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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid