'Leaked' Palestinian Peace Offer Sparks Uproar

Israel nixed offer that East Jerusalem settlers could stay: al-Jazeera
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jan 24, 2011 1:21 AM CST
Updated Jan 24, 2011 6:30 AM CST
An Israeli army officer walks between protesting Palestinian schoolgirls in the West Bank village of Al Sawiya, south of Nablus late last year.   (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)
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(Newser) – A surprising peace offer from Palestinian negotiators reportedly allowing Israel to keep disputed areas has been leaked to the public and is sparking an uproar. The documents suggest the Palestinians agreed to allow Israel to keep large parts of East Jerusalem—an offer Israel apparently rejected, reports the BBC. The information in some 16,000 records obtained by al-Jazeera contrasts the apparent desperate powerlessness of Palestinians with the hard-line positions of the Israelis. But top Palestinian officials are denying the documents are real. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called the information "a pack of lies."

Negotiators "have not gone back on our position," he told al-Jazeera. "If we had made such concessions, why hasn't Israel agreed to sign a peace accord?" he asked. Peace talks have been held up for months, reportedly because of Israel's refusal to stop settlements on Palestinian land. Israel has established close to 500,000 Israelis in 100 settlements on the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since 1967. In 2008, the chief Palestinian negotiator proposed that Israel annex all but one Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem, but was rebuffed, according to the al-Jazeera records. Israeli authorities have not yet commented on the al-Jazeera report.

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