Archive for August 13th, 2008

Israeli PM ‘Offers Palestinians 93% of West Bank’, Pali’s Reject Deal

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

As usual, the Israelis are forced to make all the concessions while the Pali terrorist do nothing.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has offered a peace plan giving the Palestinians 93 percent of the occupied West Bank, an Israeli newspaper said on Tuesday.

But the Palestinians denied the report.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said the proposed border is at the heart of a broader plan that would compensate the Palestinians with the equivalent of 5.5 percent of the West Bank adjacent to the Gaza Strip and a route connecting Gaza to the West Bank itself.

However, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas would only receive the land and the overland connection once his forces retake the Gaza Strip from the Islamist Hamas movement, which seized power in the coastal territory in June 2007, the newspaper said.

But Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said the report was “baseless.”

“These are half-truths used by Israelis as a test balloon so they can blame the Palestinian authority should the negotiations fail,” Erakat told AFP.

Haaretz said the proposal has been offered in the context of US-backed peace talks relaunched in November with the goal of resolving the decades-old conflict by the end of the year.

The proposed agreement however would be a “shelf agreement” to be implemented in the coming months and years, and would not immediately include the thorny issue of the future status of Jerusalem, Haaretz said.

The Palestinians have demanded mostly Arab east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied and annexed in the 1967 Six Day War, as their capital, while Israel considers the entire Holy City its “eternal, undivided” capital — a claim not recognised by the international community.

The agreement would however include a complex solution to the Palestinian refugee problem, allowing some refugees from the 1948 war to return to Israel while settling most of the 4.5 million refugees and their descendants in the Palestinian state.

The seven percent of the West Bank annexed by Israel would include the major settlement blocs around Jerusalem — home to most of the 250,000 Israeli settlers in the territory — and some settlements in the northern West Bank.

The final Palestinian state would be demilitarised.

Erakat dismissed the idea of a partial agreement. “We are not a bazaar,” he said. “We want a complete Israeli withdrawal from the territories it occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, and agreement on all the final status questions,” he added.

Olmert’s spokesman Mark Regev declined to comment on the report but told AFP the “negotiations with the Palestinians are making progress on a number of subjects, particularly borders.

“These negotiations are serious and are aimed at a common objective,” he added.

Original Link.

PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD Abbas has rejected an Israeli peace proposal because it does not provide for a contiguous Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, Abbas’ office said on Tuesday.

Nabil Abu Rudeina, Abbas’ spokesman, told the official WAFA news agency Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s plan showed a “lack of seriousness”.

Olmert’s proposal does not offer a solution to competing claims to the holy city of Jerusalem, and would only be implemented once Abbas reined in militants and reestablished control of the Gaza Strip, which Hamas seized a year ago.

Under the proposal, Israel would return to the Palestinians some 92.7 per cent of the occupied West Bank, plus all of the Gaza Strip, according to Western and Palestinian officials briefed on the negotiations.

In exchange for West Bank land that Israel would keep, Olmert proposed a 5.3 per cent land swap giving the Palestinians a desert territory adjacent to the Gaza Strip.

Olmert’s proposal first emerged several months ago and was published in detailson Tuesday by Israel’s left-leaning Haaretz newspaper, prompting Abu Rudeina’s response.

“The Israeli proposal is not acceptable,” Abbas’ spokesman said.

“The Palestinian side will only accept a Palestinian state with territorial continuity, with holy Jerusalem as its capital, without settlements, and on the June 4, 1967 boundaries.” Abu Rdainah was referring to the borders that existed prior to the 1967 Middle East war in which Israel seized Arab east Jerusalem, Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

He called the Israeli proposal a “waste of time”.

Launched in November with the goal of reaching a statehood deal in 2008, the US-sponsored talks have shown little outward sign of progress and have been marred from the start by violence and disputes over Israeli settlement building.

The chances of a peace deal faded further with Olmert’s announcement last month that he would step down as prime minister once his centrist Kadima Party chooses a new leader in September.

Original Link.

L.A. Home-Improvement Stores Required to Shelter Illegal Aliens

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Immigration reform activist Susan Tully says it’s completely outrageous that the Los Angeles City Council is considering an ordinance that would require large, new home-improvement stores to set aside space for day laborers seeking employment from customers.

According to the LA Daily News, the proposed ordinance has already been approved by the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, but must still be approved by the entire council. It would mandate that new home-improvement stores that meet the size criteria provide a shelter that is easily accessible to the day laborers and equipped with drinking water, bathrooms, tables with seating, and trash facilities. The newspaper reports the Los Angeles Police Department would also require those stores to develop a security plan with them.

Bethany Leal of the Multi-Ethnic Immigrant Worker Organizing Network supports the ordinance, calling it a good example of “immigration integration.” But Susan Tully, the national field director with the Federation for American Immigration Reform, thinks the ordinance violates federal law.

“Not only is it outrageous, but I would challenge the fact that they’re causing citizens to become entrapped in committing federal crimes. We now have a city that legislates to Home Depot or whatever home building company wants to build, that they actually harbor and shelter illegal aliens, aiding and abet them to stay here and to help find them employment,” she contends. “We can just see how outrageous the open-borders side has gotten.”

Original Link.