The Palestinians are willing to consider making larger territorial concessions in peace talks with Israel than have been offered in the past, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, quoting officials involved in the proximity talks. According to the report, concessions could reach 4% of the West Bank.
The information has yet to be confirmed by an official source.
According to the newspaper, there is a prevailing belief in the Palestinian Authority that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not prepared to make peace with the Palestinians, and, as such, they may have offered up such generous proposals without any concern for having to follow through on them.
Officials briefed on the current negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians told the newspaper that the Palestinians notified Mitchell that they are willing to extend Netanyahu the same offer they made to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and are even willing to consider doubling the territory to be transferred to Israel as part of a peace deal.
The offer made then to Olmert was that 1.9% of the West Bank would be transferred to Israeli control in exchange for an equal amount of Israeli territory. However, Olmert rejected to deal, demanding that more land be included in the land swap.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat declined comment on what was discussed with Mitchell specifically. "We are not going to waste Mitchell's time," Mr. Erekat said. "We want Mr. Mitchell to succeed because his success is our freedom."
Prime Minister Netanyahu met Thursday with US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell. On Wednesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reported that he planned to notify Mitchell of his consent to have North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces stationed in a future Palestinian state. London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi reported that the NATO forces would oversee such a state's borders.
According to the report, Abbas planned to inform the US envoy that he intends to establish a state within the confines of the 1967 borders, while keeping the option of a territorial exchange with Israel. The newspaper also reported that Abbas "intends to "reiterate his commitment to fighting terror and any incitement or violence against Israel. He will stress that the PA has met its security obligations, as detailed in the Road Map, in full."