For the first time, the Palestinians had a say in determining
the Israeli pullback and reports say that the proposal
reflects this: villages in the Yerushalayim area will be
turned over the Palestinian Authority. Despite the fact that
every written and signed agreement up until now says
explicitly that Israel will unilaterally decide which land to
turn over the PA control, Barak agreed to negotiate the
upcoming 6.1% withdrawal with them.
The map of the West Bank withdrawal, which caused a rift with
the Palestinians, is to be brought to the security cabinet
for approval this week probably Wednesday -- a government
official said yesterday.
According to the reports, the village of Anata, which is only
about 30 meters from Jerusalem's Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood,
is to be transferred to full Palestinian control and to
become Area A. Also the villages Abadiye and Beitunia are to
become Area A. The latter is near Givat Zeev and is astride
the road that leads to the Jewish settlements Dolev and
Talmonim. Areas near Beit Lechem are also to become Area A,
including the village of Zureif.
None of the villages are part of the official Jerusalem
municipality, but their proximity to the municipal boundaries
makes them extremely sensitive. It was not known how the more
right wing members of the coalition would react to this
The Prime Minister's Office would neither confirm nor deny
that these areas are part of the new withdrawal map.
A PA source said the two sides were discussing dividing the
redeployment into at least two stages. He said Israel would
start to withdraw a few days after the Muslim holiday, which
ends next Sunday.
Government officials also said that Palestinian prisoners are
to be released soon as a sign of goodwill. The officials said
that although the exact number of prisoners and the date of
their release is still under debate, a decision in principle
has been made. The Palestinians are asking for the release of
150-200 inmates, a PA source said, while Israel is willing to
release about 80.
Kalandiya, near Jerusalem's Atarot Airport, will remain under
Israeli control, a well-informed Palestinian source added.
Abu Dis will be the last village handed over to the PA,
probably as part of the third redeployment, he said.
Although the PA did not deny the report, a senior PA official
said its details are secret and known only to a small circle
around Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority
Chairman Yasser Arafat .
It is said that Israel wants the PA to establish its
political capital in Abu Dis and to work out municipal
autonomy for the Palestinians in the rest of east Jerusalem,
while making special Vatican City-like arrangements in the
In a meeting Monday in Jerusalem between Palestinian
negotiator Saeb Erekat and his counterpart Oded Eran, these
and other interim issues -- such as the opening of the
northern safe passage route and the return of Palestinian tax
monies -- were all discussed.
Erekat said he felt the talks "had a serious air about them"
and that he was confident results would be seen within a
matter of days.
An official in the Prime Minister's Office said the prisoner
and redeployment issues would be brought before the security
cabinet for approval and to the cabinet next Sunday.
The negotiators and their teams are to begin 10 days of
intensive negotiations in Washington next week on both the
remaining interim issues and the framework for the permanent
Following Mondays's meeting, Eran said that after these
negotiations, a recess would be called so that each side
could return home to brief its respective leaders.
Another official added that the sides would then reconvene
for yet another 10-day round of talks.