To all the leftists who think that these papers indicate something positive about either the Palestinian position vis a vis Israel or settling the conflict, they don’t. So far, the only real “new” information that we’ve received is that at one point Abbas explicitly rejected that “5 million” Palestinians can’t return to Israel because Israel would be destroyed.

To all the rightists who think that these papers indicate nothing, they don’t. They indicate what we’ve known for years. That the parameters for a deal have been on the table for a decade and both sides know pretty well what they are, AND that talks have been ongoing.

To the Guardian editors: you partisan dweebs should be in the Palestinian propaganda business, not the news business.

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  • Here is a typical Al Jazeera story just in:

    According to sources in the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel is making preparations to welcome Hosni Mubarak into exile after Saudi Arabia rejected overtures.

    That’s right Al Jazeera is reporting that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is planning on making aliyah. This is the same Al Jazeera that ‘revealed’ the ‘Palestine Papers’ that leftists are so quick to believe because it confirms their worst prejudices about Israel.

    I think it reveals more truth about the Leftists with their gleeful preening self righteous ‘I told you so’ that they would so quickly believe a report from Al Jazeera, the Fox News of the Middle East, than any of the alleged truths of the ‘Palestine Papers’.

  • ps I find it very hard to believe Abbas ever said something like refugees (number doesn’t matter) shouldn’t be settled in Israel. Abbas was in the hardliner camp of the PLO at Taba that was refusing any compromise on this issue that ran the clock out.

    Again this was an Al Jazeera report where they play very fast and loose with the facts. Abbas may have just been quoting an Israeli negotiator and Al Jazeera edited it to be his quote… I have no idea but I am highly skeptical of this.

    This concession by the PLO will be explosive if just announced. It stands to reason that this is an idea that would have to surreptitiously be floated in the Arab media in such a way as to prepare the Arab public while allowing the PLO some initial plausible deniable.

    I also wonder if Hamas heard rumours of this concession(s) which is what really sparked the escalation in rocket fire leading up to Cast Lead in order to sabotage the negotiations. Just because Hamas refused to renew the cease fire doesn’t really account for the sudden escalation in rocket fire… so it is something to consider also that the left is so keen on bringing Hamas into the negotiations…

    • It may well be that some of these documents are fabrications. If so, which ones and in what way? It does not bode well for anybody that the PA leadership is denying and attacking some of these “revelations” because they are repudiating many of the fundamental concepts necessary for a compromise.

      From Israel’s point of view, however, there is little here that is new.

      • I have no idea what might be fabricated or selectively exposed and imho none of the parties are very credible but the damage has been done.

        I think what will be interesting to watch in the near future is how Egypt, the PA (should the regimes survive) Saudi Arabia are going to deal with Qatar.

        Qatar hosts and funds Al Jazeera and they have really broken the Arab golden rule of not interfering in the internal affairs of each other. Obviously we know they do Syria in Lebanon etc, but what is happening now is unprecedented. I don’t see Mubarak or the military surviving current and letting this pass… Thoughts?

        • The first question is whether Mubarak survives. If he does, the US will be pushing him for “reforms” which means he can’t come down hard on foreign media. I don’t think Saudi cares right now and the PA is essentially toothless. I think Al Jazeera gets away with this…unless…the Americans are angry enough to have others do something about it.

          As for who released these papers and why, I believe the first suspect should be Dahlan. The PA was accusing him of a coup just a couple of weeks ago.

          • The US influence on Egypt has always been greatly exaggerated.

            If Mubarak survives or maybe even if he doesn’t as long as the anti Brotherhood faction of the Military stays in power they are not going to forgive Qatar/Al Jazeera easily for what is basically an basically assault on Egypt. The regime survives this round (in 40 days we see round 2?) America cannot restrain them over an existential issue.

            Qatar as I’m sure you know gave refuge to the Brotherhood following many Egyptian crackdowns and they are quite well entrenched in Qatar and of course Al Jazeera management and production as well.

            Saudi Arabia has increasingly become just as much a target as Egypt for the Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia further relies on Egypt not least of all because of Iran. A Brotherhood led Egypt to the West, Iran to the East, destabilised Yemen to the south and you don’t think the Saudis care?

            Dahlan leaked the papers? maybe but seems he is just doing a lot of damage to himself. If he kept them he could have used them as leverage, now? All he will have done is piss everyone off even more than he already has.

            Erekat has been suggesting it was possibly an American working in his office who now works at Al Jazeera… Could also be the PA version of the Anat Kam or Bradley Manning affair, just some low ranking clerk who had access and walked it out… but I really have no idea or opinion…

  • I think the Palestine Papers prove that if Kadima would have been more honest about the negotiations during the election period they would have won more seats away from Labor.

    • Again it is not at all clear that ‘Palestinian Papers’ are true and accurate. There has been no independent verification nor has there been any context provided.

      Kadima could not have said anything and to do so would have EXTREMELY IRRESPONSIBLE.

      First, they would have betrayed the PA negotiating team’s confidence.

      Second Had Kadima done so they have prematurely and exposed the PA negotiators to mortal harm making them a target of retaliation before the PA had even signed an agreement.

      Third it would have provoked violence from Hamas and other irredentist elements. This has always been the pattern when there appears to be progress Hamas escalates the violence creating an acrimonious atmosphere that makes it impossible for the PA to continue negotiating with Israel. And that is why I have started to wonder if in fact Hamas did have some awareness of rumours of concessions? Was the real reason for the sudden escalation of rocket fire leading to cast lead?

      The Hamas reasons, the expiration of the cease fire or the Hamas demand for reopening Gaza crossings even then didn’t make seem to really ring true.

      A cease fire expires doesn’t require the party to necessarily start large scale rocket firings or forcing Israel to open the crossings was aways fairly unrealistic…

  • I have not heard anyone on the Israeli side deny the Palestinian Papers. Which means that we can all agree that at least the papers that came from Israel is true.

    I stand by previous remarks.

  • Jeremy, I think both Olmert and Livni contended that not everything that had been published was right. More important, in my mind, is the question of what Al Jazeera edited out. What aren’t we seeing?

  • Jeremy, to what are you referring? The fact that Al Jazeera edited the Papers is obvious from reading them. They don’t only post only the documents they want to post but they also edit within documents.

    If you mean sources regarding inaccuracies, here is Olmert’s office and other negotiators:

    “Olmert’s office responded to the publications by saying that there were “many inaccuracies” in them. Other Israeli officials who were involved in the negotiations also rejected much of Al-Jazeera’s report.”

    As for Livni, she hasn’t been clear, but her office released a very telling statement:

    Addressing the numerous Palestinian documents dealing with the peace process published by Al Jazeera, representatives from Opposition leader Tzipi Livni’s office said that she “will continue to maintain the discreteness of the talks, in order to protect Israeli interests.”

    Her office refused to respond to the quotes that she reportedly gave as the leader of the Israeli negotiations team. “We do no intend to respond to internal Palestinian reports – whether they are true or not.”

    Okay, so we don’t know whether it was her office that didn’t know how to spell discreet or whether it was the Ynet reporter, but the point is that they would not mention the possibility the papers are not true at all if everything that had been released was accurate.

    My point is that while the Papers appear to have a lot of authentic material in them, the editing by Al Jazeera and the absence of access to the actual source material does raise questions as to what we can trust here.