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Home > Email Forwards > Details of Camp David negotiations...

Subject: Details of Camp David negotiations...
Source: MEMRI
Date Sent to Zipple:

>Abu Mazen discusses Jerusalem and the Refugees
> >In an article published by the London-based pan-Arabic daily Al-Hayat, >Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee, Mahmoud Abbas, aka >Abu >Mazen revealed some details of the Camp David negotiations over >Jerusalem >and the refugees. Following are excerpts from the article:

> >Jerusalem

> >"...In Camp David... the Israelis and Americans were releasing >test-balloons >regarding solutions to the Jerusalem issues…."

> >"In all of their proposals, they spoke of annexing more than one >quarter >within the walls; they focused on the Armenian quarter, assuming that >[the >annexation to Israel of] the Jewish quarter was a given."

> >"We categorically rejected all of these proposals, and so they dropped, >the >bomb of their demand for sovereignty over the Al-Haram [the Temple >Mount], >claiming that the remains of Solomon's Temple are in its square or >directly >underneath the Al-Haram Al-Sharif itself. They also demanded praying >privileges in the Al-Haram for a set number of people per day or per >week."

> >"We rejected this as well, but we agreed that they could pray next to >the >[Wailing] Wall, without acknowledging any Israeli sovereignty over it. >We >relied on the resolution of Britain's 1929 Shaw Commission. The >Commission >acknowledged that the Wall belongs to the Muslim Waqf, while the Jews >are >allowed to pray by it as long as they do not use a Shofar." (1)

> >"After the summit they demanded, through mediators, to establish a >small >synagogue in Al-Haram's square and said that they would be satisfied >with >that. When their proposal was rejected, they proposed that a Muslim >state >establish an installation on Temple Mount, part of which would be used >by >the Jews as a synagogue. However, we rejected this proposal as well."

> >"Afterwards, they proposed that the sovereignty [over the Temple Mount] >be >[given] to God and that neither side demand proprietorship. We rejected >this >proposal because God is sovereign of the Universe in its entirety; why, > >then, should His sovereignty be established specifically in this case? >In >fact, they wanted to establish it specifically in this case so that the > >sovereignty would return to them, since they, in their view, are the >closest >to God out of all the world's nations [i.e. 'the Chosen People']."

> >"Israel operates in such a way in order to indicate to its adversary or > >enemy that any demands of it are futile... it tries to cause its enemy >or >adversary to doubt his own rights and his ability to achieve them..."

> >"Some believed that erasing the [Israeli] 'redline' or 'taboo' on the >issue >of Jerusalem is a victory for us... the truth is that Israel has no >objection to opening up taboo issues in order to feel the other side's >pulse. Thus, they create an impression that it is Israel that makes >concessions and demonstrates flexibility, so that the other side is >expected >to answer in kind and begin the process of compromising..."

> >"Therefore, whatever achievements we may gain [by the erasing Israeli >taboos], we will end up the losers, because it is merely a negotiating >maneuver which cannot be perceived as a [Palestinian] victory or >achievement..."

> >"Our position on the issue of Jerusalem is simple: Jerusalem is part of >the >territories occupied in 1967 and, hence, Resolution 242 applies to it. >Jerusalem must return to our sovereignty and we will establish our >capital >on it. We have no objection that East and West Jerusalem will be open >to one >another and cooperate in municipal activities."

> >The Refugee Problem

> >"The issue of the refugees was at least as important as the Jerusalem >issue, >and judging by the results, maybe even more important and difficult. We > >encountered, and will encounter in the future, fierce resistance on >this >subject from the Israeli government, because the bottom line is that >[the >return of refugees] means altering the demographic character [of >Israel] >that the Israelis hope to preserve. In addition, recognition by Israel >of >the existence of a refugee problem entails an acknowledgment of >Israel's >responsibility for this humanitarian tragedy."

> >"The refugee issue is an Israeli taboo and Barak's foremost redline. >This >is the most prominent issue on which there is an Israeli consensus: >left, >right and center, religious and secular, new immigrants and old. >Therefore, >all the doors to this difficult problem are locked… [In Israel's view] >the >Refugee Problem is an Arab and international affair in which Israel >does not >have the slightest interest. This is the Israeli rhetoric as we see, >hear, >and read in all their media and in their leaders' statements."

> >"…The Israelis say how the Palestinians left their homeland of their >own >volition and after a call [to leave] by Arab and Palestinian leaders, >who >wanted to annihilate Israel."

> >"If compensation is needed, Israel will be delighted to put up an >international fund. It is even ready to participate in this fund in >order to >settle the refugees - outside of Israeli territory, of course - but >Israel >also states that there is a tragedy that is parallel to that of the >Palestinian refugees: the tragedy of the Jewish [immigrants] from Arab >countries. Israel claims that the international compensation should >include >these people and that the money should be divided equally between the >Palestinians and the Jews…"

> >"We, on the other hand, claim the following: paragraph 2b. of >Resolution 242 >says that 'achieving a just settlement for the refugee problem' is >necessary. There is no UN resolution dealing with the Refugee Problem >other >than General Assembly Resolution 194 from 1949 that states >'compensation >should be paid [...] for those who choose not to return.' The right of > >return has priority and whoever does not wish it, may demand >compensation. >It is noteworthy that the US kept bringing this resolution up each year > >until it was nicknamed the "American baby resolution."

> >"Testimony by Israeli new historians prove that the main reason for the > >exile of the refugees was the premeditated massacres committed by the >Zionist organizations in order to empty the land of its inhabitants..."

> >"Compensation should be paid by the Absentee's Property Fund that was >founded by Israel in 1949 in order to invest the money of the Arab >absentees >whose property was stolen. Therefore, compensation should go to those >who >wish to return as well: compensation for the use of their lands and for > >their suffering for fifty years and more. Naturally, this compensation >should also go to the refugee-hosting states: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, >Egypt, >Iraq, and the PA."

> >When we entered the details of the number of refugees, the Israeli side > >claimed that no more than 150 thousand refugees left their homes. >However, >we confronted them with official international, and even Israeli, data.

> >According to UN figures, the number of refugees who left their homes >[in >1948] was 950 thousand, while official Israeli circles set the number >at 750 >thousand. Whatever the real number may be is irrelevant, since the >question >relates to the principle and the right.

> >It is noteworthy in this matter, and this is also what we clarified to >the >Israelis, that the Right of Return means a return to Israel and not to >the >Palestinian State… When we talk about the Right of Return, we talk >about >the return of refugees to Israel, because Israel was the one who >deported >them and it is in Israel that their property is found…" (2)

> >Endnotes:

> >(1) Although the violence erupted in August 1929, the Shaw Commission >submitted its report in March 1930, and recommended an International >Commission of Inquiry, which in its turn submitted its own report in >December 1930. This report declared the Muslim Waqf as the proprietor >of >the Wailing Wall and stated that Jewish prayer arrangements should be >in >accordance with the status quo. The Ottoman status quo prohibited the >use >of the Shofar by the Jews.

> >(2) Al-Hayat (London-Beirut), November 23, 2000 part I, November 24, >2000 >part II.


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