[tweetmeme] With proximity talks set to start next week, it is helpful to look back at where talks last stalled. The last peace talks between Israel and Palestine occurred in 2007-2008 after the Annapolis Conference with President Bush. Middle East Progress – a subsidiary of the Center for American Progress has a great overview of where talks ended, highlighting the status of the major issues – borders, Jerusalem, refugees and security. Take is away:
When Israelis and Palestinians renew negotiations, one of the main questions will be where negotiations on the core issues should begin. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wants negotiations to start from the point where they ended in his discussions with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as part of the Annapolis process, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not want to, as these were offers and no agreement was made.
Below is an overview of where negotiations left off.
Following the November 2007 Annapolis conference, negotiations began on a three-level model: direct talks on the core issues between then Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and lead Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei; negotiating teams discussing the issues in detail; and Olmert and Abbas stepping in to resolve disagreements.
Olmert and Abbas presented plans in late 2008 based on the progress made on each of the core issues—borders, Jerusalem, refugees and security. According to reports, the plans addressed the issues as such:
� Borders: Olmert says that in his plan, the Palestinian state would be based on 1967 borders with minor adjustments taking into account changes on the ground. Israel would annex around 6.3 or 6.4 percent of the West Bank with the Palestinians receiving lands equal to 5.8 percent of the area of the West Bank. Examples of settlements that Israel would retain include Ariel, Beit Aryeh, Gush Etzion, Ma’aleh Adumim and those around East Jerusalem. Palestinians would receive land adjacent to Gaza, and the southern, western and northern West Bank. The West Bank and Gaza would be connected by a tunnel controlled by the Palestinians but underIsraeli sovereignty. Abbas says that he presented maps that included a land swap of 1.9 percent of the West Bank.
� Jerusalem: Olmert and Abbas said that both agreed the neighborhoods of the city would be split, with the Palestinians controlling the Arab neighborhoods, which would serve as the capital of the Palestinian state and Israel retaining control of the Jewish neighborhoods. Olmert said that his plan included having the holy basin—home to Christian, Jewish and Muslim holy sites—jointly administered by Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian state, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
� Refugees: Olmert said that he told Abbas he could not accept a right of return; instead, Israel would accept 1,000 Palestinians on a humanitarian basis each year for five years. An international fund would also be created to compensate Palestinians.
� Security: Abbas said both he and Olmert, along with the United States and Egypt, agreed to have UNIFIL provide a third-party presence in the West Bank and Gaza. In August 2009, Haaretz reported that the Israelis had presented a detailed plan for security arrangements. They were seeking a demilitarized Palestinian state without an army, but the Palestinians sought the ability to defend against “outside threats.”
Olmert says that he never received a response from Abbas to his offer on September 16; Abbas says that the Palestinians did not stop the negotiations, nor did either side reject the negotiations, and there was a planned meeting in Washington for January 3, 2009 that never happened because of the escalation of fighting in Gaza.
Photo from Enduring America