Hastily drawn 2008 sketch by Abbas, made public for the first time, illustrates former prime minister’s dramatic territorial proposal for ‘Palestine’
The sketch, which includes no place names, indicates that Olmert was apparently willing to more or less return to the pre-1967 lines, while maintaining the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem, the settlement city of Ma’ale Adumin to the east, and a slice of territory that apparently would encompass the large settlement of Ariel in Samaria. In exchange for expanding Israeli sovereignty to those areas, Israel would have given up some of its own land to the new Palestinian state.
According to Walla, Olmert envisaged relinquishing Israeli territory on a one-for-one basis to the Palestinians in areas including near Afula; near Tirat Zvi south of Beit She’an; north of Jerusalem; in the Judean Desert, and in the Lachish area. He also endorsed a tunnel route to link Gaza and the West Bank.
Olmert, as he has subsequently confirmed, was also prepared to divide Jerusalem into Israeli- and Palestinian-controlled neighborhoods, and to relinquish Israeli sovereignty at the Temple Mount and the entire Old City. He proposed that the “Holy Basin” be overseen instead by a five-member, non-sovereign international trusteeship, comprising Israel, the PA, Jordan, the US and Saudi Arabia.
According to Walla, Olmert has confirmed that Abbas’s sketched map is similar to that depicted in his proposal, and reconfirmed his readiness to have relinquished sovereignty at the Temple Mount.
The map shows no Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley. Walla said Olmert confirmed he was ready to forgo an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley — a key strategic area, control of which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defined as vital to Israel’s security. In return, Walla cited Olmert as saying, Israel expected full security cooperation with Jordan.
In March, the New Republic reported that in September 2008 Abbas was close to signing an agreement that would have seen him give up on the so-called “right of return” for Palestinian refugees and their descendants beyond a symbolic number of several thousand.