By AARON KLEIN, WND—
The Obama administration has quietly presented a plan in which the Palestinian Authority and Jordan will receive sovereignty over the Temple Mount while Israel will retain the land below the Western Wall, according to a senior PA negotiator speaking to WND.
The proposed plan is part of the basis for U.S.-brokered talks that are set to resume in Washington next week after Secretary of State John Kerry announced that both Israel and PA President Mahmoud Abbas have agreed to open negotiations aimed at creating a Palestinian state.
Israel has not agreed to the U.S. plan over the Temple Mount, with details still open for discussion, stated the PA negotiator.
The negotiator, who is one of the main Palestinian figures leading the Arab side of the talks, further divulged Kerry’s proposed outline for a Palestinian state as presented orally to Israel and the PA.
He said Jordan has been invited to play a key role in the discussions surrounding both the Temple Mount and Jerusalem while it will be the PA, with some Jordanian assistance, that would ultimately receive control of some of those areas.
WND was first to report in 2007 that Jordan had been quietly purchasing real estate surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem hoping to gain more control over the area accessing the holy site, according to Palestinian and Israeli officials.
Meanwhile, regarding the rest of Jerusalem, Kerry’s plan is to rehash what is known as the Clinton parameters. That formula, pushed by President Bill Clinton during the Camp David talks in 2000, called for Jewish areas of Jerusalem to remain Israeli while the Palestinians would get sovereignty over neighborhoods that are largely Arab. Most Arab sections are located in eastern Jerusalem.
WND previously reported the Palestinians are building illegally in Jewish-owned areas of Jerusalem, resulting in Arab majorities in some neighborhoods.
For the strategic Jordan Valley, Obama’s proposal calls for international forces to maintain security control along with unarmed Palestinian police forces, the PA negotiator said. Israel will retain security posts in some strategic areas of the Jordan Valley, according to the leaked plan.
When it comes to the West Bank, which borders Jerusalem and is within rocket range of Israel’s main population centers, Israel is expected to evacuate about 90 percent of its Jewish communities currently located in the territory, as outlined in Kerry’s plan.
Israel would retain strategic security posts along with the West Bank’s main blocs, Maale Adumin, Ariel and Gush Etzion. In return, Obama is calling for an exchange of territory with the Palestinians in other locations inside Israel, with discussion being open for the Palestinians to possibly receive land in the Israeli Negev in the country’s south.
The PA negotiator further said Israel rejected a Palestinian request that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agree not to place the final peace plan up for referendum in the Knesset.
Indeed, Netanyahu announced today any plan must receive final approval in a national poll.
“I am committed to two objectives that must guide the result … if there will be a result. And if there will be a result, it will be put to a national referendum,” he said at the start of the cabinet meeting.
“Negotiations with the Palestinians will not be easy, but we are entering them with integrity, honesty and hope,” Netanyahu added.
The PA negotiator, meanwhile, said Netanyahu agreed that as a gesture to restart talks, Israel will enact a temporary freeze on all Jewish construction in the West Bank outside the main settlement blocs. According to Israeli sources, such a freeze has largely already been in place for several months now anyway.
The negotiator warned that one of the toughest issues centers on control of water, with Kerry already reaching out to Turkey about the prospect of selling water at a cheaper rate to a future Palestinian state.