The Origins of Intifada II and
Rescuing Peace for Israelis and Palestinians
By Menachem Klein
Professor Menachem Klein delivered the following lecture in Washington on October 2, 2002 at the invitation of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and the Middle East Institute. Dr. Klein is Senior Scholar at the Jerusalem Institute for Israeli Studies, Professor at Bar Ilan University. He served as Advisor to the Israeli delegation to the Camp David Summit, July 2000. His book on the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations from 1994 to January 2001 will be published shortly.
I'm deeply thankful for the Foundation and the Institute for giving me this opportunity. Today I will discuss the origins of Intifada II and the evolution of the current crisis. I will also discuss the issue of reform in the Palestinian Authority. There are misinterpretations that are very popular in Israeli and perhaps also in America about the background of Intifada II, what has happened in the Palestinian territories and about the issue of reform.
To begin, let me mention several contradictions in the Israeli approach to the conflict with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people that create a situation that might be called "Catch-2002."
First, Israel argues that we must have reforms in the Palestinian administration. Once there are reforms, then we will leave the Palestinian territories. We are ready to leave and give them the keys, but not until there is some reliable authority to give the keys to.
The catch is that reforms cannot be accomplished while Israel's occupation continues. Israel's presence blocks the road to reform and the creation of a reliable central authority. Even the concept of selective withdrawals from of Gaza and Bethlehem has collapsed because of the Israeli presence elsewhere.
Second, the Israeli authorities have declared repeatedly that Arafat is irrelevant. But they contradict themselves by saying that Arafat is responsible for ordering and coordinating every terrorist attack. While demanding reforms, they say that Israel will no longer respect and recognize Arafat's authority, and that reforms while Arafat continues in power are unacceptable. But since Arafat has been elected as the Palestinian leader in charge of the Palestinian Authority and is likely to continue that role, there can be no reform without him.
Third, Israel argues that the IDF has reoccupied the Palestinian territories to prevent terror, that only Israeli forces and security can prevent terror, and that Arafat does not want to prevent terror and encourages terrorism. Yet terrorism continues and Israel continues to demand that Arafat stop it, although Israel has said that Arafat is no longer in charge and that the IDF has taken over responsibility for security. This is illogical.
Fourth, while Israel claims that it has reoccupied the Palestinian territories to stop terror, Israel's reoccupation has increased it by motivating the Palestinians to expel the Israelis. It is true that the Israeli security services have stopped many terrorist operations, but overall, Israel's reoccupation of the territories has encouraged greater Palestinian terrorism. In the meantime, the reoccupation has placed millions of people under curfews and closure and prevented them from working. Israel's military occupation has largely replaced the Palestinian authority and prevented the conduct of ordinary life for Palestinians. Yet Israel has accepted no responsibility for meeting the needs of the people by creating an Israeli civil administration to perform the functions formerly carried out by the Palestinian Authority. This is another anomaly.
Fifth, Israel refuses to make any political concessions to Palestinians, claiming that this would encourage even greater violence and terrorism for the purpose of extorting further concessions. Israel also expands settlements, allegedly, in response to terrorism. But expanding settlements encourages terrorism.
The result of these contradictions is that Israel's rigid policies and refusal to compromise are bringing suffering to both Palestinians and Israelis. Palestinian terrorist attacks continue against Israelis, and Israel responds with occupation and violence against the Palestinians, which in some cases can justifiably be called state terrorism.
Israel refuses to make any concessions while there is Palestinian terrorism, but Israel does not accept that there are legitimate Palestinian claims for which concessions must be made. Israel seems to expect the Palestinians to surrender and that there is no need for a negotiated agreement. But the Palestinians will not surrender, and rebellion, violence and terrorism continue. To end this vicious cycle, Israel must acknowledge that the Palestinians have legitimate claims and make substantial concessions. By refusing to do so, Israel ensures the perpetuation of the conflict.
The seventh illogical feature of Israeli policy is the conclusion that only force will achieve Israel's goals. The authorities claim that this policy has not succeeded because it has not used sufficient force. They also claim that force is defeating the intifada. Neither claim is true.
Another mistaken view held by both Israel and the U.S. Government is that an Israeli victory over the intifada is the reason why Palestinians themselves are now calling for reform and that the Palestinians are responding to U.S. and Israeli pressure. This is a huge mistake.
The calls for Palestinian reforms trace their roots to the 1980s. The Palestinian have two main goals. First, self-determination and liberation from the Israeli occupation, and second, democracy, accountability, state building and good governance. Palestinians are calling for reforms so that they can have a functioning state, not because they have been forced to do so by Israel and the U.S., but because they are fully convinced that this is good for the Palestinians.
There is debate among the Palestinian elite about reform. Some want to redeem Palestinians' international status and their ties to the Israeli left, which have been damaged by terrorism. They also want to rid themselves of the multiplicity of non-coordinated security services that have done huge damage to Palestinian society and sometimes act as gangs who are unaccountable to any central authority. Other Palestinians argue that reform is essential in order to achieve liberation and to build up a state, and that reform must come first. Others argue that that liberation and reforms go hand in hand and that it is not possible for reforms to precede the creation of a real state.
Israel argues that Palestinians want reforms because the intifada has failed and that reforms will bring forth a moderate Palestinian leadership that will be willing to accept Sharon's so-called generous offer of a cease-fire, a long interim period, and ultimately a state covering about 50 percent of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israelis to the left still hope that a new moderate Palestinian leadership will accept something along the lines of Barak's so-called generous offer at Camp David or the outline for a solution negotiated at Taba.
As far as I know, no Palestinian reformist is willing to accept the Sharon or Barak proposals. None of them are willing to accept less than full liberation of '67 territories, and East Jerusalem under Palestinian sovereignty, according to the principles President Clinton laid out in December 2000. The vast majority of moderate Palestinians also insist on full Palestinian sovereignty over the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount and Israeli acceptance of the principle of the right of return, with the understanding that there must be a compromise on implementation of this principle with respect to return to Israel, as opposed to return to the new state of Palestine. So the Israelis are deluded about the call for reforms.
Let me return to the genesis of the Palestinian reform movement, which began within the PLO in the 1980's. At that time, the leftist PLO opposition was critical of the functioning of the PLO and Fatah. They argued that in order to achieve liberation, the PLO must reform. They criticized the dictatorship of Arafat and Fatah, just as they are doing today. So this criticism is not new, contrary to the Israeli and American view.
Criticism of the PLO and pressure for reform also came from the occupied territories during the first intifada, which started in 1987. There was also criticism from within the leadership of Fatah, especially from Abu Mazen, immediately after the signing of the Oslo agreement in September 1993. At that time, Abu Mazen urged Arafat to transform the PLO from an organization that represents the Palestinian cause to an organization that would effectively govern and provide services in the Palestinian territories. Abu Mazen argued that the Palestinian Authority would have to create honest, efficient, democratic institutions and move from its revolutionary stage to state building.
The people in the occupied territories were also demanding that the PLO do this because there was no ruling system in the occupied territories, Jordan had left, and the intifada had created chaos. The goal was to build up a state, or a mini-state that would lead to full liberation.
Since the creation of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, there has been a dramatic change in the Palestinian discourse. The old classical concepts like struggle, sacrifice, and steadfastness were put aside in favor of building institutions, and giving them legitimacy through elections and democracy, rather than revolution. Instead of armed struggle, there was a new legitimization of a peace process and negotiations with Israel.
Today, however, there can be no such reforms for Palestinians without a central authority, and this no longer exists in the Palestinian territories. Israel has crushed the former Palestinian Authority and is preventing the emergence and construction of a new authority.
The destruction of the Palestinian Authority has not, however, ended the Palestinian struggle for liberation. That struggle is being pursued today by separate groups, without any central command or authority.
Some of these groups are pushing reform, not to bring about a democratic Palestinian state through negotiations with Israel, but through armed struggle. Reforms according to them are tools to create a new leadership that is not tainted by corruption or involvement in the failed Oslo process that Arafat and his group have relied upon for their legitimacy. These people, whose names are not well known, are fighters, not negotiators. They seek legitimacy through armed struggle. They are field commanders who were involved in the first intifada. Their prestige, status, and popularity, relies on their image as fighters for freedom and against corruption. For them, the purpose of reform is to reinforce the armed struggle and to win it. HAMAS also seeks reform for these reasons.
The danger for Israel is that if these Palestinians become leaders of the Palestinians, Israel will face a true armed struggle. Israel cannot win such a war.
Returning to the new Palestinian discourse in the territories since the creation of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, the core goals included self-determination and liberation through negotiations with Israel and state building and democracy. The majority of the Palestinians people supported the achievement of these goals through the institutions of the Palestinian Authority, which enjoyed international legitimacy and were sanctioned by elections in January 1996.
However, between 1998 and 2000, a new opposition emerged. It had supporters inside and outside the Fatah and included others who felt they had been excluded from the decision-making process of the establishment. Members of the Parliament whose legislative initiatives had been rebuffed by Arafat and who had otherwise been excluded from the decision-making process were part of this emerging opposition.
Members of the new opposition came from different origins and had diverse motives, both personal and political. They had in common a desire to play a larger role in the decision-making process. People from Fatah who were excluded from Arafat's cabinet and from the Fatah Central Committee became senior members in the new opposition, which became known as the Fatah--Tanzim apparatus.
The new opposition criticized the failures of the Palestinian Authority and Arafat in particular. The opposition also included Palestinians whose first loyalty was to patrons or to their place of residence, for example clans and refugee camps, rather than to the central Palestinian Authority.
These centrifugal forces were also strengthened by the weakness of the PA in providing services to the community, and the chaotic situation within the PA that resembled the disorder within the PLO while it was in exile in Beirut and Tunis.
The whole system suffered from corruption, lack of harmony and coordination among ministries and senior PA officials and between ministers and President Arafat. Arafat himself encouraged this chaos by promoting competition between his ministers or security services. There was no general staff and no effective mechanism for planning and coordination. The brutal behavior of Palestinian security services toward the average Palestinian citizen made things worse.
In addition to these internal failures, the Palestinian Authority had failed to make much progress in liberating Palestinian territories through negotiation. At the same time, Palestinians observed a steady expansion of settlements. All of these negatives developments combined to undermine hope.
The new opposition, motivated by all these negative developments, began to gain popularity by working at the community, grass roots level, including in the refugee camps, in a bottom up process. While the Palestinian leadership was busy in high politics negotiating with Israel, trying to squeeze Israel to give up something, to make concessions, and trying to build good relations with the United States and Europe, it was losing contact with the field, with the camps, and on the street.
In 1998, Fatah launched local elections for local committees. The popular leaders who were elected are the people we read about today in the Israeli newspapers as wanted people or whom the IDF has assassinated.
Arafat's central authority has tried to undermine the new opposition, but with very limited success. The method it used was to recruit popular field leaders into the different security services, or by co-opting them into the establishment in other ways. But these efforts seldom succeeded, especially in the refugee camps.
In early 2000, there were several armed clashes between members of the new opposition people and the Palestinian police in Ramallah, Beit Jala, and the Deheisha camp. These were signs of serious unrest.
The opposition took a step toward maturity in May 2000, during Prisoners Week, May 15-18 that ended on Nakba Day, commemorating the catastrophe of 1948 and before the July Camp David summit. There were armed clashes between the new opposition and Israeli forces for three days. The issue of prisoners united all Palestinian political opposition organizations, Hamas, Jihad, the Popular Front, the Democratic Front, and Fatah-Tanzim against both the Palestinian leadership, and against Israel, which continued to hold 1,894 Palestinian prisoners.
This was the first time that Fatah cooperated closely with other organizations, especially Jihad and Hamas. This continued later on during the intifada. And the new opposition succeeded in placing two issues on the Palestinian agenda: one, the failure of Israel to release the prisoners as promised in the interim agreement, an issue which is relevant to thousands of family members; and two, the perceived willingness of the leadership to make concessions on the refugee issue. Underlying protest over these two issues was the failure to achieve a final status agreement, which the Palestinian leadership had promised time and again.
The new opposition laid down a new vocabulary, a new discourse: loyalty to the values of the intifada; the need to build institutions; and the need for transparency, democracy, popular supervision of the PA activities and an end to despotism and corruption, but also intifada. So in the new opposition discourse, the intifada combined with a struggle for democracy and institution building.
The tragedy of 1999 and 2000 was that Israel did not see that this was happening. No one in the cabinet or sub cabinet, as far as I know, and I have queried them, was aware of what was going on in the field, inside Fatah or about the creation of the new opposition. There was total blindness.
At that time, Barak delayed the opening of the final status talks with the Palestinians in favor of the Syrian track, although he was warned that this would be a strategic mistake. Barak had also fixed target dates for achieving final status agreement, but he delayed, and could not meet these targets. Also, in early January 2000 and then in April and May, Barak, broke his promise and postponed the handover to the Palestinians of portions of Abu Dis and Al Azzariya, villages near Jerusalem, from Area B to Area A where the Palestinians controlled security. Barak also continued expanding settlements.
Up through June 2000, Barak rejected at least four times, as far as I know, a proposal made by both Israelis and Palestinians to use the Beilin-Abu Mazen understanding as the framework for a final status agreement. Barak opposed the Beilin-Abu Mazen document because he thought it offered too many concessions.
In negotiations from November 1999 up to June 2000, including in the secret Stockholm talks in April and May, 2000, Palestinian negotiators rejected what the Israeli later called generous offers. Barak therefore stopped the Stockholm talks and opted to go to Camp David in order to impose his plan on the Palestinians. In many respects, the Israeli proposals at the opening of the Summit were the same as presented by Shlomo Ben Ami and Gilad Sher in Stockholm in April to Abu Ala.
When the intifada opened, Barak told Madeleine Albright and Jaques Chirac that Arafat could stop the intifada with just two telephone calls. Barak also allowed Sharon visit the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount. Sharon's visit did not create the intifada, but it was a catalyst for the outbreak of the intifada the day after. When the intifada broke out, the Israeli administration, and not just Barak, launched a process of demonization of Yasir Arafat and, according to Gilad Sher and Shlomo Ben Ami, of the Palestinian National Movement as a whole. At some time between mid-May to late September, Barak approved the operational and tactical plans of the IDF to halt the intifada. These included the massive use of snipers by IDF, which brought about heavy Palestinian dead and wounded in the first days of the intifada. In my opinion, these casualties had the effect of turning a single violent clash on the in Haram al-Sharif after Sharon's visit into a national intifada.
The Israeli establishment does understand the background to the intifada that I have described, even today. Nor does it understand the Palestinian reform movement. It continues to believe, mistakenly, that the impulse for Palestinian reforms is a sign that Israel is defeating the intifada. This misunderstanding is likely to create an even more serious crisis in the future.
Perhaps the occupation and use of force will succeed for a while, but then later Israel will face the worst: armed struggle by the new popular opposition leadership of Fatah, that is gaining legitimacy through fighting and which is not interested in negotiating. This group lacks the political experience, for example, of Saeb Erekat has or Nabil Shaath. If this group takes over, the problem of reaching peace becomes even more difficult.
I have argued that the origins of the intifada were rooted in the years 1997 and 1998, in the elections in Fatah, and that this evolution reached maturity during the second half of 2000. The tragedy was that the events on the ground during this period diverged from the final status talks.
Let me give you some dates to clarify this. Barak was elected in mid-1999. He decided he would try to achieve something more advantageous for Israel than Bibi Netanyahu achieved in the Wye memorandum. But after four months of negotiations, the result was more or less the same. Then Barak decided to turn his attention to negotiations with Syria, to suspend talks with the Palestinians, to reject the Beilin-Abu Mazen concepts, and to expand settlements. Then in April, he sent Shlomo Ben Ami and Gilad Sher to Stockholm for secret talks. Then came Camp David in July, the outbreak of the intifada, the Clinton parameters in December, and the Taba talks in January.
But the Taba talks were too late, and they did not, in fact, achieve full agreement on many important issues. The Taba talks can serve as a starting point for renewed negotiations, but not as the ending point.
The Israeli view before Taba was, the Palestinians had rejected President Clinton's parameters and that the Palestinians were not serious and did not mean business, whereas Israel accepted the Clinton parameters. The Israelis believed therefore they too could make reservations to the Clinton parameters while the burden of further concessions lay with the Palestinians.
Eight months later the document of EU envoy Miguel Moratinos was published. It summed up the issues agreed in Taba and the issues that remained open. The Moratinos text, which had been approved by the Israeli delegation members, revealed that the Israelis had acknowledged that the Palestinians had accepted President Clinton parameters. Later in 2001, I argued with some of the Israeli delegation members about this. Although they were no longer in power, they still insisted that the Palestinians had rejected the Clinton parameters.
This difference of perception blocked the possibility of achieving an agreement in Taba, not the approaching Israeli elections that were to bring Sharon to power.
To conclude, to encourage reform for Palestinians, Israel should acknowledge that the Palestinian demand for reform is not a result of Israeli coercion, but is well-rooted inside the Palestinian society and political establishment. Israel must also allow moderate Palestinians to build a strong central authority that will carry out reforms. Israel must support those Palestinian elements that want to establish a Palestinian state by negotiation, and not by armed struggle, terror and the intifada.
Questions and Answers
Question: The Government of Israel claims that Yasir Arafat made a strategic decision to launch the intifada and make war to force Israel to negotiate concessions. Another version of this argument is that it was not an actual choice that he made at a certain point, but that when he recognized the dynamic of the intifada he joined in and added fuel to the fire. Have you found anything to corroborate that impression?
Answer: The claim that Arafat after dismissing a generous Israeli offer launched a violent intifada is a myth. There is no evidence whatsoever that there was any such pre-planned decision by the Palestinian Authority.
There were preparations by several groups of the new opposition to confront Israel. They came to Arafat asking him to give a green light to confront Israel with violence and a popular uprising to force Barak to make concessions and to take the Palestinians seriously.
But Arafat rejected this request. Arafat did not say yes, but his responses were ambiguous in response to pressures coming from different sides. Sometimes he gave very radical speeches, for example, a famous speech to the new elected Fatah committee in Jerusalem that he gave to retain their support. Arafat tried to maneuver but he lacked machinery and institutions to control the situation. His system, like the old PLO system, was weak. So he tried to ride the tiger. Sometimes he succeeded, other times he failed.
The Israelis from the very beginning did not help him. When efforts to resolve the conflicts in Northern Ireland and South Africa were launched, the adversaries in those conflicts acknowledged that they had to help their counterparts in order to confront and marginalize the radicals. That did not happen in 1999 and 2000. On the contrary, rather than seeking to support Arafat and the Palestinian establishment, the Israelis blamed and demonized them. This strengthened the radical forces and led to escalation of the intifada.
The Israeli leadership and its negotiating team also failed to evaluated the real goals of the intifada. From my perspective, they defined the intifada as a low-intensity conflict, rather than a struggle for liberation and independence. These are two different battles, two different confrontations. I failed to convince the Israeli team that the Palestinians were pursuing a war for liberation and they were willing to sacrifice a lot, as the Israelis did in 1948, when one percent of the Jewish population was lost in the war.
So the Israelis early in the intifada also refused to make a U-turn, and demanded first a cease-fire and then a return to negotiations that would have restored the situation to what it was before Camp David. What was needed, instead, was a leadership that was willing to make the real concessions, like those tentatively made at Taba, especially concerning territory and settlement. A decision to evacuate several settlements, for example, might have stopped the intifada and helped the Palestinian leadership restore calm. It was not done. Instead we spent months debating cease fires and other timid and fruitless initiatives in Paris with Madeleine Albright and with Mubarak at Sharm al-Sheikh with Mubarak.
There were a few voices proposing, as they had prior to Camp David that Barak offer some indication to the Palestinians that he meant business about a full withdrawal as an incentive to end the violence and resume negotiations, but he rejected that.
Question: U.S. policy, which has been picked up by the Quartet, calls for Palestinian reform, ending terror, an Israeli withdrawal from the main cities to permit free elections, and then an Israeli withdrawal to the borders of a provisional Palestinian state. Then the final status issues can be negotiated. I find this scenario unconvincing, and do not see why the Palestinians would accept borders far short of what they would hope to get in the final status negotiations. Nor do I see why Israel, especially under a Sharon government, would pull back even that far when none of the final status issues such as refugees and Jerusalem have been resolved. Can anything be achieved without going directly to final status negotiations?
Answer: There is no way to reform the Palestinian central authority until Israel withdraws. Also, it is unrealistic to demand a cessation of terrorist attacks before Israel withdraws. This will never happen. Until there is a final status agreement, we will continue to experience terror, by both sides. The lessons of South Africa and Northern Ireland show that until agreement is signed and even for a while even after agreement is signed, there is terror, since there are groups that reject any compromise and will continue to try to block peace. If you condition a political breakthrough on ending terrorism, you encourage terrorism, you do not end it.
When Abu Ala came up with Peres with the idea of having a provisional mini-state that would then negotiate with Israel for a state in all the pre-1967 territories, many of his colleagues rejected this. I do not believe this is a realistic scenario.
The Quartet declaration on April, prior to Secretary Powell's visit in the area, is more realistic. It combined President Bush's vision with the Beirut Summit declaration, to create the principles of final status agreement. In my view, what is needed is to jump directly to a final status agreement. The Oslo as a model of interim agreements and then gradual movement to a final status agreement was a failure. Today, no Palestinian and very few in Israel would accept another interim process. Now, both Israelis and Palestinians want to know what the endgame is. Israelis, for example, want to know if Palestinian refugees will demand a return to Israel or not? Both sides need to know who will be the sovereign over the Temple Mount and the Old City. Neither side wants to continue playing games by renewing negotiations that leave the future unresolved. Sharon and the settlers, of course, want to leave the future open in order to gain more control over territory, hoping that they can ultimately defeat the Palestinians.
In my view, there is no other way but to agree on the principles of final status agreement first, and then negotiate the details and the implementation. We must avoid another open ended Oslo model.
Question: Please discuss the maps that were discussed during the negotiations, including proposals for Jerusalem.
Answer: Both Netanyahu and Sharon support a final status agreement that would give the Palestinians a state in only about 40 to 50 percent of the West Bank as a Palestinian state. In private talks in 1999, Barak proposed a similar deal for the Palestinians, and that was his starting point in the subsequent negotiations. So Barak and Netanyahu shared the same concept.
Israel presented a map to Yasir Abd Rabbo and then presented this orally in Stockholm and at Camp David. It was leaked to Yediot Aharanot. It shows Israel controlling a Greater Jerusalem that goes to the Dead Sea and connects with the Jordan Valley where Israel would have sovereignty over a strip of land west of the River, and thereby keep control over the external borders of the Palestinian state. This map also shows another strip of land in the Jordan Valley that would fall under Palestinian sovereignty but would be leased by Israel for long period. According to this map, Israel would annex blocs of settlements deep into the West Bank as far as Shilo. Jerusalem would also be connected by annexation of land adjoining the Etzion bloc in the southern West Bank. And Ariel and the bloc of settlements in the North would also be annexed.
The Palestinians accepted the basic concept of Israel's annexing three blocs of settlements in the secret talks in Stockholm, April 2000. These were the Maale Adumim-Givat Zeev, Etzion, and Ariel blocs. However, even in Taba, 2001, there was no Israeli definition or prime ministerial decision or agreement with the Palestinians about the dimensions of these blocs. No Israeli official defined what a settlement or a settlement bloc is.
The Taba talks were the first time that both sides exchanged maps officially. The Israeli map presented at Taba called for annexation of 8% of the West Bank by Israel. The Palestinian map offered Israel only 4% of the area. The Israelis orally told the Palestinians that they are ready to give up additional areas and annex only 6 percent, if the Palestinians were ready to move from 4 percent to 6 percent.
Another myth that is widespread in Israel, is that whereas the Israel made a generous offer, the Palestinians did not present a counterproposal. This is nonsense. Throughout the process there were Palestinian counterproposals. The problem was that there were several Palestinian counterproposals, not just one.
In the Taba talks the Palestinians disagreed with the area designated on the Israeli map around the Arial bloc of settlements that would be annexed to Israel and offered a more restricted area on their map. They accepted, as they had in Stockholm, the principle of annexation of the Ariel settlement under Israeli sovereignty. They also accepted Israeli annexation of No Man's Land around Latrun and the Etzion bloc, as well as all Israeli neighborhoods built after '67 in East Jerusalem.
With respect to annexation of the Israeli settlements around Jerusalem, Israel proposed annexation of an area around the Maale Adumim settlement that is fifteen times larger than the built-up area in this bloc, in order to limit the development of a Palestinian-controlled East Jerusalem. Israel had accepted at Camp David and again in Taba the concept of full Palestinian sovereignty over the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, except in the Old City. At Taba, Israel agreed that the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan and the other Palestinian neighborhoods adjacent to the Old City would be under full Palestinian sovereignty. But Israel at the same token wanted to limit the development of Palestinian East Jerusalem, or Al Quds, and to squeeze this araea between West Jerusalem and the Maale Adumin and Givat Zeev blocs that would remain under Israeli sovereignty.
The Palelstinian map at Taba offered more restricted areas around the Etzion bloc, Gilo, Ramot, No Man's Land, Modi'in and Kiyrat Sefer, while accepting in principle the annexation of these areas to Israel. However, the Palestinians did not include on their map their concept of the area around Maale Adumim and Givat Zeev that could be annexed to Israel. The Palestinians told the Israeli delegation that they were ready to include Maale Adumim on the map, but as an act of protest to what they viewed as an excessive demand for annexation of a huge area around Maale Adumim, they took it off their map. They asked the Israelis to come back with a more rational idea, while confirming that they supported including Maale Adumim and Givat Zeev as blocs to be annexed.
The Palestinian map at Taba did not cover the Old City of Jerusalem. There was no discussion regarding Temple Mount in Taba talks and, as at Camp David, there continued to be a deep
serious disagreement regarding the Old City.