The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has pointed to Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ recent open admission that he turned down then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s 2008 peace offer and made no counter-offer. Abbas had never publicly admitted that he turned down Mr. Olmert’s offer, which would have provided for an independent Palestinian state containing all of the Gaza Strip, almost all of Judea/Samaria (with compensating land swaps for territory retained by Israel), a tunnel connecting Judea/Samaria and Gaza, and a capital in eastern Jerusalem. Israel would also have acceded to the return of 5,000 Palestinian refugees of the 1948-9 war, 1,000 per annum over five years, inside Israel.
In an interview on Israel’s Channel 10, Abbas said Olmert presented him in September 2008 with a map that delineated the borders of the future State of Palestine. Asked, “In the map that Olmert presented you, Israel would annex 6.3 percent [of the West Bank] and compensate the Palestinians with 5.8 percent [taken from pre-1967 Israel]. What did you propose in return?,” Abbas replied, “I did not agree … I rejected it out of hand.” Abbas said that he would not agree to a map that wasn’t handed over to him, but Mr. Olmert said that Abbas redrew the map from memory to ensure the two men knew what was involved, but would not initial it and the PA never officially responded to the Olmert offer.
Mr. Olmert has also said that Abbas said “I am not in a marketplace or a bazaar. I came to demarcate the borders of Palestine – the June 4, 1967 borders – without detracting a single inch, and without detracting a single stone from Jerusalem, or from the holy Christian and Muslim places. This is why the Palestinian negotiators did not sign” (‘Abbas Admits For the First Time That He Turned Down Peace Offer in 2008,’ The Tower, November 17, 2015).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA has exposed numerous times the falsity of the claim made across international governments and the media that Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah, the party he leads, have accepted Israel’s legitimacy and permanence. For years, we have been drawing attention to the duplicity of Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah.
“Mahmoud Abbas has made it clear that he does not accept a Jewish state. He also insists on the racist policy of excluding all Jews from any future Palestinian state. We have seen that he refused Mr. Olmert’s offer of a Palestinian state in over 95% of the territories in question, with almost all territory retained by Israel to have been compensated by the offer of land within Israel proper. And, Abbas made no counter-offer.
“The PA engages daily in anti-peace, pro-terror acts of incitement, misinformation and propaganda –– it clearly is not seeking a peace settlement with Israel, not even one it intends to break.
“Mahmoud Abbas has merely admitted what is –– or should have been –– long known to any informed observer.”