Meeting Summary: 5th Meeting on Territory
Summary of the 5th Meeting on Territory. The Israelis presented their ideas on the additional areas they want in the West Bank. Israel refused to discuss details on land swap proposals, claiming no official decisions had been made. Both sides noted the lack of progress on territory issues.
Minutes of 5th Meeting on Territory
Monday, 7 April 2008, 18h10
King David Hotel, West Jerusalem
Palestinian: Dr. Samih Al-Abed [SA], Azem Bishara [AB], Khaled Elgindy [KE],
Nizar Farsakh [NF] and Fouad Hallak [FH]
Israeli: Udi Dekel [UD], Dani Tirza [DT], Leah Arad [LA] and Kamil Abu-Rukn [KAR]
The Israeli side presented their ideas on the rest of the areas they want in the West Bank (basically the wall with minor modifications—see attached map). While they claimed they are opposed to creating any “islands” or enclaves, their definition of contiguity is quite different than ours. Thus, their solution to the problem of Palestinian localities that are cut off by their proposed blocs is to build alternate roads and tunnels to ensure connectivity (i.e., “transportation contiguity”). In a few cases, however, some Palestinian localities remained inside the blocs, for which they did not provide any clear explanation.
Parallel with this, the Israeli side informed us of still more areas of the West Bank they wish to take out of the Territory committee. Thus, along with the “Greater Jerusalem” area and areas to be decided after security like the Jordan valley, the Israelis are now insisting that Hebron and Qiryat Arba’ also be discussed by the leadership first, before being addressed by Territory.
According to the Israeli side, the sum total of the “bloc” areas presented (which excludes the Jerusalem area, the NML, the Jordan Valley and certain other settlement areas) was less than 600 km2(which represents more than 10% of the West Bank). However, as noted above, overall Israeli territorial demands are going to exceed 10%.
The Israeli side resumed their original highly rigid position with regard to landswaps. When asked which lands they were prepared to give in return for what they are demanding, the Israeli side claimed there was no decision by the
leadership to discuss swaps—despite the fact that Livni herself had said that they would engage on swaps.
Given the Israeli side’s persistent rejection of 1967 as a basis and the concept of landswaps, and their increasing territorial demands, the overall tone of the meeting was not constructive. The Palestinian side expressed displeasure with the Israeli presentation as both unconvincing and indicative of a lack of good faith, and reiterated the position that 1967 is the basis, that all settlements are illegal and must be removed, and that Jerusalem must be part of the discussion on territory. The response by the Israeli side was to accuse us of taking an “all or nothing” approach, which was not conducive to negotiations and would ultimately lead to the Palestinians receiving nothing.
Given the current deadlock and lack of progress, both sides agreed to bring the matter to the plenary level and urge them to give new instructions on how to proceed.
Finally, we asked them to clarify the position they took in the previous meeting in which they threatened to continue expanding settlements everywhere if no agreement was reached on borders, and whether this was the official position of the GOI. However, the Israeli side refused to respond or reiterate that position as a matter of record.
END TIME: 19h40
It was unclear what KAR was doing in the meeting. He was not on the list of people provided to us by the Israelis and the Israeli side seemed surprised by his presence as well.