Olmert Reveals Deal With Abbas for Dividing Yerushalayim

YERUSHALAYIM -

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has revealed that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas agreed that a Jewish Israeli could serve as mayor of an umbrella municipality for Yerushalayim that would govern the capitals of Israel and a Palestinian state, The Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday.

“[Mahmoud Abbas] agreed that while Yerushalayim would be separated into two capitals, there would be an umbrella mayor and, given the Jewish majority in the city, he is likely to be Israeli,” Olmert said, referring to negotiations held during his administration in 2008.

In their negotiations, Olmert proposed that the entire Old City would be internationalized under the control of five countries: Israel, the new Palestinian state, the United States, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

Asked during an interview with the Post whether Abbas accepted the offer, Olmert said, “ I think he liked the idea that three out of the five countries who would be part of the international trusteeship were Muslim.”

Olmert said he did not insist on a security presence in the Jordan Valley. There would have been security measures that could be taken by Israel, the Palestinians, Jordan, and international forces, which might have been stationed on the Jordanian side of the border with the new Palestinian state.

On the issue of Palestinian refugees, Olmert said he offered to accept 1,000 a year for five years on a humanitarian basis, not as a Palestinian “right of return.” He said that Abbas wanted more, but he never said how much more.

“Abbas told me he does not want to change the demographics of Israel,” Olmert said. “I think he was very forthcoming. He was happy with the territorial solution I proposed. When he says that had I stayed in office longer there might have been an agreement, he might be right. But he should have accepted my offer and changed the history of the world. Not coming with a positive answer was a terrible mistake.”