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Arab MK: 'Clinton, Not Barak, Made Camp David Offers'

MK Ibraham Sarsur says Israel offered nothing at Camp David; and that Israel has more than its share of land and should give up Jerusalem.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 8/17/2009, 10:28 PM

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Member of Knesset Ibrahim Sarsur said Monday that former Prime Minister Ehud Barak did not offer anything to former Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat when the two met at Camp David in 2000. The famed “98 percent” offer was made by then-United States President Bill Clinton, Sarsur alleged.

Clinton would make offers to the PA as if they came from Barak, with the intent of convincing Barak to agree to the offer later, Sarsur said. “Barak did not make any concrete proposal regarding Jerusalem,” he added.

Popular belief that Barak and then-Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami offered the PA almost the entire territory of Judea and Samaria, as well as much of eastern Jerusalem and even the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, is mistaken, Sarsur claims. “Those are just fairy tales,” he said.

Sarsur insisted that protocols of the Camp David meeting supported his version of events. The MK, who is known to have close ties to the PA and Fatah, said Barak's alleged refusal to make offers was one of the subjects discussed at the recent Fatah conference in Bethlehem.

'Israel Has More Than Enough'
Sarsur also expressed anger over Israel's insistence that Jerusalem remain the capital of the Jewish state, and not be given to the PA to serve as the capital of a future Arab state. “Isn't it enough that the Palestinians relinquished 75 percent of holy Palestine? Now they need to give up more?” he asked.

According to Sarsur, Israel had received more than its fair share of land even prior to the Six Day War, in which 1948 Israel was reunited with Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights and Jerusalem. “According to the Partition Plan, Israel was supposed to get 51 percent of the territory,” he said.

Sarsur was referring to a UN proposal that would have split British Mandate Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. The two were to have roughly equal shares of territory, although much of the land designated for Jews was in the Negev Desert, while the Arab state was to receive more fertile land in the north of the country.

Instead, the Jewish state ended up with over 70 percent of British Mandated Palestine after being attacked by several Arab armies – and local Arab militias – shortly after declaring a state on the Partition Plan land.

'East Jerusalem' Includes Jewish Neighborhoods
Sarsur made it clear that when the PA speaks of “occupied east Jerusalem,” it is referring to Jewish neighborhoods and not only those areas that are currently majority Arab. Neighborhoods such as Neve Yaakov, Ramot, Ramat Eshkol and Pisgat Zeev rightfully belong to PA Arabs, he said, as do all neighborhoods that fell under Jordanian control from 1948 to 1967.

"When they say 'east Jerusalem,' that means everything that was conquered during the Six Day War,” Sarsur explained. He expressed support for the PA position, saying, “All of that land is occupied, and must be returned.”