Palestinian Authority representatives accused former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of blocking the peace process between Israel and the PA, despite the latter's claims that he had put an offer to the Palestinians on the table that was too good to refuse.
According to chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, and as reported by the Palestinian journal al-Ayyam, not only had the prime minister avoided responding to an excellent peace offer, but shortly afterward had bombed Gaza.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had given Olmert a written plan for a long-term peace, a copy of which was handed to former US President George W. Bush during Abbas' December 18 visit to Washington, Erekat said, speaking to foreign journalists who had arrived at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem
Erekat claimed that Olmert refrained from answering the offer and instead chose to launch Operation Cast Lead against Hamas a few days later.
Palestinian sources told Ynet on Tuesday morning that the document Erekat was referring to was part of a series of documents exchanged between the sides. According to the sources, the documents contained one fixed factor, which was the regular stance on the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and an exchange of territories in return for the three settlement blocs, as well as a territorial sequence between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Olmert, who spent the end of his tenure talking about both Palestinian resistance to peace overtures and to the necessity of painful concessions on both sides, asserted before leaving office that "the reason no agreement has been reached, it's only because of the weakness and lack of courage of the Palestinian leadership to do so. Anything else is an attempt to distract attention from the central issue."