Palestinian negotiators drafting an agreement behind the scenes with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office have made clear they will not accept any final peace deal with Israel unless the Jewish state forfeits the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, WND has learned.
According to a report in Israel's Yediot Aharonot daily yesterday, Olmert is willing to discuss joint Israeli-Palestinian control over the Temple Mount complex. The report didn't state the positions of the Palestinian side on the issue.
A chief Palestinian negotiator, speaking to WND on condition his name be withheld, said yesterday, "there can be no agreement with Israel unless we get complete sovereignty of the Mount. Once Palestinian control over the [Temple Mount] is fixed, then we will make assurances for Jewish visits to the site."
The chief negotiator said aides from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization have been hammering out the parameters of a final status agreement for presentation in November at a U.S.-backed international summit regarding the Middle East.
Issues already discussed between Israel and the Palestinians reportedly include the division of parts of Jerusalem and debates regarding permanent borders between Israel and the PA. The November international conference and talk from the Bush administration the past few weeks has led many here to speculate the U.S. will push in the near future for intense Israeli-Palestinian negotiations leading to a Palestinian state.
With a year and a half left in office, President George Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have been urging meetings between Abbas and Olmert to establish a framework for momentum leading to a breakthrough at
November's conference. Olmert and Abbas have been meeting bi-monthly in summits brokered by the U.S.
Asked by WND whether Olmert is willing to forfeit the Temple Mount in an agreement with the Palestinians, David Baker, a spokesman for the prime
minister, had no comment.
I do not understand this. Do they really think Abbas is going to honor any deal they come up with. I have said this before, Fatah is just as bad as Hamas. Maybe worse, because they will pretend to be willing to make a deal, even though they will NOT honor it.