Wikileaks Shows the Real Face of the PA

11:38 – Revelations damage credibility of US as honest broker and PA as representatives of Palestinian people

11:37 – Reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah were already very troubled, but “the impact of these revelations…will add fuel to the fire”

11:36 – Hamas – PA officials should be ashamed and hide themselves from public. PA is selling out the Palestinian cause. AJ – Hamas will try to use this to increase popularity.

11:32 – Haram al-Sharif has been off the negotiating table for years, last time was at Camp David in 2000. Arafat had said that no Palestinian leader would concede it. Erekat: can separate Haram al-Sharif from the issue of borders. By separating Haram al-Sharif “brings Palestinian ownership into question [AJ]”

11:20 – Khouri – there is doubt about when Israel will actually come out with actual policy. Doubt about whether Israel is serious in any negotiations.

11:18 – Khouri: it is surprising that the PA offered concessions – so out of touch with Palestinians

11:17 – Did these negotiations lead to more settlement construction by Israel. PA offers to concede settlements, then construction begins.

11:15 – Rami Khouri of Lebanon’s Daily Star says it is important that no deal was made. The amount of land conceded is not important. What is surprising is that Palestinians ‘desperately’ trying to make a breakthrough and Israel and US not responding.

11:14 – Abbas: “expressed shock of broadcasts… I don’t know where Al Jazeera got these documents…”

11:12 – AJ makes point that these releases demonstrate the position of weakness of the Palestinians. Palestinians keep talking and offering concessions, only to be rebuffed by more powerful Israel

11:10 – Palestinian offer would move border far off of Green line

11:10 – PA offered to give up settlements containing 310,000 settlers

11:06 – Erekat has denied offering Jerusalem, arguing that it is impossible because Israel would have accepted

11:04 – AJ is playing some absolutely absurd reenactments for the documents, some great impressions of Erekat, Rice, Livni…

*Perhaps not Wikileaks, but leaked documents*

Breaking news tonight from Al Jazeera. AJ has published a number of Wikileaks documents pertaining to the negotiations between Israel and Palestine. There is a lot to digest, but some important notes:

  1. The PA offered to concede nearly all of Jerusalem to the Israelis. Lead negotiator, Saed Erekat, reportedly told Israelis that the PA was offering the biggest Jerusalem possible, including parts of the old city and most of the surrounding Israeli settlements.
  2. Erekat also offered to cede control of Haram al-Sharif – Islam’s third holiest site – to an international community, a concession that was previously refused adamantly by Arafat.
  3. Mahmoud Abbas apparently drew a detailed map of the West Bank with proposed borders. The Palestinian President offered to concede nearly all of the settlements in the West Bank to Israel, including Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim and Kedumim. None of these were offered in previous negotiations.
  4. The PA apparently (I have yet to find this document) offered concessions on the Right of Return and the future of refugees.

There is plenty more that has been revealed and that will be revealed in the upcoming week, meaning, of course, a lot to digest. The release of these papers is completely damning to everyone involved. It shows a betrayal of the Palestinian people by the PA, a clear opposition to peace by Israel and a complete and definite bias by the Americans. Obviously, all sides are shouting about the irresponsibility of Wikileaks and AJ, only, though, to cover their own damaged hides. Some quick thoughts before reading more:

  • The PA is in trouble. The papers show a willingness to make major compromises on issues that regular Palestinians have never be ready to cave in on. The division of Jerusalem, the concession of major parts of the West Bank, anything concerning the Right to Return. These are issues that, for Palestinians, are deeply emotional and which cannot be negotiated (particularly Jerusalem and refugees). The PA is already shutting down protests and rallies. The success of the Tunisian revolt and the betrayal by the PA could be the ingredients for an interesting period for the PA.
  • Israel clearly does not want to negotiate. Abbas and Erekat have apparently offered the world to Israel, asking nothing in return. It is incredibly unlikely that Palestinians will offer anything better than the borders displayed on the maps presented by AJ. Palestine offered to allow Israel to keep most of their settlements and most of Jerusalem, for nothing. And it was turned down. What deal would Israel agree to?
  • The two state solution is dead. If Israel refused to accept the maps presented by the PA, it will not accept anything else. Moreover, this release is incredibly embarrassing for the PA and will lead the government to attempt to regain popularity with Palestinians by taking a harder line against Israel. Future proposals, if there are any, will not be as generous as the PA will now need to deal with what will likely be growing anger among Palestinians.

There is much much more of this to cover and I will up reading for a while now. With such concessions by the PA, one has to wonder how negotiations would be different now if Arafat was still leading the Palestinians. Arafat was adamant in his refusal to concede many of the important issues and holy territories that the Abbas and Erekat have offered up to Israel. Stay tuned.

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