From: Ziyad Clot
Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2008 2:16 AM
To: LPU; CD
Cc: Maen Areikat (Hotmail); Andrew Kuhn (Compuserve)
Subject: TR : Israelis, Palestinians Tackle Core Issues with American Help
See above. A very weird leak.
Not sure where it could come from. Some of the information reported in the article is accurate. But other approximations are harmful to our positions (the article refers to a mechanism for refugee compensation only, restitution is not mentionned as well as the return program etc.)
It confirms refugee's file view that it is extremely risky to discuss the mechanism -even confidentially with the US- as long as the right of return and the responsibility issue are not adressed.
At this point, there is a growing risk that the PLO will have to face harsh criticism from refugee communities, Palestinian civil society...: the article was on the Fofognet distribution list so it is very likely that some reactions will follow soon.
De: Ziyad Clot [Redacted]
Date: jeu. 04/09/2008 11:31
À: Ziyad Clot
Objet : Israelis, Palestinians Tackle Core Issues with American Help
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 08:09:25 -0400
From: PRRN Assistant [Redacted]
Subject: [TML] Israelis, Palestinians Tackle Core Issues with American Help
Wed. September 3, 2008=09
The Media Line
Israelis, Palestinians Tackle Core Issues with American Help
Written by 'Abd Al-Karim Shweiki and Michael Friedson
Published Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Condoleezza Rice hosts yet another meeting of the Palestinian and
Israeli leaders. (Wafa)
[Ramallah, Jerusalem] Sources close to the Israeli-Palestinian peace
negotiations have revealed to The Media Line that a United States
State Department expert is in the region helping the two sides create
a formula for compensating Palestinian refugees as part of a final
The Palestinian-declared "right of return," the status of Jerusalem
and final borders are considered to be the most contentious issues
holding up an agreement.
The sources, who asked not to be identified, said that Jonathan
Schwartz, a U.S. Justice Department official, accompanied U.S.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on her most recent visit to the
region in the past week and participated in at least three meetings,
including the trilateral session Rice presided over with the heads of
the negotiating team, chief negotiator Ahmed Qurei' and Israeli
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Schwartz also reportedly participated in Rice's meeting with
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud 'Abbas.
Rice informed the Palestinians and the Israelis that Schwartz would
remain behind after she left in order to assist them in trying to put
together a mechanism for compensating the Palestinian refugees as part
of the final deal between the two sides.
Immediately after the meeting Schwartz met with Palestinian experts in
the West Bank city of Ramallah, to discuss various models for
compensation. The session lasted four hours.
Palestinian officials told The Media Line that they are insisting that
the solution to the issue of refugees should have three components:
That Israel recognize the principle of a "right of return" for
Palestinian refugees with the caveat that this does not mean a return
of all refugees
That Israel admit its responsibility both "politically and morally"
for the suffering of the refugees
That Israel agrees to provide compensation to the refugees
According to the Palestinian officials, Livni has so far rejected the
first two conditions, but has accepted the concept of compensation.
"What Livni says publicly about refusing [to allow] any refugee back
to Israel are the same words that we hear from her behind closed
doors," a Palestinian negotiator told The Media Line, insisting that,
"This is not acceptable to us and no Palestinian leader will be ready
to accept it because, simply, the Palestinian public will not buy it."
Palestinian officials say that although it is unimaginable that all of
the 3.5 million refugees living in the Diaspora would be returned to
Israel following the establishment of a Palestinian state, "It is also
unimaginable to tell those people that the dream they have lived with
for decades has vanished."
"For sure many of the refugees will decide to remain where they are
and others will seek to move to Europe or the United States or Canada
or Australia, and other countries; but in order to be able to market
the agreement, Israel should accept the principle of return even if it
is not implemented," a Palestinian official said.
The official also revealed that during the course of the talks Livni
insisted that compensation be paid not only to Palestinian refugees
but also to Jews who were forced to leave their homes in the Arab
countries following the establishment of the state of Israel.
The Media Line was unable to obtain confirmation or denial from Livni,
whose position remains not to comment on negotiations.
'Abbas has reportedly asked Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to
allow 100,000 refugees back into Israel over a period of 10 years in
the framework of family reunification and humanitarian cases.
But negotiators say that such an offer has never been placed on the
table by the Palestinian negotiating team, which has so far declined
to speak about numbers, but insists on focusing on principles instead.
According to a source close to 'Abbas, he "wants the priority to be
for refugees living in Lebanon because of the inhumane conditions they
are living in compared to refugees living in other Arab and foreign
Schwartz is not the only American official helping the sides create
models for solving the core issues. U.S. Gen. James Jones is working
with both sides to reach agreement regarding security arrangements for
Israel and the new state of Palestine.
But according to the Palestinian officials, wide gaps remain between
the two positions.
Upon hearing the positions stated in Jerusalem last Tuesday, the U.S.
secretary of state decided that it was time for Jones to play a more
active role in helping to reach an agreement.
A Palestinian official summarized the Israeli security position: "They
want to control our airspace, to monitor the borders and man the
crossing borders, and are insisting that the state should be
The official asked: "Have you ever heard of a demilitarized state? I
have heard of a demilitarized zone but not a demilitarized state."
The official quoted Qurei' as saying, "We want a sovereign state,
period. It's clear what this means and the Israelis should not
interfere in every nail we bring in. And we are ready for
international supervision of the borders =96 but not an Israeli one."
The official added that the Palestinians would go no further than
allowing the placement of an early warning system in the Jordan
The lead negotiators working with Jones on the security track are
Israeli Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad and Palestinian police
chief Hazem Attalah.
Palestinian officials say that progress has been made on the issue of
borders, but insist that it will be very difficult to reach an
agreement without including the issue of Jerusalem. The Israelis
insist that Jerusalem will remain the undivided capital of Israel,
while the Palestinians insist it will be the capital of their state.
According to The Media Line's sources, Rice personally interfered for
the first time during the talks over the defining of borders.
She was quoted as telling the Palestinians that, "What we are talking
about are the 1967 lands, including the West Bank, the Gaza Strip,
east Jerusalem, the Jordan valley and parts of the Dead Sea. But you
must take into account facts created on the ground since 1967. This
means that there should be agreed- upon modification of the borders in
the form of a [land] swap."
Palestinian officials reportedly accepted Rice's clarification
cautiously, but some called it meaningless unless the Americans
pressured Israel to accept it in principle.
Among the objections to the proposed revisions to pre-1967 borders, is
the Palestinians' insistence that the post-1967 city of Ariel should
not be annexed to Israel because it penetrates deep into the West
Bank, and that Ma'aleh Adumim should not be retained by Israel because
it transects the West Bank, preventing territorial contiguity.
Copyright (c) 2008 The Media Line. All Rights Reserved.
The FOFOGNET and PALDEV email lists, and Palestinian Refugee
ResearchNet (http://www.prrn.org), are projects of the Interuniversity
Consortium for Arab and Middle East Studies
Copyright for all items posted to these lists remains with the
original copyright holder.
List queries: Contact Rex Brynen at [Redacted]
End of FOFOGNET Digest - 2 Sep 2008 to 3 Sep 2008 (#2008-213)
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