Israel’s daily newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, has revealed details of the meeting held between outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and U.S. special envoy George Mitchell. In the meeting Mr. Olmert detailed commitments that he had given Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, which the next Israeli government will have to cope with. Mr. Olmert will leave office in a few weeks, pending allegations of massive embezzlement from American philanthropists.

Over lunch at the Prime Minister’s Residence, Mr. Olmert presented President Barack Obama’s envoy with the commitments that he and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had made. The first commitment involves Mr. Olmert’s plan removing 60,000 Jews from areas designated for an independent Palestinian state.

Prof. Eliav Schochetman, Hebrew University professor of law and dean of the Shaari Mishpat Law College in Netanya, Israel, said a policy that singles out one ethnic group for expulsion would violate clause 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 1948 U.N. document says it is illegal for sovereign governments to expel their citizens from their homes, private properties and farms.

As for Jerusalem, Mr. Olmert reportedly told Mr. Mitchell that he has committed to transferring sovereignty of Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods to Palestinian sovereignty once and independent Palestinian state were to become a reality. This is despite the fact Arab and Jewish neighborhoods are intertwined with one another.

Many Israelis have concerns such a situation would threaten the safety of Jerusalem’s Jewish communities throughout the city.

Mr. Olmert also told Mr. Mitchell that he had committed the Israeli government to ceding control of the holy places to an international administration that would supervise access and ensure that believers of the three faiths be able to hold their religious practices without disturbance.

Such an arrangement for internationalization of the holy places would be identical to the administrative arrangement organized by the United Nations in 1949, which assured access of all religions to the holy places in Jerusalem. However, in practice, access was completely denied to Jews who wished to visit any Jewish holy place in the Old City of Jerusalem, from 1949 until 1967.

These Olmert commitments would bind Ms. Livni because she was a full partner to the negotiations with Mr. Abbas.

Prime Minister Olmert also allegedly told Mr. Mitchell about the results of the indirect talks held over the past year with top Syrian officials through the intervention of Turkish mediators.

In Mr. Olmert’s estimate, in return for a peace agreement with Damascus, Israel would have to withdraw from the Golan Heights, and nothing less would be acceptable to the Syrians. Mr. Olmert’s spokespeople will not answer the question as to whether Syria would ever cancel its territorial designs on the Upper Galilee region of Israel.

Israel took control of the Golan in 1967 at the demand of the Galilee regional council, which demanded an end to Syrian shelling of the Galilee. The question of prevent future such shelling without keeping the Golan in Israeli hands remains one Israeli officials decline to discuss.


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.