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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.


Aljazeera TV Releases 'Palestine Papers,
Secret Documents of the Palestinian-Israeli Negotiations,
Mixed Palestinian Reactions

January 24, 2011

Editor's Note:

Aljazeera TV released documents about Palestinian-Israeli negotiations in 2008-2010. The documents can be accessed at the following url:

Hamas: Al-Jazeera's papers unveiled plans to liquidate the Palestinian cause

[ 24/01/2011 - 11:24 AM ]


 The Hamas Movement said that the confidential documents leaked by Al-Jazeera satellite channel, about the peace talks between the Fat'h-controlled Palestinian authority (PA) and the Israeli occupation government, represent a very serious poof of the PA's involvement in attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that these documents revealed the PA's attempts to undermine the Palestinian people's rights, especially the right of return and the holy city as well as its cooperation with Israel against the Palestinian resistance and its involvement in the blockade and the last war on Gaza.

"We consider these documents are further evidence of the security and political decadence which the PA stooped to," spokesman Abu Zuhri underscored.

For his part, Abdulsatter Qassem, a noted professor of political science in Nablus city, said that the documents which were disclosed by Al-Jazeera satellite channel about the process of negotiation between the PA and Israel and the consequent serious concessions made by the PA were known by many circles inside and outside Palestine.

Qassem in a statement to the PIC said that the PA negotiator was never honest with its people. "The whole issue should be returned to its root. Look for the origin of the negotiator, where he came from, how they came and on what ground he was standing?"

The professor pointed out that any Arab peace talks with Israel are always based on the protection of its security and any Arab party refusing to accept that would not be allowed by Israel to take part in these talks.

Al-Jazeera channel on Sunday started to unveil 1, 600 documents about the PA-Israeli talks, the first part of them showed considerable generous concessions made by the PA negotiation team without getting anything in return, especially with regard to the issues of Jerusalem, refugees, borders and security.

The channel initially presented documents related to the concessions made by the PA regarding the issue of Jerusalem and will show gradually in the coming days other documents related to the security cooperation with Israel, Gaza war and Goldstone report.

Among the documents are maps for the proposed Palestinian state prepared by PA negotiators.

In a meeting on the fourth of May 2008, the PA delegation headed by chief negotiator Ahmed Qurei gave their Israeli counterparts these maps, together with Qurei's confirmation that there was a common interest in retaining some of the Israeli settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

According to figures mentioned in these maps, the rate of land swap between the two sides in south Jerusalem was one percent for the Palestinians and 50 percent for Israelis.

The maps also illustrates that the PA offered to concede all of east Jerusalem as a historic concession for Israel in return for getting lands in places other than the holy city.

According to the leaked documents, PA negotiators privately discussed with Americans and Israelis in different meetings in 2008 and 2009 the possibility of giving Israel what they called the biggest Yerushalayim in history and giving up part of the flashpoint Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Newly Leaked Documents Show a Weakened PA Willing to Give up East Jerusalem

Monday January 24, 2011 16:24 by Ramona M. - IMEMC and Agencies

Documents reveal PA made series of concessions to the Israeli occupation government negotiators; East Jerusalem was offered and rejected since it didn't include settlements in West Bank.

Palestinian negotiators secretly agreed to concede almost all Jewish areas of East Jerusalem to Israel, the Guardian newspaper and Al-Jazeera TV reported on Saturday. Some 1,600 Palestinian documents on peace talks with Israel, obtained by Al Jazeera TV and given to the Guardian, provide a glimpse into the breakdown of the peace process.

The biggest revelation from the documents is that Palestinian negotiators secretly agreed to accept Israel's annexation of all but one of the neighborhoods, Har Homa, built in East Jerusalem.

In an effort to move closer to independent statehood, this was one in a series of concessions made to Israel by Palestinian negotiators. The documents present the Palestinian Authority as weakened and desperate because of lack of progress in talks and the growing strength of Hamas.

Israeli negotiators come across in the minutes as confident while U.S. politicians seem dismissive toward Palestinian representatives, according to the Guardian.

The PA leadership may have difficulty justifying the revelations to a public not ready to offer the same concessions. The documents also mention other controversial issues such as the right of return of Palestinian refugees, the close cooperation between Israel and Palestinian Authority Security forces, land swaps in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and of Israeli warnings to the PA of the invasion of the Gaza Strip in 2008-09.

Al-Jazeera TV reported that the Palestinian Authority offered Israel all settlements in Jerusalem except Har Homa on June 15, 2008.

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, also proposed in an October 2009 meeting that Jerusalem's Old City be divided, ceding Israel control over the Jewish Quarter and part of the Armenian Quarter.

Other documents revealed a Palestinian agreement to the return of only 100,000 Palestinian refugees into Israel, and that Erekat agreed to the Israeli demand of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

The documents also reveal that the Palestinian negotiators, in an effort to move forward on the sensitive issue of the holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem, proposed a joint committee to administer the Temple Mount.

The offers were made in 2008, at the Annapolis conference, and were favored by chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. He mentioned it was giving Israel "the biggest Yerushalayim [the Hebrew name for Jerusalem] in history."

Israeli leaders, backed by the U.S. government, said the offers were inadequate. The offer was rejected Israel because it did not include Ma'aleh Adumim, as well as Har Homa and Ariel, which are settlements located in the West Bank.

The leaked documents include extensive verbatim transcripts of private meetings. Many were independently verified by the Guardian and corroborated by former participants in the talks and intelligence and diplomatic sources, the newspaper reported.

Abed Rabbo blasts Emir of Qatar

Published today (updated) 24/01/2011 14:33 RAMALLAH (Ma’an) --

PLO executive committee member Yasser Abed Rabbo on Monday blasted the Emir of Qatar over documents leaked by the Doha-based Al-Jazeera TV network covering a decade of Israel-Palestinian negotiations.

According to documents released Sunday, chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erakat offered Israel huge concessions, including "the biggest Yerushalayim [Jerusalem] in history" during 2008 negotiations.

The documents, dubbed the Palestine Papers, reveal details of the Palestinian Authority's security cooperation with Israel and PLO offers of compromises on refugees' right to return, according to Al-Jazeera's website.

In a press conference in Ramallah, Abed Rabbo said Al-Jazeera's release of the documents was a political campaign directed by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

"We thank the Emir of Qatar for giving Al-Jazeera the green light to start this campaign, because it can't be the responsibility of [Al-Jazeera director general] Wadah Khanfar alone."

Further, he suggested that the Qatari royal should extend the climate of transparency to his own state and reveal the role of the US military base in Qatar in spying on neighboring state and his true relations with Iran and Israel.

PLO official attacks Al-Jazeera

Abed Rabbo accused Al-Jazeera of falsifying the documents, changing the text and adding pictures of people who were not involved with talks.

Further, he complained that the channel worked on the Palestine Papers for two months without seeking the Palestinian point of view.

Continuing his attack on the network, he said Al-Jazeera was trying to imitate the whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks after a failed attempt to buy it.

The PLO official condemned the timing of the release, and said it coincided with a campaign by the Israeli government against President Mahmoud Abbas.

He accused the news network of carrying out a similar campaign against late President Yasser Arafat.

The documents were leaked by a junior member of the Palestinian negotiations department, Abed Rabbo said. He called for an independent committee to be formed to study the authenticity of the papers.

Responding to a journalist's question, he said the Palestinian Authority would not target Al-Jazeera's West Bank offices or pursue the network's correspondents.

Abed-Rabbo's reaction was echoed by PLO chief Saeb Erakat.

"We don't have anything to hide," Erakat told AFP by telephone from Cairo on Monday, insisting the revelations had been "taken out of context and contain lies."

"Al-Jazeera's information is full of distortions and fraud," he said.

Abbas: Arab leaders knew our position

Abbas, who is currently in the Egyptian capital for talks with senior officials, insisted that the PA had shared every development in the peace process with the Arab world's leadership.

"With everything we have done -- in terms of activities with the Israelis or the Americans -- we have given the Arabs details," the president said in remarks published by official PA news agency Wafa.

"I don't know where Al-Jazeera got these secret things from, and there is nothing hidden from the Arab brothers," he added, adding that Arab nations were kept up to date through the 22-member Arab League based in Cairo.

The leaks prompted a furious response from Gaza's Hamas government leaders, who have long decried peace talks with Israel. Its spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said they showed the PA's "ugly face" and "level of its cooperation with the occupation."

Washington said it was reviewing the documents, with State Department spokesman Philip Crowley saying: "We cannot vouch for their veracity" in a Twitter post.

The remaining papers are to be revealed by Al-Jazeera and the Guardian in daily stages. They reveal "the unyielding confidence of Israeli negotiators," according to the Guardian.

The leaked documents were "drawn up by PA officials and lawyers working for the British-funded PLO negotiations support unit and include extensive verbatim transcripts of private meetings," it said.

Many of them had been "independently authenticated by the Guardian and corroborated by former participants in the talks and intelligence and diplomatic sources."

AFP contributed to this report

`What more can I give?` Asks Erekat

Published yesterday (updated) 24/01/2011 14:21


Palestinian negotiators offered in 2008 to cede vast swathes of annexed East Jerusalem in peace talks with Israel, Al-Jazeera news channel reported, citing "secret documents."

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat, however, questioned on the Doha-based channel, said the Palestinian leadership had "nothing to hide" and dismissed most of the report as "a pack of lies."

Al-Jazeera said the Jerusalem areas offered were where Jewish settlements have been built, including French Hill, Ramat Alon and Gilo, as well as the Jewish Quarter and a part of the Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem's Old City.

Israel, the Arab satellite channel added, offered nothing in return for what it called the "historic concession" from the Palestinians, in the documents which Britain's The Guardian newspaper said it was also leaking.

Al-Jazeera said the concessions came at a June 2008 meeting in Jerusalem between Condoleezza Rice, then US secretary of state, then Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni and ex-Palestinian premier Ahmad Qrei'a, and Erakat.

"This last proposition could help in the swap process," Qorei is quoted as saying in the "Palestine Papers."

"We proposed that Israel annexes all settlements in Jerusalem except Jabal Abu Ghneim [Har Homa]," he said in the documents, as cited by the news channel.

"This is the first time in history that we make such a proposition; we refused to do so in Camp David," he added, referring to the US-hosted 2000 Camp David peace talks attended by late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

But "the Israeli side refused to even place Jerusalem on the agenda, let alone offer the PA concessions in return for its historic offer," the report said.

Qrei'a told Livni at the June 2008 meeting, however, there would be no concessions on Jewish settlements in the West Bank, according to the Palestine Papers.

The report comes as world powers seek ways to haul Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table after direct peace talks broke down last September in a dispute over Jewish settlements.

The United States on Sunday said it was reviewing the "alleged Palestinian documents."

"We cannot vouch for their veracity," said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley in a Twitter post.

The Palestinians refuse to resume negotiations while Israel builds on land they want for a future state of their own.

In what it termed "shocking revelations," Al-Jazeera said it had obtained more than 1,600 internal confidential documents from a decade of US-brokered peace negotiations.

They were to be disclosed in installments on the channel and its website.

"We are offering you the biggest Yerushalayim in Jewish history," chief negotiator Erakat is quoted as telling Livni, using the Jewish name for the Holy City.

Erakat also offered concessions on the status of Jerusalem's Temple Mount, which houses the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, according to the Palestine Papers.

On refugees, he is said to have offered to accept the return of only 100,000 out of the Palestinians who fled at the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and their descendants, now numbering almost five million.

But Erakat scoffed at the reports.

"We have not gone back on our position. If we had given ground on the refugees and made such concessions, why hasn't Israel agreed to sign a peace accord?" he asked.

Observers said the Al-Jazeera report revealed little new as details of the land swap proposals had long been an open secret.

In Britain, The Guardian said on its website that the cache of confidential Palestinian documents obtained by Al-Jazeera was to be "shared exclusively" with the daily.

The documents also show how PA leaders had been "privately tipped off" about Israel's 2008-2009 war against the Gaza Strip ruled by the Islamist movement Hamas, the paper said.

"The overall impression... is of the weakness and growing desperation of PA leaders as failure to reach agreement or even halt all settlement temporarily undermines their credibility in relation to their Hamas rivals."

The Guardian said "the papers also reveal the unyielding confidence of Israeli negotiators."

The leaked documents were "drawn up by PA officials and lawyers working for the British-funded PLO negotiations support unit and include extensive verbatim transcripts of private meetings," it said.

Many of them had been "independently authenticated by The Guardian and corroborated by former participants in the talks and intelligence and diplomatic sources."

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