RAMALLAH, November 29 (JMCC) - The documents revealed by whistle-blower website Wikileaks late on Sunday expose sensitive political remarks on everything from nuclear Iran, to the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
The 250,000 diplomatic cables between the US and its allies, which Washington had urged the site not to publish, build a picture of ‘off the record’ policy discussions and attitudes present in some of these power-houses.
One cable from May 2009 quoted Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak as saying Israel had discussed its planned war on Gaza with Abbas's Fatah party and Egypt ahead of time, offering to hand them control there if Hamas was overthrown.
He explained that the GOI (government of Israel) had consulted with Egypt and Fatah prior to Operation Cast Lead, asking if they were willing to assume control of Gaza once Israel defeated Hamas, it said. Not surprisingly, Barak said, the GOI received negative answers from both.
Israel launched Operation Cast Lead on December 27, 2008 with the stated aim of halting rocket attacks from Gaza. During the 22-day war, some 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed as well as 13 Israelis, 10 of them soldiers.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat Monday denied the claim that Israel had notified the Palestinian Authority before the war. Several months before the fighting broke out, Abbas asked Israel's then-prime minister, Ehud Olmert, not to go to war, Erekat said. Abbas told him he would not go to Gaza on an Israeli tank, Erekat added
Several of the leaked documents quote conversations with Netanyahu when he was leader of the opposition. In one, dated April 2007, he says there would be no peace with the Palestinians until they drop demands for the right of return for refugees.
Netanyahu noted that he thought dropping the 'right of return' was the acid test of Arab intentions and insisted that he would never allow a single Palestinian refugee to return to Israel, it said.
The issue of refugees is one of the thorniest elements of the conflict, with the Palestinians demanding Israel recognise the right of return of refugees who, with their descendants, now number 4.7 million people.
The documents also reveal comments made by Netanyahu that, say his critics, were designed to belittle Abbas.
In the same meeting, Netanyahu described Abbas as a nice man who means well whom he would have no problem supporting, but he said Israel and the US should first focus more on 'strangling' Hamas.Read
It would be easier, he said, to weaken Hamas than to strengthen Abbas.
more at AFP…