Know More About Palestine

Thursday Jan. 27, 2011 10:19 AM (EST+7)

RAMALLAH, (JMCC) - Al-Jazeera satellite channel and the Guardian begin a staggered release of papers they obtained detailing secret Israeli-Palestinian negotiations over the last ten years. Here we track the leak's impact and Palestinian reactions.

10:16 am - Palestinian government spokesperson Ghassan Khatib has questioned al-Jazeera's motives in publishing the Palestine papers. In whose interest al-Jazeera is doing this? Khatib told the JMCC. Why does it aim at distorting and raise doubts, and why does it deign to publish statements that show that the Palestinian side demands the opening of the crossings and an end to the siege on Gaza Strip?

9:58 am - Repeatedly in the Palestine papers, one is struck by the fact that the Palestinians can get neither the Israeli or American officials to agree to the 1967 borders as a baseline for talks. In September 17, 2009 meeting between David Hale and Saeb Erekat, it is clear that the US and Israel are now negotiating this issue, which should be a baseline for negotiations.

DH: Regarding the statement, if it includes a reference to Jerusalem ? if we can achieve that ? that would be a substantial concession from the Israelis. Regarding reference to 67, we?ve had a long discussion with Israelis yesterday. We are working on language to state in some fashion regarding territory a reference to 67. If we achieve these along with elements of the package, will that enable you to overlook the imperfections ? with an end to new settlement activity ? and start a political process?

SE: I need to see a text ? I would need to work with you on it. Anything short of 2 states on the 1967 border is meaningless. We'?ve had language formulas in the past, in Oslo, in the Road Map. Now after the last negotiations with Olmert, the US needs to state this position regarding the borders. So we can work on the statement …

January 27, 2011

10:10 pm - Al-Jazeera and the Guardian present documents alleging that Palestinian Authority officials stalled a United Nations vote on the Goldstone report that alleged Israeli war crimes in the 2008-09 war on Gaza. A new release of papers also indicate President Abbas knew of the Gaza war but refused an Israeli offer to take control were it to win the war.

9:46 pm - PLO`s Saeb Erekat tells al-Jazeera that former CIA employee Clyton Swisher and former UK intelligence employee leaked Palestine papers to al-Jazeera.

12:42 pm - I believe the Palestinian people will not trust anymore the Palestinian leadership, says Hamas political leader Osama Hamdan speaking to al-Jazeera International. He says that his movement has started contacts with other Palestinian factions, not over reconciliation, but the reconstruction of the Palestinian leadership.

He also claims Hamas has evidence that at least one British officer from MI-6 and one CIA officer were present when a Hamas activist was killed through torture in a West Bank prison.

10:57 pm - Former interior minister Nasser Yusuf rebuts the Palestine papers in al-Quds newspaper. Al-Jazeera should have consulted the Palestinian factions and the public in Gaza to know who is Nasr Yousef and his history and ethics before they dare to attack me, he told the newspaper. Everyone knows that I paid a high price for my positions and how I stood strong against corruption and chaos in the security institutions then and I reorganized the institution on national basis. He threatens to sue al-Jazeera for slandering his name.

10:29 pm - In a 2005 meeting between then-Palestinian interior minister Nasser Yusuf and Israeli general Shaul Mofaz, it becomes clear just how much Israel was threatening Palestinians to get them to cooperate with its security goals. Here Mofaz tells Yusuf that if he doesn't crack down on armed men, Israel's military would do it for them.

Mofaz: Every fugitive whose weapons you’ve not seized (?) will not enter the Palestinian services. Would you agree that we should seize the weapons instead?

Yusuf: Give me the information and I will get them

Major-General: I will give you the information

Mofaz: If you do nothing within a week, I will come in and seize them myself. Agreed

Yusuf: I will tell you whether or not I am capable. And if I was to say I’m not able

Mofaz: How long?

Yusuf: Enough to contact people and Jihad elements in a district under your control. We need time to contact them.

Mofaz: Let’s see how you get on. I will give you names, and if you don’t deal with them, we will.

January 26, 2011

10:32 pm - Security spokesperson Adnan Dameeri responds to the charges on al-Jazeera, saying that this is a people under occupation. He also categorically denies that the Palestinian Authority has killed other Palestinians as part of its security cooperation with Israel.

10:25 pm - Third Palestine papers release includes documents that appear to implicate the Palestinian Authority in Israel's assassination of armed Fateh leader Hassan Madhoun.

7:37 pm - Hamas political leader Khalil Hayya tells Gaza crowds that Hamas has withdrawn its trust in the negotiating leadership of Mahmoud Abbas. The phrase refers to a dormant Hamas-Fateh agreement to form a unity government, in which Hamas agreed to accept Abbas' position as head of negotiations with Israel and abide by agreements reached by the PLO leader.

6:29 pm - Thousands of protesters in Gaza City gather to demonstrate against the PLO positions reported in the Palestine papers.

4:57 pm - The PLO's Negotiations Affairs Department issues a statement refuting that the Palestine papers are known to have been leaked by someone in its offices:

We deny unsubstantiated reports in Israeli and other media outlets attributing the source of the alleged leak of classified documents to Negotiations Affairs Department advisors. The PLO is currently investigating the issues surrounding the alleged leaking.  

Contrary to what these irresponsible and unsubstantiated media reports have alleged, no NAD advisor has been arrested or left the country and all continue to carry out their responsibilities. Accordingly, we demand for all media allegations attributing responsibility to any Negotiations Affairs Department advisor, wherever published or broadcast, to be retracted and redacted immediately. Naming such personnel is irresponsible, constitutes willful slander and very seriously puts at risk the safety of innocent individuals. Accordingly, and pending the results of the PLO investigation currently underway, we additionally demand for corrections to be printed and broadcast conspicuously by all responsible media outlets.

The statement seems to directly contradict Yasser Abed Rabbo's assertion yesterday in his press conference that the leak had originated with the office, which conducts research and prepares for negotiations with Israel.

3:35 pm - President Mahmoud Abbas speaking to hundreds of supporters outside the presidential headquarters, says that no one can make us give up on one bit of the land, the return of the refugees or Jerusalem. Crowd responds, With soul and blood, we would die for you, Abbas. The only television outlet covering the event live is Palestine television.

3:10 pm - Hundreds of demonstrators gather at the Palestinian presidential headquarters in Ramallah in support of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Sources say that Fateh has decided to try to turn the tables on al-Jazeera, and use resentment against the satellite channel's leaks of secret papers as a recruiting tool for the organization.

2:57 pm - Palestinian protesters try to break into the al-Jazeera offices in Ramallah for the second day in a row, as police prevent them from entering.

2:30 pm - People are gathering in the center of Ramallah for another demonstration against al-Jazeera. Observers believe that most of the plain-clothed protesters are Palestinian security men. An additional demonstration at the Ramallah presidential headquarters is being called at 3 pm in support of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

10:57 am - Former US consul Edward Abington is quoted  in the Washington Post, summing up the impact of the Palestine papers:

But what's most damaging in the newly released documents is the way Palestinian negotiators are seen as conceding more and more while getting absolutely nothing from Israeli negotiators, Abington said.

The United States will suffer a credibility blow as well, he predicted. The impression one gets from reading these documents is the United States is, by default, on the side of Israel in the negotiations, he said.

8:51 am - A conversation from the papers between PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat and Belgian foreign minister Karel de Gucht shows how the PLO sought to use a referendum as a replacement for its own declining legitimacy.

KDG:  For PSN, you need a strong Israeli government, need Fatah reform.  You need to be more than just president in title.

SE:  We?ll take the agreement to referendum.  We?re experimenting with the third party role now:  EU BAM, Japanese, TIPH.

KDG:  What about the diaspora?

SE:  I never said the diaspora will vote.  It?s not going to happen.  The referendum will be for Pals in Gaza, the WB and EJ.  Can?t do it in Lebanon.  Can?t do it in Jordan.

KDG:  I don?t think it will go to referendum.  I think the only way you can do it is to pass it through Parliament.

8: 33 am - Palestinian newspapers and radio appear to have posed a near-blanket ban on reporting the content of the Palestine Papers. The major (albeit government-affiliated) newspapers al-Quds and Hayat al-Jadida are reporting solely on the Palestinian official response to the leaked documents. Radio stations, which largely take their news from the newspapers, are following their lead.

January 25, 2011

10:01 pm - Al-Jazeera and the Guardian release new documents that reportedly show Palestinian negotiators agreed to a 10,000 person limit on the number of Palestinian refugees that would be allowed to return to Israel.

8:41 pm -'s reporter was forced to delete a photograph of demonstrators breaking into the al-Jazeera offices on Monday afternoon (see below). A protester pointed her out to a policeman, who then insisted that she delete the image from her camera.

8:14 pm - Haaretz's Akiva Eldar writes that al-Jazeera has done the Palestinians a favor in illustrating just how far they are willing to go for peace:

The leaked documents completely discredit the claim that there is no peace partner made by the leader of the newly formed Atzmaut faction, Ehud Barak, and his boss, Benjamin Netanyahu.

The documents are testimony that the Palestinians are willing to go the distance for peace: They will relinquish their claims on the Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas, the Etzion settlement bloc and the settlements along the Green Line. This would all be in return for territories on the western side of this line, including the region of Gilboa and Mount Hebron.

According to a map that was shown to me two weeks ago, the major territorial disputes remain over Ariel, Elkana, Ma’aleh Adumim and the Har Homa suburb of East Jerusalem (which was built after the 1993 Oslo Accords).

7:09 pm - PLO lead negotiator Saeb Erekat issues a statement, making the surprising assertion that any deal signed with Israel would be subject to a referendum. Even though many ideas have been discussed by the two sides as part of the normal negotiations process, including some we could never agree to, said Erekat, we have consistently said any proposed agreement would have to gain popular support through a national referendum. No agreement will be signed without the approval of the Palestinian people.

6:58 pm - Fateh official Jamal Muheisan was heard on Sowt il-Sharq radio demanding all Fateh members to boycott al-Jazeera in protest of its reporting.

2:47 pm - Sixty some demonstrators break into al-Jazeera's office in the center of Ramallah before police intervene.'s reporter says that many of the protesters appear to be members of Palestinian security forces.

2:36 pm - Graffiti scrawled on  the street near Ramallah's center reads al-Jazeera = Jewish. People are slowly gathering in a demonstration against the Qatar-based satellite channel.

2:04 pm - Analysts, while agreeing that the leaked documents pose a challenge to the Palestinian leadership, think the Palestinian street is not ripe for a revolt, reports the JMCC.

I don't see any indication of a revolt against the Palestinian Authority, says analyst George Giacaman. He cited the Palestinian Authority's increasing of social welfare as a stop-gap against a Tunisia-style revolution against the Palestinian leadership.

1:47 pm - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has questioned the veracity of al-Jazeera reporting of leaked Palestinian-Israeli documents. I have seen them yesterday present things as Palestinian, but they were Israeli ... This is therefore intentional, Abbas told reporters in Cairo after a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

1:34 pm - PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo denies reports that the source for leaked documents reported on by al-Jazeera was estranged Fateh official Muhammed Dahlan. A Palestinian website had reported that Dahlan released the documents in order to push back against an investigation of his financial and political dealings.

12:16 pm - PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo says in a press conference in Ramallah that al-Jazeera has done to Abu Mazen what Israel did to Yasser Arafat, alluding to what most Palestinians believe was Israel's assassination of the PLO leader.

He went on to defend the bilateral talks. Palestinian-Israeli negotiations were perhaps among the most transparent negotiations among contemporary works in history... Give me any issue or cause that has been as opened or revealed as much as Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.

Were we right always? No. We used to make mistakes, he says.

Abed Rabbo asks that Palestinian research institutions study the documents to verify their authenticity and al-Jazeera's reporting of positions. He also calls for an independent committee to be formed, deigning to form an official committee.

He also charged Qatar officials with being personally responsible for al-Jazeera's coverage.

11:47 am - A spokesperson for former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has confirmed to Army Radio that he had reached verbal agreements with Palestinians on the issues of Jerusalem and settlements. Not missing a chance to turn the tables, Jacob Galanti said that it was Palestinian intransigence that prevented the completion of a deal. I still do not understand why Palestinians did not sign at the end of the day, he told the radio.

11: 36 am - Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni is refusing to comment on the content of the Palestine papers, reports Ynet. We do no intend to respond to internal Palestinian reports – whether they are true or not. her office said in a statement.

11:23 am - Striking among the Palestine papers, which can be viewed here, is the extent to which American officials take the position of the Israeli government. In one trilateral meeting, former foreign minister Condoleezza Rice emphasizes to Palestinian negotiators the difficulty of their request for a third-party defense to be stationed in the future Palestinian state in lieu of a Palestinian army:

Saeb: - I respect your ideas and analysis, and I do not ask to be like Jordan or Egypt or Israel armed with thousands of warplanes and tanks. But do you agree that my air space be denied to all planes and my land is void of tanks? Do you want me to inform the Arab League, in which I am member, that the agreement forbids me to use my air space.


Rice: - We have to work to improve the performance of the intelligence. Even America cannot protect its borders without cooperation with Canada. What is the way then?

Israel defeated some armies and we defeated others. Then armies do no pose a threat but terrorism does.

Livni: - Those who oppose an agreement in Israel want us to stay there and not to depend on Palestinians in our intelligence.

The Palestinians have a choice either to remain under occupation or get enough independence and dignity? not through slogans. I think the latter is the better choice.

I do not accept Palestinians who do not support Israel in what she is doing to confront our and their own common enemy, i.e. Hamas.

When matters have to do with principles, I know how sensitive you are about the land and Jerusalem. Why then do you feel surprised at our security needs?

Rice: Technology has changed the situation. I already mentioned that sovereignty means the same for all countries, and I gave the examples of Mexico and Germany.

Abu Ala?: The problem is that Israel wants to do the whole thing by herself. Since 2000 and during the Intifada, Israeli demolished all security quarters and equipment thinking that this would provide her with security; but it did not.

Livni: I remember the joint patrol in the Gaza Strip in which an Israeli soldier of Ethiopian origin was killed.

Abu Ala?: I am talking about security.

Livni: There will be an interim period.

Rice: - The issue is that even if Israel has full trust in you, you are still incapable.

I have full trust in Nouri Malki, Iraq?s Prime Minister, but he is incapable. Canada has sincere desire but there came a time when Canada was incapable of controlling the borders.

I have not heard from both sides about a defense force, but the Israelis have to be convinced that there will be no deterioration in the security situation, and you have to convince me that you will have a real state.

January 24, 2011, 11:08 am - Hamas' Osama Hamdan calls the Palestinian leadership not honest. Speaking to al-Jazeera International from Beirut, he laid out Hamas' position: They have no credibility to negotiate. It's clear from these documents that they have no authorisation from their own people to negotiate on their behalf.







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