From the entire mountain of the Taba talks, nothing emerged.
The declaration is devoid of all content though its main and
only message is not missing: it is an attempt at election
propaganda. However, in that, Barak failed too. To all it is
clear that this is a vain declaration and nothing more than
show. It is difficult to understand how a serious person
like Ben Ami was drawn into such an empty show.
The feeling among the staff of journalists which accompanied
the talks in Taba was that this was a declaration without
any actual content. In all of the questions, broad gaps
Take for example the issue of Jerusalem. Israel proposed
that there be a special jurisdiction in all of the sacred
sites. However the Palestinians rejected this proposal, and
demanded autonomy in the entire Old City.
On the question of the refugees, all of the Israeli
proposals were rejected, among them Beilin's proposal to
give the refugees a questionnaire in which they will state
whether they wish to return to Israel or to receive
compensation. Israel, according to the proposal, won't be
obligated to accept the requests of the refugees. However,
the refugees will nonetheless feel that they have demanded
what they wanted. The Palestinians rejected the laughable
proposal, and continued to demand the return of the refuges
Also no agreement was made on the issue of the borders. The
Israeli contingent took care to report all along that the
Palestinians had advanced toward Israel on the issue, but it
became clear that the Palestinians rejected the Israeli
proposals and demanded to limit the settlement blocs in the
territories, and concomitantly, to receive alternative, high-
quality territories, for every piece of land which will be
given to Israel in the territories. Israel refused.
The Palestinians also demanded that Maaleh Adumim and Givat
Zeev be dismantled, and to stop the building on Har Choma.
On the issue of the Jordan Valley, the Palestinians rejected
the demand of Israel to rent out territories and rejected
the request of Israel to leave a military force on the site,
and an emergency warehouse.
The only thing which Abu Ala feebly hinted was that the
calmness displayed at Taba should be reflected on the scene
too. However, Abu Ala didn't promise that such would be the
case. He didn't say that the Palestinian Authority would
make efforts to quiet things down, but only that "he hopes
that such will be the case." With hopes, it seems, one
doesn't make peace. Ask Barak.