Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has publicly admitted for the first time that he turned down a chance for a two-state peace deal with Israel in 2008 that would have given him nearly all the land the Palestinians wanted.
The offer by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert included a near-total Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and a land link to the Gaza Strip. The Old City of East Jerusalem, home to Jewish and Arab holy sites, would have been under international control.
Abbas said in an interview with Israel's Channel 10 television that he rejected the deal because he was not given the chance to study the map that spelled out Olmert's offer.
"He said to me, 'Here's a map. See it? That's all.' I respected his decision not to give me the map," Abbas said. "But how can we sign something that hasn't been given us, that hasn't been discussed?"
Olmert also spoke to Israeli TV, saying he told Abbas that it would be another 50 years before the Palestinians got another offer like the one he was giving them.
Abbas said in the interview, which aired late Tuesday, that negotiations continued but soon fell apart as Olmert, facing corruption charges, resigned.