A new release of leaked documents is spurring a global debate about the
role of the U.S., Israel and Palestine in the Middle East peace talks.
According to confidential documents obtained by the Al Jazeera news
network, Palestinian negotiators "secretly agreed to cede"
all but one neighborhood of East Jerusalem to Israel in exchange for
statehood. Al Jazeera claims to have 1,600 Palestinian documents slated
for release in what the Haaretz newspaper calls "the biggest leak of
confidential documents in the history of the conflict."
Some Major Concessions, notes Barak Ravid at Haaretz: "Al-Jazeera
TV reported that the Palestinian Authority offered Israel all
settlements in Jerusalem except Har Homa on June 15, 2008... Further
details reveal a Palestinian agreement to the return of only 100,000
Palestinian refugees into Israel, and that [Chief Palestinian Negotiator
Saeb] Erekat agreed to the Israeli demand of recognizing Israel as a
No One Looks Good Here, writes The Guardian's editorial board:
"It is hard to tell who appears worst: the Palestinian leaders, who are
weak, craven and eager to shower their counterparts with compliments;
the Israelis, who are polite in word but contemptuous in deed; or the
Americans, whose neutrality consists of bullying the weak and holding
the hand of the strong. Together they conspire to build a puppet state
in Palestine, at best authoritarian, at worst a surrogate for an
Now We Know: Only the Palestinians Were Striving for Peace "Surely international opinion will see concrete proof
of how far the Palestinians have been willing to go, ready to move up to
and beyond their 'red lines', conceding ground that would once have
been unthinkable – none more so than on Jerusalem," writes Jonathan Freedland
at The Guardian. "In the blame game
that has long attended Middle East diplomacy, this could see a shift in the Palestinians' favour."
Undermines the Credibility of Abbas, writes Tony Karon at Time:
furor over the documents will, of course, reinforce the claim by more
hawkish Israelis that no matter how accommodating Abbas is willing to
be, he lacks the political authority to sell his own people the deal
he's offering Israel. Some may also argue that the disclosures show that
Abbas' insistence on a settlement freeze as a precondition to resuming
talks was a red herring, tossed out by a leadership willing to concede
Israel's rights to those settlements but not to face the moment of truth
with their own people on the terms of a peace agreement.
It's Official: the Netanyahu-Obama Rift Is Complete, announces Ben Smith at Politico: "The notion that the two men could prove a productive diplomatic odd
couple has been tossed aside because, in the American view, the worst
expectations about Netanyahu’s intransigence have been confirmed. The
new view: Netanyahu
chose the constraints of a coalition that he steered further right this
month, and the U.S. won’t be offering him help, or sympathy, with his
domestic politics going forward."
Al Jazeera Hosts an Opinion Panel
Between former Israeli Foreign Minister Schlomo Ben Ami, the co-founder
of Electronic Intifada Ali Abunimah and the Middle East Monitor
Director Daud Abdullah:
This Just Made a Peace Deal Even More Unlikely, adds Karon:
Palestine Papers may well have made the position of Abbas politically
untenable. Not only do they militate against him seeking a democratic
mandate for another term of office; the fallout they may generate could
underscore the unlikelihood of any Palestinian leader being able to
accept the terms Israel is currently willing to offer for a two-state
deal. The possibility that a two-state solution can be agreed to by the
parties themselves has just become a little more remote. And that leaves
the matter of ending the occupation and realizing Palestinian rights
back in the lap of the international community.
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