Palestinians Agreed To Give Up Most Of East Jerusalem


Palestinian negotiators agreed to give up large areas of East Jerusalem to Israel during negotiations dating back to 2008, the Al-Jazeera network said Sunday, suggesting Palestinian leaders have been willing to offer much larger concessions in private than they had previously acknowledged in public.

The Sunday report was based on a trove of nearly 1,700 internal documents the network said it had obtained. Al-Jazeera did not disclose the source of the material, nor did it say how the documents came into its possession. It said it will be releasing what it has between Sunday and Wednesday of this week.

The papers, some of which were posted on the network's website, shed new light on the details of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from 1999 through last year. They could not be immediately verified by CNN.

The documents outline meetings between Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. officials in which Palestinian negotiators offered in 2008 to relinquish claims on nearly all of the settlements built in East Jerusalem.

The offer was flatly rejected by the Israeli side, according to the posted documents.

Israel seized the eastern half of the city following war with its Arab neighbors in 1967 and considers Jerusalem its sovereign capital. This is a claim rejected by the international community which considers Israeli building in East Jerusalem to be illegal. Palestinians want the eastern part of the city as the capital for their future state.

The leaked documents could prove to be politically damaging for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Officials from the Ramallah-based government have consistently condemned growing Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and disclosures that Palestinians officials were willing to make offers that would allow Israeli construction to continue are likely to be seized on by their critics.