Prime Minister Ehud Olmert attempted to clarify Thursday alleged promises he had made in a so-called 'final offer' to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in September 2008, which included the eviction of tens of thousands of settlers and territorial concessions in Jerusalem.
"There was one point when I put things on the table and offered Abbas something that had never been offered and dealt with the crux of the problem, with the most sensitive issues that touch the most exposed nerves and historical obstacles," Olmert said during a Thursday conference in Herzliya.
"I told him – 'let's sign.' It was half a year ago and I'm still waiting," he said.
Senior officials said that a meeting of the leaders in the Prime Minister's resident in Jerusalem involved a "final offer to end the conflict." The offer involved a future border between a possible Palestinian state to Israel, involving the eviction of the more than 60,000 settlers living beyond the security barrier in the West Bank – the proposed new border between the two entities.
The offer involved a return of 93% of the West Bank, leaving in Israel the large population centers, such as Ariel and Elkanah in the north, Maaleh Adumim in the center, and Jerusalem and Gush Etzion in the south.
Regarding Jerusalem itself, Olmert offered to cede over to the Palestinians the peripheral neighborhoods and the refugee camps surrounding the city, such as Kalandia. The holy sites, whose sovereignty is desired by all faiths, would be determined within an international framework, the prime minister said.
The plan was also presented to the Americans who, according to the Prime Minister's Office, supported the plan. They apparently also expressed optimism that the offer would be acceptable to the Palestinians.
"Sadly, to this day, the prime minister has not recent an answer from Abbas to the generous offer, which was designed to bring an end to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and bring about the creation of two states for two peoples."