In an Israeli TV interview, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has admitted that he turned down an incredible peace deal from Ehud Olmert in 2008.

Olmert presented Abbas with a map which looked approximately as follows:

Olmert map

Image credit: Broken Spring

Olmert refused to hand the map to Abbas, who he requested to initial in agreement. Abbas refused.

The incident was documented in an article on The Tower:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has publicly confirmed for the first time that he turned down a peace offer in 2008 that would have provided for an independent Palestinian state containing all of the Gaza Strip, much of the West Bank (with land swaps), and a tunnel connecting the two areas.

Abbas made his comments in an interview on Israel’s Channel 10, which has been broadcasting a three-part series on the peace talks of 2000 and 2008. According to both Abbas and Ehud Olmert, Israel’s Prime Minister in 2008, Olmert presented Abbas in September of that year with a map that delineated the borders of the future State of Palestine. Abbas said that he “rejected it out of hand” because he claimed not to be an expert on maps, and because Olmert’s domestic scandals meant that he would shortly leave office (Olmert was later convicted of corruption). While both Olmert and other Palestinian leaders have previously said that Abbas turned down a peace proposal, this is the first time that the Palestinian Authority president has admitted as such.

At 24:05 of the video, Channel 10 reporter Raviv Drucker asked Abbas: “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?”

“I did not agree,” Abbas replied. “I rejected it out of hand.”

At 26:53 of the video, Drucker pressed again:

Drucker: Why, really, did you not accept Olmert’s offer?

Abbas: He [Olmert] said to me, “Here’s a map. See it? That’s all.” I respected his decision not to give me the map. But how can we sign something that hasn’t been given us, that hasn’t been discussed?

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