maandag 15 december 2008

Zijn de Palestijnen bereid tot landruil?

 
Als deze uitspraken van Qurei uit het eerste artikel inderdaad kloppen, zou dat zeer opmerkelijk zijn. Het komt hoogst zelden tot vrijwel nooit voor dat een PA woordvoerder het zogenaamde "recht op terugkeer" van de Palestijnse vluchtelingen relativeert:
 
Qurei said Olmert's offer of 5,000 refugees over five years was rejected, but noted that the Palestinians don't seek the return of all refugees and their descendants, a group of several million.

"To say that not a single refugee would be allowed back or that all the refugees should be allowed back is not a solution," he said. "We should reach a mutual position on this issue."
 
Qurei's afwijzing van een landruil lijkt daarentegen eerder een stap terug. In het verleden leek de PA daar niet uitgesproken op tegen te zijn.
 
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PA onderhandelaar Qurei houdt vast aan volledige terugtrekking Israel

 
Hieronder 2 artikelen uit de Jerusalem Post.
 
Als je het eerste artikel (van Associated Press) leest, zou je haast gaan denken dat een compromis mogelijk moet zijn en er het afgelopen jaar toch een en ander is bereikt. Anderzijds kan een en ander pas uitgevoerd worden als het 'vertrouwen op de grond' is gegroeid, en de Palestijnse Autoriteit de gewapende groepen heeft ontmanteld en ontwapend, inclusief Hamas. Ook zal de PA de instituties moeten ontwikkelen om een land te besturen, en dan moet men het nog eens worden over Jeruzalem, andere heilige plaatsen, en de vluchtelingen.
 
Echter, dit AP-artikel is door de Jerusalem Post later vervangen door een eigen artikel. De JP vond klaarblijkelijk dat de AP de uitspraken van Qurei vertekend en selectief weergaf. Uit dit tweede artikel komt een ander beeld naar voren, het meer vertrouwde beeld van de Palestijnen waarin men zich niet bereid toont tot enige flexibiliteit.
 
Uit het eerste artikel:
 
"Israel offered to give some of its own territory as compensation for the annexed areas, but not an equal trade in size and quality, Qurei said. The negotiator said the Palestinians did not accept the Israeli offer, arguing that some of the areas Israel wants to annex would be vital to the creation of a Palestinian state.
Qurei has said in the past the Palestinians are willing to consider an annexation of some settlements and a land swap, but on a much smaller scale."
 
Uit het tweede artikel:
 
"Initially, Israel sought to annex 7.3 percent of the West Bank," he disclosed. "Then it went down to 6.8%. Of course we completely rejected this idea."
These settlement blocs constitute an obstacle to any future peace agreement," Qurei stressed. "There can be no peace with the presence of these settlement blocs in the West Bank.
Qurei said the Palestinians have also rejected the idea of land swap with Israel.
"Peace can be achieved only if Israel withdraws to the last centimeter of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967," Qurei said.
 
 
Dit lijkt een schoolvoorbeeld van hoe persbureau's en journalisten hun eigen interpretatie en draai geven aan het nieuws...
 
 
RP & WB
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The Jerusalem Post
Dec 13, 2008 0:31 | Updated Dec 13, 2008 10:55
 
 
Israel has proposed to annex 6.8 percent of the West Bank and take in 5,000 Palestinian refugees, the chief Palestinian negotiator said Friday, speaking for the first time in detail about the year-long US-backed negotiations that failed to produce an agreement.

Israel never revealed its position on the future of Jerusalem, the most contentious issue in the negotiations, said negotiator Ahmed Qurei.

His comments appeared aimed, in part, at providing a record of the Israeli position ahead of leadership changes in Israel and the United States. Israel holds elections Feb. 10, and polls suggest opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu is poised to become the country's next prime minister.

Netanyahu opposes large-scale territorial concessions and has said he would not continue the negotiations in their current format. He has said he would try to focus on improving the Palestinian economy instead.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also faces a leadership challenge from his Hamas rivals, who rule Gaza and say Abbas's term in office ends in January.

Qurei told Palestinian reporters on Friday that Israel wants to keep four blocs of Jewish settlements - Ariel, Ma'aleh Adumim, Givat Ze'ev and Efrat-Gush Etzion.

He said Israel initially asked to annex 7.3 percent of the West Bank, then reduced the demand to 6.8 percent. He said Israel presented maps for both offers.

Israel offered to give some of its own territory as compensation for the annexed areas, but not an equal trade in size and quality, Qurei said. The negotiator said the Palestinians did not accept the Israeli offer, arguing that some of the areas Israel wants to annex would be vital to the creation of a Palestinian state.

Qurei has said in the past the Palestinians are willing to consider an annexation of some settlements and a land swap, but on a much smaller scale.

He said the Palestinians repeatedly raised their demand for a division of Jerusalem, but that Israel's chief negotiator, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, never presented an Israeli position. Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said Israel would have to give up some Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem. However, Shas has threatened to quit the coalition if Jerusalem is discussed in the negotiations.

Olmert's office declined comment Friday on the specifics provided by Qurei. However, Olmert aides noted his recent speeches, in which he said Israel would have to withdraw from much of the land it captured in the Six Day War, including the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem.

Qurei said Olmert's offer of 5,000 refugees over five years was rejected, but noted that the Palestinians don't seek the return of all refugees and their descendants, a group of several million.

"To say that not a single refugee would be allowed back or that all the refugees should be allowed back is not a solution," he said. "We should reach a mutual position on this issue."

Israel has adamantly refused to accept large numbers of Palestinians, saying mass repatriation would destroy the Jewish character of the state.

The negotiations were launched a year ago, at a US-hosted Mideast conference in Annapolis, Maryland. Since then, Qurei and Livni have met repeatedly, in parallel to talks between Olmert and Abbas. Qurei said he last spoke to Livni by phone a month ago.

Olmert paid a farewell visit to outgoing US President George W. Bush in late November, and Abbas is to meet with Bush at the White House next week.

Qurei said he hopes Barack Obama will make solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a priority when he takes over as US president in January. "We hope that we will not have to wait" for intensive US involvement, he said.

The Palestinian negotiator said it's possible Netanyahu, if elected, will seek to erase the last year of negotiations. "There is a possibility that if Netanyahu wins, he will begin things from the point of zero," Qurei said, adding that while each side kept notes during the negotiations, there is no joint written record.

Qurei noted that during a term as prime minister in the 1990s, Netanyahu signed two interim agreements with the Palestinians, despite his hardline positions.

"Therefore, a person in the position of responsibility could change contrary to his position in the opposition," Qureia said. "At the end of the day, we'll deal with anyone who wins the election."


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The Jerusalem Post
Dec 13, 2008 0:31 | Updated Dec 14, 2008 12:16

Qurei: No room for Jews in the West Bank
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH AND MARK WEISS
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1228728175196&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

 
There will be no room for Jews or settlements in the West Bank because their presence there will always be an obstacle to peace with Israel, Ahmed Qurei, head of the Palestinian Authority negotiating team, said at the weekend.

Qurei, who was speaking to Palestinian reporters at his home in the village of Abu Dis, said that the peace talks have been suspended because of the upcoming elections in Israel, adding that the gap between the two sides remained as wide as ever.

Qurei said that the major difference centered on the status of the settlements in the West Bank.

"Initially, Israel sought to annex 7.3 percent of the West Bank," he disclosed. "Then it went down to 6.8%. Of course we completely rejected this idea."

Qurei said that by annexing settlement blocs, Israel would have been allowed to keep the important areas in the West Bank, rendering it impossible to establish a Palestinian state with territorial continuity.

The areas which Israel seeks to retain control over in a final agreement with the Palestinians are Ariel, Givat Ze'ev, Maaleh Adumim and Gush Etzion, he added.

"These settlement blocs constitute an obstacle to any future peace agreement," Qurei stressed. "There can be no peace with the presence of these settlement blocs in the West Bank.

"Our experiences have taught us that it's impossible to coexist with these settlers. We still remember the [Tomb of the Patriarchs] massacre in Hebron in 1994 and the daily attacks carried out by settlers in Hebron, Nablus, Kalkilya and other places.

"All these attacks prove that the settlers are dangerous and that it's impossible to live with them. If these settlers are allowed to stay, that would mean more friction and confrontation. Peace can be achieved only if Israel withdraws to the last centimeter of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967," Qurei said.

There was no official Israeli response to Qurei's comments, but a senior diplomatic source in Jerusalem stressed that what the Palestinian chief negotiator said "was not entirely accurate."

Israeli representatives have refused to reveal details on the negotiations that have taken place since the Annapolis process was launched last year, and are reluctant even to respond to Palestinian claims of what was discussed.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said settlement blocs are a legitimate Israeli demand and that Gush Etzion, Maaleh Adumim, Givat Ze'ev and Ariel-Kedumim should be part of Israel under a permanent peace agreement.

Speaking over the weekend, Barak said, "if and when there is a peace agreement, if it is in five months, or five years, or 15 years, we will need a magnifying glass to spot the differences between the agreement and what was on the table at Camp David."

The chief Palestinian negotiator also said Israel agreed to take in 5,000 Palestinian refugees over a five-year period, but this was rejected by the Palestinians.

Qurei said he had not heard from Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni about the Israeli government's final position regarding the future status of Jerusalem, "apparently due to internal Israeli issues."

The issue of Jerusalem, he said, was not discussed at all because of its complexity.

"Every day Israel is creating new facts on the ground that further complicate the issue of Jerusalem," Qurei, a former PA prime minister, charged. "Israel is seeking to squeeze the Arabs out of the city. This has raised a lot of concern and has created mistrust between the two sides."

Qurei said the Palestinians have also rejected the idea of land swap with Israel.

"How can we give up any part of Jerusalem?" he asked. "For us Jerusalem is not only a spiritual or cultural or historic center, but also the economic center of the future Palestinian state. The settlements surrounding the city will make it hard for millions of Arabs, Muslims and Christians to visit Jerusalem in the future."

Qurei also denied reports according to which he has not been speaking to PA President Mahmoud Abbas for several weeks now.

"There are no differences between us, and all what's being said in this regard is untrue," he said.

Qurei has boycotted several meetings with Abbas over the past few months, triggering rumors about a sharp dispute between the two.

Meanwhile, for the first time in five years, the UN Security Council is poised to adopt a resolution calling for collective peace in the Middle East.

Council members met Saturday in a closed-door emergency session to discuss a US-drafted resolution, strongly backed by Russia, that appeared to have near-unanimous support.

A vote on it by the 15-nation council is expected Tuesday.

The two-page draft resolution calls on Israelis and Palestinians "to fulfill their obligations" under the Annapolis process and for all nations and international groups "to contribute to an atmosphere conducive to negotiations."

The council would reiterate "its vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders."

The US focus is on a smooth hand-off to President-elect Barack Obama that keeps up the momentum for peace, said US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who made a symbolic point of standing beside Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin while addressing reporters after the council session.

"This is an important time for the council to express itself on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. There is transition taking place here - by here I mean the United States - and there is of course also transition possibilities in other countries in the region," Khalilzad said.

It's also important, Khalilzad said, that nations "recognize the progress that has been made and for this process ... to be sustained, and for the council to express its support so that there is no pause in the negotiations" once Bush leaves the White House.

Churkin said the draft resolution was presented to council members Saturday for the first time as a culmination of "this close joint work" between the US and Russia, which have been at serious odds much of this past year over Zimbabwe, Georgia and other issues.

"We believe it's very important to continue the momentum," Churkin said. "Of course, we all cannot be satisfied with where the peace process is at now. But considerable effort has been made over the past 12 months or so. And we believe that the effort has to be pinned down, and it has to continue without a pause, which may be there because of some political circumstances: change of administration in the United States, elections in Israel, possible elections in the Palestinian autonomy."

On Monday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will come to the UN for two days. First she will meet with the Middle East quartet - the European Union, the United States, Russia and the United Nations - that also will meet with Arab partners for talks on Middle East peace efforts.

The next day she is participating in a council session on piracy from Somalia.

"It is very important for the Security Council to show that they are on the side of the people on the ground" in the Middle East, said French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert, whose nation holds the EU presidency until the end of the year.

He said France has been urging for a long time that the Security Council get involved in the Mideast peace process.

"So for us it could be a very important milestone... to go forward to the solution of two states living side-by-side in peace," Ripert said.

The council needs only nine members to pass the new draft resolution, but diplomats said the resolution appears to be headed toward near-unanimous passage.

An Israeli official told The Jerusalem Post that "there is no reason for Israel to oppose such a move," hinting that Washington and Jerusalem may have coordinated the initiative.

The official said that as long as the text backs the Annapolis process, supports continuing bilateral negotiations and does not impose timetables, then Israel welcomes the move.

AP contributed to this report
 
 

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