The idea of “land swaps” arose in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations since the Camp David talks in late July 2000.
The Geneva Initiative, signed in Geneva in December 2003 between representatives of Israeli and Palestinian “civil society” [who included or who were in close touch with the former Camp David negotiators] said these proposed “land swaps” should be carried out on a 1:1 basis [of equal size, and also of equal quality].
In an article by correspondent Barak Ravid published today, Haaretz included the following new information as background [it’s left to the final paragraph]:
“The Palestinians also showed readiness to make certain compromises in Jerusalem, during both the Camp David and the Annapolis talks. The Palestinians were ready to leave under Israeli sovereignty most Jewish neighborhoods founded in East Jerusalem after 1967, with the exception of Har Homa. Also, the Palestinians even expressed agreement to the plan for international administration over holy sites, and offered to leave the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood under Israeli sovereignty in a territorial swap“. This is published here.
Palestinian negotiators are supposed to have agreed that Sheikh Jarrah will be put under Israeli sovereignty? This is the first report about any such Palestinian agreement.
- Israel extended its law and administration to Jerusalem in June 1967, a few weeks after the Six Day / June war — a move tantamount to [but not quite] annexation. This move was declared null and void, and has not been recognized, by almost all UN Member States. At that time, boundaries of a new “Greater Jerusalem” were drawn up by the Jerusalem Municipality, including Sheikh Jarrah and a larger crescent of land extending in an arc from Ramallah in the north to almost Bethlehem in the South. Since then, Israel considers this as Jerusalem, more or less — although a large area of “Greater Jerusalem” was West Bank land before the June 1967 war and the subsequent Israeli military occupation. In 1980, the Israeli Knesset adopted a Basic Law declaring Jerusalem as its eternal + undivided capital [and annexing the Golan Heights].
There have been previous reports that Palestinian negotiators had indicated that French Hill, Ramot, and Pisgat Zeev to the north of the Old City [as well as Neve Yaakov, which was Jewish property under the Ottoman and British Mandate periods] could be left as is. It was not clear about Gilo to the south, near Bethlehem. But the Palestinian negotiators were adamant about the return of Har Homa [which Palestinians call Jabel Abu Ghneim], and they had also not given in on the very large settlement of Maale Adumim to the east, between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.
But never Sheikh Jarrah…