News / Middle East

Analysts Say Leaked 'Palestine Papers' Will Impact Prospects for Peace

Palestinian chief peace negotiator Saeb Erakat takes part in a demonstration against the Al-Jazeera satellite channel in the West Bank city of Jericho, January 25, 2011
Palestinian chief peace negotiator Saeb Erakat takes part in a demonstration against the Al-Jazeera satellite channel in the West Bank city of Jericho, January 25, 2011

Multimedia

Robert Raffaele

The release this week by Qatar-based Al-Jazeera of what it calls "The Palestine Papers" has raised more questions about the stalled Mideast peace process, and the possibility of future talks. Palestinian officials are attacking al-Jazeera, accusing the network of a smear campaign although many analysts say the documents seem authentic.  Some experts say blame for the stalled peace process should be shared by all the parties.

Across the Gaza Strip and the Israeli occupied West Bank, anger over documents that allegedly show Palestinian negotiators willing to grant major concessions to Israel during negotiations in 2008 and 2009.  The documents were released by the Qatar based al-Jazeera television network.

The documents indicate that the Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, was willing to cede almost all of Arab East Jerusalem and mostly give up on the right of millions of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel.

Publically, the Palestinian Authority was saying that Palestinian refugees have that right.

Israel, mostly absent from the documents, is quoted as proposing that areas of the Jewish state with dense populations of Arab citizens should be transferred to the new Palestinian state, a controversial idea.  The lead Palestinian negotiator at the time, Saeb Erekat, claims that some of the documents were made up.

"I think we are facing the most severe smear campaign in the history of journalism," said Erekat.

Geoffrey Aronson is with the Foundation for Middle East Peace.  He says the Palestinian Authority, which administers the occupied West Bank, comes off as weak.

"I think it's readily apparent that the leadership itself isn't terribly confident of its own place," noted Aronson.

Robert Danin of the Council on Foreign Relations says Palestinian leaders did not honestly inform Palestinians about the negotiations.  

"One of the unfortunate realities is that the Palestinian leadership was not preparing the people for the concessions that they were willing to make and so those concessions now are appearing as a surprise to the people," said Danin.

The leaked papers focus on the period of then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when negotiations were making progress.

But when Benjamin Netanyahu became Israel's prime minister in 2009, analysts say, he insisted on starting over.     

"As I understand it, the Netanyahu government has yet to respond to repeated U.S. requests for specific policy positions on basic issues. So we're at Square One in that process," added Aronson.

Last September, the Obama administration hosted direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, aiming for a peace deal within a year.

Analysts say the U.S. is partly to blame for the failure of those talks because it didn't push hard enough for its own proposals, like an Israeli settlement freeze in the occupied territories.

"We've suggested ideas that in the end we've proven not to be committed to, i.e. a settlement freeze, which have undermined credibility of our own role, the credibility of the process," explained Aronson.

In Washington, during an appearance with the Jordanian foreign minister,  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington remains committed to peace and "a two-state solution that will assure security for Israel and realize the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own."

But analysts say reviving peace talks will be difficult now.

"It's going to be more difficult for President Abbas to return to the negotiating table without very firm conditions being met," noted Danin.

Aronson says Hamas, the rival group that rules the Gaza Strip, is likely to come out stronger among Palestinians, partly because of the documents.

Al Jazeera says the files, covering an 11-year period from 1999 to 2010, are the largest leak of confidential documents on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Middle East Peace Timeline

 

 

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs