I recently received Ziyad Clot’s new book, Il n’y aura pas d’État palestinien: Journal d’un négociateur en palestine [There Won't Be a Palestinian State: Diary of a Negotiator in Palestine], published a few weeks ago in France by Éditions MaxMilo. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what happened in negotiations on the refugee issue during the Annapolis round of the peace process in 2007-08. Ziyad served as the primary refugee expert of the PLO Negotiation Support Unit/NAD during this period, and the account that he offers is one that is highly critical of Israel, the PA/PLO, and the United States.
Time doesn’t allow me to write a full review, but a few points of interest for those who follow the refugee issue closely:
- Israel was unwilling to address its responsibility for the refugee issue, or to accept any refugee right of return. While it accepted the principle of compensating Palestinians, it did not accept the notion of claims for non-material losses.
- Israeli and the US seem to have favoured an international implementation mechanism dominated by Washington.
- Some substantial gaps exist between the various statements that former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has made on Israel’s positions in the refugee negotiations, and the more detailed talks held with Israeli negotiator Tal Becker.
- US Secretary Rice seems to have had an excessively optimistic view of how close the two sides were on the refugee issue.