell at the start of the Obama administration’s involvement in 2009, but they say that to this day Israel has not presented a map.
Palestinians say that Netanyahu’s negotiator Yitzhak Molcho has since introduced the idea that Israel should be allowed to keep a security corridor all along the Jordan [River] Valley, carving out a large slice that would remain under their control. Mohammad Shtayyah said after a series of direct contacts in Amman in January 2012 that Molcho said, “Give it to us, or we’ll take it”… And President Abbas has complained to a number of visiting American and Israeli delegations about Israel’s Jordan Valley ambitions.
The Abbas-drawn map shows, inside the West Bank, only the 3 large settlement blocs that have been under discussion between Israels and Palestinians since 2000-2001: Ariel, Gush Etzion, Maale Adumim.
It also shows, outside the West Bank, what must be proposed areas of land swaps: North of the West Bank; at the Tarqumiya area to the west; and South of the West Bank.
[The two designs to the left are not clear -- is the top one just a doodle?]
But Issacharoff’s thesis doesn’t hold water — the Palestinian leadership wants a peace deal at least as much as the Israeli leadership, if not more.
This is a September 2008 map of Israeli proposals Land Swaps — an idea that evolved out of the Geneva Initiative signed in December 2003, in Geneva, between Israeli and Palestinian “civil society” teams. The Palestinian achievement was in insisting that the Land Swaps be on 1:1 basis. They later scored an even greater victory: the Land Swaps should be of land of an equal or greater “quality” [i.e., not rubbish or barren wasteland].
I was shown a similar map in a Ministry in Ramallah in January 2001 — without the Land Swap blobs drawn by Abbas just outside the North + South of the West Bank, and just to the West of the Tarqoumiya area [which was supposed to be the terminal for the two-way safe-passage route planned between Gaza and the West Bank].
In other words, in late 2000 + 2001, Israeli negotiators working for then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak were proposing that they keep the three large settlement blocs marked on the map. The Palestinian negotiators apparently were willing at that time, as I was told in another Ramallah office, to cede only two, not three.
It took eight years for the Israeli negotiators to sweeten their offer with an exchange proposal, the Land Swaps…
By the time the Olmert proposal was made to Abbas on 16 September 2008, as part of the American-led Annapolis process of negotiations that was supposed to lead to a state by the end of 2008 [or the end of the Bush Admin in January 2009], Olmert himself was facing indictment and the Palestinians were told [and decided] to hold off on any committment…
On 27 December 2008, Israel launched a massive military operation, Cast Lead, into Gaza — and Abbas broke off negotiations a few days later. Despite a few contacts, these negotiations have not yet resumed — and Abbas wants them to resume where they left off on 16 September 2008…
Neither side has an exclusivity on missing opportunities