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May 29, 2009

Mahmoud Abbas Acknowledges Rejecting Israeli Peace Offer

Washington Post Deputy Editorial Editor Jackson Diehl recounts his recent conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in today's issue of the newspaper.

It seems that yet again Israel offered Palestinians a state on virtually the entire West Bank, and yet again a Palestinian leader — this time the one widely described as moderate — rejected the offer.

Diehl writes:

In our meeting Wednesday, Abbas acknowledged that Olmert had shown him a map proposing a Palestinian state on 97 percent of the West Bank -- though he complained that the Israeli leader refused to give him a copy of the plan. He confirmed that Olmert "accepted the principle" of the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees -- something no previous Israeli prime minister had done -- and offered to resettle thousands in Israel. In all, Olmert's peace offer was more generous to the Palestinians than either that of Bush or Bill Clinton; it's almost impossible to imagine Obama, or any Israeli government, going further.

Abbas turned it down. "The gaps were wide," he said.

Diehl also quotes Abbas as rejecting, again, the notion that he should recognize Israel as the Jewish state, and as saying that the Palestinians can wait without making concessions in part because "the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life."

Posted by GI at May 29, 2009 11:52 AM


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