Palestinian sources confirmed that both sides were discussing the option that Israel would lease land in east Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley from the Palestinian state for 40-99 years.Dr. Aaron Lerner has translations from the Arabic of the original articles, and notes:
According to one of the sources, the initiative, which he said was "American, not Israeli," has been on the table for a while now "in order to reach common ground with the Israeli side regarding the borders issue and to reach an agreement on what will remain under Israeli sovereignty."
The Prime Minister's Office refused to comment on the report, but Ophir Gendelman, head of the Foreign Ministry's Arabic media department was quoted by the newspaper as saying, "We are conducting intense negotiations with the US administration in an effort to resume direct talks with the Palestinians."
The most interesting element of the article, if true, is that the settlement blocs are not part of the arrangement. Instead we are talking about French Hill, Ramat Eshkol and other Jerusalem neighborhoods being leased to Israel for a limited period.Truth be told, I don't see how this is supposed to be helpful on the issue of borders. All it does is give land away to Abbas. More importantly, Eli Hertz notes that the US suggestion that Israel lease the land goes contrary to international law:
The U.S. offer to lease parts of the Land of Israel is contrary to international law that firmly calls to "encourage ... close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes."Though this is more than a rumor, it is not being discussed openly--so it is difficult to say how serious an idea it is. However, it does appear to be an idea that has not been completely thought out--or maybe international law only matters when it can be used as a club against Israel.
The "Mandate for Palestine" a historical League of Nations document, laid down the Jewish legal right under international law to settle anywhere in western Palestine, the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, an entitlement unaltered in international law.
Under Article 5 of the "Mandate for Palestine" - Eretz-Israel, "no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power."
Palestine is the geographical area assigned in favor of the Jews by the League of Nations, and reserved for the Jewish people for their self-determination and political development, in acknowledgment of the historic connection of the Jewish people to the land.[see also “Mandate for Palestine” The Legal Aspects of Jewish Rights, Introduction]
Crossposted on Soccer Dad
Technorati Tag: Mideast Peace Talks.